Last week I went to a new dentist to get a checkup. I was giving her my contact details, and she inquired about what kind of work I do. Once I was done explaining, she asked me, “How do you attract new customers?” This is a question I often get asked since I’m in the marketing field and attracting new clients is my line of work.
Figuring out how to attract new customers is the part that frustrates most business owners. For instance, if you’re a doctor, you needn’t search for new patients – they come to you. But, this is not the case for most businesses. Attracting new customers is undeniably baffling.
Most entrepreneurs started their businesses because they love the work they do, not because they like selling. Unfortunately, your business won’t survive if you’re not good at attracting new customers.
So how do you begin attracting new customers? We cover 15 actionable ways to grow your customer base.
1. Set goals for attracting new customers
Setting goals is critical to any business. Even though it may seem like a draining task, goal-setting can actually motivate you. Remember these points as you set your goals:
- Write down short-term and long-term goals for attracting new customers.
- Start by working towards short-term goals, which can lead to achieving your long-term goals.
- Set SMART goals:
- Specific: How many new customers do you want to acquire? Using which channels (social media, referrals, Google searches, etc.)?
- Measurable: Establish the metrics you’ll use to determine whether you’ve accomplished your goals
- Attainable: Analyze each goal and determine its feasibility
- Relevant: Determine which goals are the priorities for your business
- Time-bound: Set a time frame to meet every goal
2. Know your customers
You cannot succeed in the market if you don’t know your customers. Before moving ahead with any plan, it’s helpful to develop a buyer persona. Buyer personas are simply a profile of your company’s ideal customer. While it’s important not to create too many buyer personas, having one or two buyer personas in mind can improve the way your business targets its market and attracts leads.
See our brand strategy template for all the steps you need to create a buyer persona.
3. Determine your best channels to attract new customers
It’s best for businesses to meet potential customers on the channels they frequent most. Are they on social media? Would they prefer email? Meeting in person?
You can determine how your customers prefer to be contacted by gathering data from your existing customers. However, don’t put all your eggs in one basket – customers joining several new platforms every day, and a multi-channel marketing strategy is always best for attracting new customers.
4. Understand the buying process
Figure out how your customers are reaching you to purchase your product. Once you know these inbound channels, you will be able to pinpoint where to focus your efforts (as well as which channels might need some work). Here are some questions to help determine your customer’s buying process:
- How are customers arriving at your website? Is it via social media, organic SEO, or other methods?
- What page do they first land on?
- What do they do once they land on a page?
- What content or pages do they go through before making a purchase?
5. Hire talented staff
It’s no secret that great employees make a great business. One good employee can help your company get new 10 customers. On the contrary, a bad one can drive away those 10 customers – and you will need to hire more employees to regain the lost customers.
Furthermore, most business owners or manager will have a hard time achieving certain goals all on their own. For that, you will need skilled, experienced, and trained professionals. Find the right employees, and they will set the stage for your vibrant growth.
6. Know your competitors
Competitive analysis has become an essential part of any business. Knowing your competitors does not mean stealing their ideas. Rather, it’s all about knowing their strengths and weaknesses. Gathering this information will help inform and fine-tune your own business approach.
While analyzing your competitors, it’s important to know what you’re looking for and how that information can help your business. For example, does your competition lack a solution that your audience is searching for? And is your own business in a position to provide this solution?
Here are some ways to gather information on your competition:
- Analyze industry reports
- Check their current products and services
- Analyze your competitor’s website and SEO strategies
- Note their strengths and weaknesses (as a service provider, on social media, etc.)
- Look into their content marketing strategy
- Read their customer reviews and ratings
7. Weigh in on your website
“Is our website providing value?” Every business with a website should ask this question if it wants to attract new customers. Most websites have flaws, and it’s mainly due to the lack of quality design resources. Consider using plug-and-play website design templates from a site like Wix, ThemeForest, or SquareSpace, to build a professional and streamlined website.
Also, as websites are becoming more and more interactive, their ease of use plays an integral part in engaging potential customers. Use tools to test your website’s usability, and be sure that users can contact you or make a purchase quickly.
In addition, make sure that your website projects a consistent brand image and tone across every page – one that aligns with all of your other marketing materials. If you’re new to building and running a website, think about trying a service that can help you start your web presence, like FirstSiteGuide.
8. Use direct response marketing
Direct response marketing gets potential customers to complete specific, quick actions on the spot. Use direct response marketing to get potential customers to opt into your email list or give other contact information through a lead capture form. This allows you to reach them through methods and nurture them towards making a purchase.
Consider giving free information, like an ebook or downloadable template, in exchange for contact info. And be sure to target your messaging to your ideal audience’s main pain points. The aim of direct response marketing is to meet your potential customer’s needs through immediate messaging and show the value your business offers.
9. Leverage social media
The one place where your customers are most active is on social media. Social media is also one of the most cost-effective ways to influence your existing customers, as well as attract new customers. If you use social media platforms the right way, you can work toward placing your brand in front of a large audience within a short time.
By focusing on building relationships through social media, you can better magnify your marketing plans and gain a loyal following.
Here are some guidelines to attract new customers through social media:
- Identify which social media sites your existing and desired customers are using
- Create company profiles on those sites
- Post engaging content related to your business and industry
- Focus on other interesting or trending topics, as well
- Use relevant keywords and hashtags relevant to your company
- Listen and respond to feedback
10. Create compelling content
No matter how strong your marketing strategy may be, it’s the content you publish that people are going to talk about. If you notice your content isn’t generating much engagement or isn’t well-received, it could be because you don’t possess enough knowledge about your niche.
Your main content goal should be to position your brand as an expert in the field. This not only attracts clicks and likes, it also creates trust. For content to excel, you have to develop a solid strategy. Here are a few key tips:
- Always choose a topic that is relevant to your audience before you start to write.
- With every topic you choose, make sure it offers value to people.
- Answer your market’s questions. Solve their problems and you’ll gain their trust. (Plus, this will make them more likely to remember you the next time they are in need of your products or services.)
- Know the difference between top, middle, and bottom of funnel content to reach potential customers in different stages of consideration. Create content that covers all stages of the funnel, as well as both general and more specific topics.
- Offer your take on trending topics within your industry.
11. Offer something for free, or at a discounted rate
People love getting something for free, or at least less than the asking price. Consider implementing an introductory offer to draw in new customers. For example:
- E-commerce: Offer a discount off the first purchase when a new customer signs up for your email list
- Service industries: Discounts or credit towards the first service
- Subscriptions: Free one-month trial
- Software: Free trial of premium service, or free version with limited features
12. Form partnerships
Consider forming partnerships with other businesses in your niche or that have the same audience as yours (although aren’t in direct competition). This allows you to build a larger network of potential customers, and refer leads and prospects to each other.
13. Start a referral program
Your existing customers are your best advocates. They already know the benefits of your business and if they’re happy with what you have to offer, they’re probably already sharing you with their friends. So why not use your existing customers to attract new customers using customer referral marketing?
Referral programs make it easy for customers to directly share your business with their friends in just a few clicks or taps. Since those friends trust the opinions of their peers over traditional advertising, they are more likely to become your new customers (and may even join your referral program, as well.)
The best referral programs use dual-sided rewards, which sweetens the pot for both your existing customers and the friends they refer. Existing customers get a reward for every successful referral, while new customers are also incentivized to make their first purchase. Your business gets stronger customer relationships and increased brand awareness. This is a win-win-win situation!
Your customers want to refer you – you just haven’t asked. We automatically ask them at the right time to help word of mouth spread.
14. Formulate a quarterly strategy
Once you have all the resources in place, it’s time for you to create a researched quarterly strategy focused on how to attract new customers. Three months will give you enough time to progress and track results, but not overwhelm you to achieve those results in very short periods. Frame every step in yoru plan in a way that supports the goals you wrote down in step one.
15. Stick to your plan, and learn from the results
What if you seem to be behind on your quarterly plan? If things seem like they aren’t going your way, still stay positive and stick to your plan throughout the quarter. Keep in mind that uncertainties are bound to happen, and don’t be discouraged by the lack of results. Don’t let a small hindrance keep you from going forward with your plan, because getting results from a detailed strategy often takes time. After the quarter is over, you can always evaluate your results and chart a new and informed path forward, based on the data you collected.
How to attract new customers
It may not be as easy to attract new customers for some businesses. In fact, most businesses face many challenges when it comes to acquiring new customers.
Thankfully, there are many ways to attract new customers and keep them coming back. Start by targeting the right prospects, offering them something informative and engaging, and applying some of the many tips offered in the article.