Winning new customers is essential for anyone looking to grow a business. Even the most loyal customers won’t be around forever.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for customer acquisition. Every business is different, every industry is different, and you’ll have your own ideas about what your ideal customer looks like.
There are also hundreds of channels available to market your business – from Google to Instagram to online aggregator websites to shop windows and out-of-home advertising.
So rather than getting bogged down in tactics that may be irrelevant to you and your business, here are a few core principles might want to consider as you start trying to grow your customer database.
Understand who your customer is (and isn’t)
The first question to ask yourself is: who is your target customer? Once you know this, you can work out where you’re most likely to find them.
Picturing your customers makes it easier to create marketing messages and content that they will find appealing. In contrast, if you try to appeal to absolutely everyone, your ideal customers might not realise that you’re speaking to them.
Similarly, if you can picture your customers, you’ll get a clearer sense of where to market to them (e.g. Snapchat or Facebook, Google Ads or Yellow Pages), avoiding a lot of wasted time and effort.
Work out what value you’re bringing
What customers care most about is the value you’re bringing to their lives. What problem are you solving? What task are you making easier?
Every business needs to be offering something that customers want, and most businesses compete in crowded marketplaces.
As a self-employed person, you need to determine why what you’re offering is better than your nearest competitors. It could be price, customer service, speed of response, quality of products, or something else. Winning new customers is all about showing the value that you bring to the table.
Pay attention to what people say about you
If your self-employed business has an online presence (and most businesses do these days), then you need to be prepared to receive feedback whether you like it or not.
Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yelp, Nextdoor, Trustpilot and the like, have made critics of us all. Customers regularly post ratings and reviews after they’ve used a supplier. That’s in addition to doing what they’ve always done – telling families, friends, and colleagues about their experiences and making recommendations.
It’s important to listen to what the market is telling you. If you’re getting the same negative/constructive comments all the time, then making a change to how you operate could be helpful to winning new customers in the future.
The best way to win new customers is to do great work and meet the promises you make to them.
And you’re more likely to succeed if you’re not drowning in day-to-day admin tasks and management headaches. It’s the reason why we’ve built our business management app.
But remember – even when you’re winning plenty of new business, don’t try and grow too fast. Growing your business takes time and energy. You’ll end up disappointing customers if you take on more work than you’re able to complete.