One of the main concerns for small business owners is how to get those first few customers engaged in supporting your small business. Or simply how to get more customers. A lot of the time small business owners will overlook what they already have. This article will explore six different ways of how to get those first few customers and build your clientele.
1. You’re a small business with a small network, so work it
Start with those around you. Your friends and family. Even if your business isn’t of their interest they may know someone who is your perfect customer.
If your network is a little wider than your friends and family, embed yourself in it. Your wider network may be your local community, co-workers, previous co-workers, or the only other 1 person you know that owns a small business. Build a genuine and strong alliance with the people in your network. If your network is smaller this may work in your favour. As the connection and relationship will likely be more exclusive and personal. There is no better advertising than a recommendation through word of mouth.
2. Find your niche
A niche in commerce is defined as. An offering of products, services, or serving interests that appeal to a specific or small section of the population.
Is your business specialist or generalist?
Does your business providive something specific to a particular audience, or is there something for everyone? Establishing if your business is specialist or generalist could be the starting point for finding your niche. Once you have found your niche, find where your audience gathers and join the conversation. The quickest way to reach an audience is online so find your online community, blend in and make links to your business available.
3. Give things for free, strategically
It may sound counter-productive but many small businesses take this route at the beginning of their journey. Offering your product/service for free at the start is a great way to get unbiased feedback on your business and create demand. By doing this you will have introduced your business to your customer at no cost or a lesser cost to them. When they come back to make another purchase they are already familiar with your business and will have remembered your previous generosity.
Eventually, you will need to move away from this model. Discounts and promotions are the perfect middle ground. Customers are always looking for the best deals. But the effects of the pandemic have left more customers looking for ways to save when they spend. Offering discounts/promotions are a great way to meet this demand, generate revenue, and keep customers incentified to stay up to date with your business.
4. Treat your customers like royalty
From the 1st 10 to 1st 100 and so on, treat customers like royalty.
Those first few customers, especially. Should feel and know that they are really a part of supporting your small business journey. Customers have so many big businesses to choose from to make a purchase. Let your customer know that their purchase into your small business means a lot to you with a personal note from the business owner, a freebie attached to the purchase, or a future discount code, etc. You can also create scheduled email communication with software such as MailChip and HubSpot to follow up with your customers, ask how they are feeling about their purchase, and to leave a review. These actions will build a relationship with your customers, keep them engaged with your business and make them want to tell others about your business.
5. Share your story
Sharing your story is a way to help create a connection with your customers but also future investors. Talk about how your business got started, your niche and, how your business is filling a gap in the market. Aside from a great business, a great story works hand in hand with making people feel connected to you and willing to purchase.
You can share your story by connecting with columnists or reaching out to online platforms so they can introduce your business to their audience, where your new customer could be waiting. When sharing your story and information about your business, be sure to supply links to your business to your chosen platform. This is called a backlink, a link from one website to another. Backlinks increase your SEO which is explained further in the final tip.
This may not apply to all businesses but, when used blog posts to websites increase traffic. Writing about topics that are relevant to your small business or industry, boosts your website’s SEO (search engine optimisation). Meaning the blog post on your website will rank higher when people are looking for similar content if your blog has distinct keywords. Blogs with a high SEO are a more effective type of advertising than your usual advert.
Adverts can be annoying and aren’t always relevant to the customer. When they are it can spook the customer somewhat. A survey conducted by databox.com has shown that marketing industry insiders say that SEO is 70% more effective at increasing sales than PPC campaigns. This is an online advertising strategy where advertisers pay a fee to a business, each time a customer clicks on a piece of content designed to drive traffic to a businesses website. Blogs are a great way to provide factual information, increase awareness of your business, provide information for free, and strategically attract new customers. Check out some of &facts previous blog posts.
Think outside the box but don’t overthink it when strategising how to get customers supporting your small business. Support for your small business is closer than you think, so amplify what you already have.