In order to grow, every business needs new customers. Instead of looking for the get rich quick schemes, here are four ways your company can gain more customers.
1. Pick a Niche
A niche let’s you attract targeted readers to your website. It let’s you become known as the expert. Are you the expert in your field? St. James Winery from Missouri has risen to the largest winery in the state by promoting itself as the “fruit wine” leader. All of their materials in print and online focus towards this goal. While it is good to have variety, being known for a type of wine or specific product makes it easier for customers to remember you. If you know your Chambourcin or Vidal Blanc is the best, don’t be afraid to make that your focus in your marketing.
2. Know your current customers
How do you get more customers? The answer often lies with your existing customer base. Who are your most loyal happy clients? Call them, ask a few questions and then listen. Find out their exact demographic and what they like to do in their free time. This will give you ideas on what type of partnerships or places you should be advertising. Are your clients 5k runners? Or are they huge Iron Chef fans? Are they more interested in local Bed and Breakfasts or are do they dream of traveling the French countryside? Did they google a search term to find you or where they a referral? These answers will help narrow down where your marketing focus should be.
3. Partner with a company
In order for this to work, you need to know your niche and partner with a company with similar demographic and have an already established database of contacts. This could be anything from partnering with a nonprofit or a food vendor. Why would they partner with you? In return either give them a portion of the sales or give them free products/gift cards in return.
I just read a great example of a partnership between a BMW dealer and a women’s boutique on Entrepreneur.com:
One startup that successfully used this technique was a high-end women’s clothing boutique. The store arranged to give a free silk kimono to every female customer of a local BMW dealership who brought in a letter sent by the dealership offering the gown as a gift for their past patronage. The kimono had to be picked up at the boutique.
More than 600 women responded, picking up $100 kimonos that cost the store just $16 apiece. Those 600 women spent an average of $400 on other merchandise during their initial visit. Do the math, and you’ll see that the startup spent $9,600 to generate some $240,000 in sales–and, not incidentally, to begin building its own clientele.
4. Write weekly on your website
I read a great quote the other day in Inc. magazine by Hubspot founder Brian Halligan, talking about how it’s not necessary to spend tons of money on online ads, like Adwords:
A smart blog post or online tool, he argues, can attract new customers for years to come: “Success is about the width of your brain, not the width of your wallet.”
I really love that quote! Blog posts will work for your company forever, while Google Adwords is a one and done deal. Instead of spending all that money on online advertising, try spending your hourly rate writing a blog. For example if you bill $50 an hour for your services and normally buy $300 in Adwords, try this: Spend 6 hours writing a few blog posts about common question your clients may have. To read how my own business has grown through my blog, read Why your business should use Content marketing.