You are about to find out some simple and interesting methods to attract more customers to your small business
How do businesses make money? It’s simple; they sell products or services to customers at a profit.
No matter how great your product or service, your business will not make any money unless customers are willing to buy pay for it at the set price. The fact is, no customers, no business.
Most small businesses fail not because customers don’t want to buy their products, but because customers are not even aware of their product in the first place. So it is important that as an entrepreneur or business owner, you must learn and understand your business environment, customers’ needs and how to put your products or services in front of customers who need them.
Marketing and attracting customers is a huge problem and an important aspect of business cycle that many small businesses need to understand and overcome. In this article we will look at ten cheap and interesting ways that small businesses can use to effectively market their products and services. If you own a small business and this has been a challenge for you, you have a lot to learn from this article.
Marketing and Advertising is a Huge Headache for Many Small Businesses…
For most small businesses, cost is a major barrier and factor when it comes to making marketing and advertising decisions.
Many of the popular and conventional marketing and advertising channels like radio, TV, magazines and newspapers are often too expensive for small businesses leaving them with little or no options.
Because most small businesses cannot find the customers they need to remain in business, many small businesses starve and die because they are not getting patronage enough to make them remain in business or maintain competitive edge.
Despite these obvious difficulties and challenges, there remains couple of businesses which start very small but have been able overcome these challenges and are attracting customers and sales enough to offset their cost and make them profitable ventures.
Some of the methods in this articles are amazingly simple and will cost you nothing. Some of the others will cost you a little, but not enough to bore a hole in your pocket.
Thanks to the internet, there are now more free, cheap and interesting marketing and advertising options for small businesses.
Although some of the marketing and advertising techniques to be shared shortly may work very well when applied in isolation, we recommend that you as much as practicable combine the different techniques to get the best possible results. Here are the top 5 ways to find new and more customers for your small business.
This is an old from of marketing but still works perfectly well even though it may yield lower result compare to radio and television advertising. This is because people are getting suspicious of paid advertising so word-of-mouth still remains one of the most trusted methods of advertising today.
When a customer is happy and satisfied with a product or service, there’s a natural tendency that he or she is likely to share their experience with people close to them like family, friends, colleagues, neighbours and sometimes, strangers.
A satisfied customer is one of the most effective marketing and advertising tools or ambassador a small business can ever have.
So, how can a small business grow an army of passionate customers who will use word-of-mouth advertising to her advantage?
Ensure you deliver on good product and services, of-course no one will want his close relative to patronize a bad product or service, so your best bet is making sure you deliver on a good product that satisfies the customer’s needs and wants. Let the product be as advertised. Keep to your word. Don’t say something else about the product or service and have your customer get something different from what was advertised.
Consider reward or affiliate program for customers already in your books where existing customers can referral potential customers to your business and get a reward if the referred customer makes a purchase. Reward program is a marketing campaign that has been proven to work for variety of products or service. Structure the reward program in a way that benefits you and the customers (referrer). Its called a Win-Win Situation for All. They get more when the refer more people to buy your product or service. What they get could be additional products/service for free, or on discount. However, the program should be such that you only reward for converted customers (i.e. sales) and not just prospects.
- Discounts and free deals
Everybody loves free stuff.
Giving away some products and offering service for free does three positive and interesting things for small businesses:
First, it lets people out there know that the product or service exist.
Second, it provides a chance to prove the value of the product or service and show that it really works.
Third, it provides opportunity for future customers to try out products or service without spending any money. And if customers find value in the products or services, they will be willing to pay money for it.
Research has shown that discounts or promo sales could induce an average customer to buy things that ordinarily they wouldn’t have bought at normal conditions of sale. It drive volume sales. They love to ‘take the opportunity’ because they may not get it that cheap again hence the need to take advantage of the discount sale or deal.
Most people have a weakness for the word ‘free’. In their minds, it’s another opportunity to enjoy or use something without spending any money or spending too much than they would have.
Nevertheless, you must make sure that the free stuff does not last too long . From the beginning, determine the number of people who will enjoy the free stuff or how many days the promo will last. Doing so will help in achieving the objective, which is let people have a feel of the product or service and be able to attest to their quality/value. They will naturally come back to pay for it if they find them worthy and they will help you spread the word all over and increase patronage from potential customers. Therefore, you need to structure your free and discount deals to serve the real purpose of drive sales and consumption appetite.
- Get Online – Get a Website
Small businesses need websites too, even if it has just a single page.
As a result of the huge influence of the internet, our world is now more connected than ever before. Virtually everybody who is looking for want thing or the other first goes to the internet to ask search engines like Google and Bing. This includes finding products, services, information, etc. In fact, the internet has become the conventional means of researching and validating the worth and value of virtually every product or service. This is because, every product or service information are available on the internet. In fact, any product or service information that is not available on the internet is most likely fake.
With the spread of mobile phones across many parts of the country, it is easier and more effective to search Google for information rather than ask the nearest human being.
Let’s say you run a small laundry and dry cleaning business in Lagos. Will your business come up among the search results when a desperate customer searches Google for ‘Laundry Businesses in Lagos’?
Owning a website is no longer a luxury that only big companies enjoy or affords. Small businesses can now get affordable website to serve a functional purpose for their business, which includes marketing and awareness campaign.
Having a website for your business is like provide a newspaper or billboard advertorial for your business such that potential customers can see your business and its services by merely searching keywords that are related to your business or services/products you provide. Get your small business represented on the internet. It doesn’t cost much and will benefit you a lot. A website provides you with the opportunity of displaying the physical address, email, phone number & facsimile of your business such that potential customers could easily contact you for inquiries and sales.
- Get Listed on Popular Business and Service Directories
The internet has also made it easy for people who need some products or service to easily find them through directories and reputable channels with listings. These are websites that people go to whenever they need a product or service.
Listing your business on directory exposes you to real customers who are specifically looking for your type of product or service. An example is http://t-hub.com.ng/ a business service directory that connects service providers with potential customers. With your complete contact details on t-hub; you will get calls directly from potential client who are in need of your service or from the customer service agents directing you to a client who has requested for your service.
- Social Media
Social media in recent times is changing the way business is done in today’s world.
Although there are now several social media platforms across the world, Facebook and WhatsApp leads the pack as the world’s largest social community with over 2 billion registered users worldwide (as at 30 September 2016). That’s more than 19 percent of the world’s total population.
Popular social media networks like Facebook and WhatsApp are some of the top places where your potential customers hang out and it makes perfect sense that you register your business on Facebook too. Get a product or fan page to display all your offerings. Include pictures of your products and services to enable potential customers have a look at them. Instagram app has also proven itself as a veritable platform for social media or digital marketing and advertising channel. 3-D pictures of your products and service can be broadcasted through the channel to reach potential buyers. Also, you can engage the services of influencers with large following to market your products in their pages to reach large following of users.
Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and WhatsApp make it very easy for people (both customers and non-customers) to talk about your business. Their experience or opinion about your product or service can be made via a social share, tweet or comment through those social media platforms and as such giving you the opportunity to engage with them and provide support or clarification where necessary.