When you manage a service-based business, attracting new customers needs to be a priority. Even when you have a loyal core customer base, new customers grow your business. Sometimes repeat customers move away or fall on hard times and do less discretionary spending. You want to make sure your business is relevant and inviting to new customers and clients. The influx of different customers helps you keep customer service solid and your business and products innovative. New people keep you on your toes and they bring in new sources of revenue for the business.
So, how do you find new customers? Here’s what you’ve probably already read about the topic:
- Identify what kind of person you’re looking to attract.
- Determine the preferred channels of people who meet your target demographic.
- Set targets and goals for number of new clients in a given time.
- Decide on your budget for bringing in new customers.
- Make sure your business is visible on social media.
And while these tips are true, they don’t tell you how to hook those new clients. But we will! We describe eight actionable ways to find and retain new clients and customers. You can get started with these suggestions tomorrow!
8 Easy Ways to Bring in New Business
- Partner with other businesses– You already know you need to identify your target audience, but then what? The answer’s pretty simple. Find other places that serve the same clientele. Make a list of retail establishments, lifestyle brands, and charitable or business organizations your ideal client might support. Approach that business about creating a partnership. Come up with what you would offer their existing clientele. For example, if you run a sports bar, maybe partner with an outdoors or camping store to add some coupons for free appetizers to your place with purchase. If you are a personal trainer, partner with a local designer’s boutique to offer a free training session with the purchase of a certain fashion item. Design the marketing and create the physical paperwork that must be used by customers to take advantage of the deal. And don’t stop there. When you do attract customers from your partnership, you’ll need a way to convert that customer on their visit. You might try punch cards, membership discount cards, or coupons for a second visit.
- Hold in-person events– Getting to know people where they live is a great way to make and keep new clients. Gyms can hold public workouts or yoga classes in the park. Hair salons can do style shows and ask for hair model volunteers. Bars or cafes can hold themed tasting events supporting a local sports team or celebrating a favorite ingredient. When you host your event, have a place for visitors to sign up for freebies given away throughout the programming. When you collect information, let people know you’ll also send coupons via email or to home addresses. Create a special hashtag for your event and hold a social media contest to involve the new customers in your online marketing. Don’t forget to build in some extra employee time while you’re shift scheduling. Setting up for and taking down events can be a big job.
- Be charitable– Offer up coupons and services when asked by fundraising campaigns, especially those who focus on local businesses. Then, ask to attend the event in exchange for your contribution. Be sure to personally invite the person who wins your service in the raffle or auction to use the coupon. Explain what they can expect at your place of business. Your personal attention will make them more likely to visit. Another option is to have a booth or table available as a sponsor at charitable events to entice even more people to try out your product. Play around with your app for scheduling employees and see how many members of your team you can bring with you. If potential new customers see that you support a certain cause, they may be more likely to choose your brand in the future.
- Meet new people– It’s no surprise that networking would make a list of ways to attract new customers. The more people who know about your product and services, the more people who can be potential customers. But, here’s a twist. It’s not just owners and managers who need to be out there talking up your business, it’s the people who work for you. Have your employees network for you. Build some time into their work schedules for them to seek out potential new customers. Send them to conferences and nights out to promote your business. Supply them with coupons and freebies to give away while they talk to people about the brand.
- Share what you know– Have you ever heard an author speak about her book or watched a behind the scenes concert tour video? After that, did you enjoy the artist’s work more, especially after seeing all that went into it? Share things that your business does well. If you run a restaurant, get your famous chocolate cake recipe out there. If you manage a small gym, share videos of routines designed by your trainers. Make videos, write blogs, take pictures, try to get your business out there sharing information in local spaces, like food magazines or news programs. Letting people know how you do what you do makes them more invested in your service or product.
- Hold a “You and five friends” contest– Use social media to promote a giveaway contest. Entrants should tag five friends they’d like to share the experience with. Then, winners and friends experience the prize you’ve offered. You can use photos and videos to follow up and show what it’s like to win a contest host by your business. And the big bonus is that you get six potential new converts!
- Host community meetings– Meetup groups are always looking for new places to get together. Offer your conference room or break room space to small groups. Book clubs especially love to meet at places where you can get food or coffee. Mom’s groups might enjoy meeting in a gym or a child-friendly restaurant. Offer discounts to members of the group while they’re meeting. If they like your products, they’ll probably be back, even before the next meeting.
- Incentivize current customers– Keep happy customers coming back and making organic referrals to friends and family. Give them special deals or “members only” pricing. Hold customer appreciation nights and post pics of them with shout outs or profiles on social media. Send birthday cards or holidays cards with a discount for them and one for a friend.
Attracting new customers is all about putting yourself and your business out there in new ways. You’re likely to bring in a new customer base when you branch out into unchartered territories. Just because it seems like people are all about the online experience, nothing beats great, in-person customer service and personal connection.