Customers are the lifeblood of your business.
For business owners, one of the most challenging aspects is finding customers, offering them value, keeping them happy and coming back and sustaining this type of activity for as long as you can to generate an profit and an income that you can depend on and grow over time.
Some business owners do it better than others.
Below are five essential customer acquisition strategies all top entrepreneurs use, that you can employ in your business to give you the best chance of being successful.
1. Have the right team to support you
It’s critical to have the right people in your corner with the right mindset working around you in your business. When it comes to the way you treat customers, i.e. greeting them, asking questions, finding out what they want and how best to help them, even to dispute resolution and how to handle issues and hiccups – there’s a certain element that you want to stay consistent across the board.
Look at top athletes and sports people or even some of the most successful business people around today – they all have their A team behind them, from managers to coaches, mentors and even family members to ensure they continually move forward in the right direction. Having the right team, including staff with a positive attitude and one that are on board with you and will support you, your customers, business partners, and suppliers, and makes all the difference.
2. Explore both online and offline media
In today’s world you have to go where your customers are. We live in a complex world combined with a mix of online and offline media. With the shift across the generational gaps from baby boomers to gen X, Y and now the new millennials, its inevitable that we need to shift how we reach out to them.
As we become more technology savvy and more time poor, you as a business owner have to keep up with changing buying patterns as well. There is a big shift towards online marketing, as well as digital services and it may not surprise you to learn that mobile marketing is one of the biggest growth factors. It’s shaking up industries and forcing change.
If you are in business, you cannot rely on just offline media and traditional streams to reach customers. Today’s economy demands both and you need to look at leveraging the online space and social media – i.e. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, just to name a few, or you could be missing out on conversing with many thousands of potential customers.
3. Identifying your target audience
This is one of the most important factors to consider in your acquisition strategies. Regardless of what tactics you employ, if you haven’t worked out who it is you are trying to attract, you may well be wasting hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on all the wrong stuff! So who are your customers? More importantly from your existing customers, who is your best customer? And how do you get more of them?
Doing the due diligence to work this out and develop an ‘Avatar’ which represents the ideal customer for your business will narrow the search considerably and then you can selectively target your messaging to the right areas both online and offline to reach these people – and because its targeted, more than likely you will identify with them with the right language and messaging.
You know the saying, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ – so once you have tapped into the right target audience, you will find it easier to find more customers that fit the same criteria, and this will make your customer acquisition easier to manage.
4. Test and measure along the way
One of my earliest mentors said to me that if you can’t test or measure it, then stop doing it. It sounded harsh, but in reality so many business owners do things on the fly and have no concept of whether its working or not, like running ads in the paper for years, or advertising in yellow pages, just out of habit. Once upon a time it may have been relevant to do this, but are you still getting the returns to justify doing this again and again? Do you have clear criteria that dictate a certain number of leads or revenue that you expect out of a customer acquisition strategy to know if it worked or not?
If you don’t then its time to start thinking about this – before you throw more valuable dollars and resources on the wrong efforts. Also by not being able to measure effectively, you can’t really improve. Simple rule of thumb, every acquisition campaign should have clear measurability techniques laid out early on, and campaigns that can’t be tracked shouldn’t be undertaken.
5. Focus on value based offerings
Its’ easy to put up a product or service for sale, but how do you differentiate yourself from all the competition out there trying to do the same? What makes you stand out and why should customers buy from you?
One way to tackle this is to offer them extra value. Extra value could be as simple as making them feel really welcome when they have their first shopping experience you’re your business, perhaps you have bonus products or services as a way of saying ‘thankyou’ that you could offer, it could be the way you deliver your product or service different to the competition, it could be in the way you reward your customers for coming back and referring on business.
It could even be by staying in touch with them through regular newsletters, emails, or offering valuable content on your website with hints and tips, or strategies to help them solve a problem, all of which will keep them coming back. In today’s world, people want to feel connected and cared for. The more ‘personal’ you can make your offerings to your selected target customers, the more trust and brand loyalty you build up and the better the result of your acquisition strategies moving forward.
Gavin Sequeira is proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel! Having completed an MBA and a successful corporate career at IBM and Oracle, he successfully made the transition to running several of his own business and has helped many others to do the same. Gavin is an active speaker, coach and author of Break Free From Corporate – Be Your Own Boss (available on Amazon) and runs a program designed to help people during their transition. For more information please visit www.breakfreefromcorporate.com or email [email protected]