10 Tips on How to Find Customers

Finding new customers may prove difficult if as business has already made marketing efforts. However, there are effective strategies that can help a small business find new clientele, thereby continuing company growth.

Brad Nakase, Attorney

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For a few months now, Tanya has been having trouble finding new customers to visit her chocolate shop. While the people from her neighborhood know about her shop, she wants to attract the attention and interest of customers from across town. Tanya researches ways to find customers, and she creates a plan. Not only does Tanya update her website, but she begins to post creative content on social media. She also advertises deals, such as buy-one-get-one-free and senior specials. These strategies succeed, and Tanya finds plenty of new customers to keep her business profitable.

How Can a Business Find New Customers?

Small business owners face plenty of challenges, whether they are just starting their company or have been running it for years. One of the difficulties they must deal with is attracting new customers. After all, a business cannot grow if the consumer base stays the same, or static. For profits to grow, a company must reach out to new clients or customers and earn their business. These customers may be down the road from the company, across the city, in a different country, or many states away. Finding new customers may prove difficult if as business has already made marketing efforts. However, there are effective strategies that can help a small business find new clientele, thereby continuing company growth.

  1. How to Ask for Referrals to Find New Customers

One of the best ways to find new customers is to ask for referrals. While it may make sense to ask friends and family to refer the business to their acquaintances, this process can take time and may not be effective. A business owner can take the matter into his or her own hands by using a system dedicated to generating referrals. This digital system will ask current customers to refer friends and family. The system can be built into the sales process. For example, after buying a product, a customer will receive an email asking for a referral. Sometimes, companies offer incentives for referrals this way. For example, a company might offer a discount on a future sale in return for a referral.

Example: Jenna loves buying jewelry on Etsy. One day, she buys a necklace from a seller called JadeGems. After purchasing the necklace, Jenna receives an email from JadeGems asking Jenna to refer a friend to the business. In return for her help, Jenna will receive a 10% discount on her next purchase. Eager to buy more jewelry, Jenna refers her friend Kathy.

  1. How to Network to Find New Customers

There is nothing wrong with using traditional word-of-mouth to spread news of one’s business. A business owner can participate in networking groups and events that relate to his or her industry and customers. For example, if a company is selling organic honey, then it may be a good idea to show up at a farmer’s market and hand out flyers or free samples. When it comes to networking, a business owner should think about how they can help others, rather than think about profit. By focusing on providing a service to people in need, one can build a strong, lasting relationship with customers. These customers will be more likely to mention the business to friends and family, thereby creating new customers.

Example: Sam runs an ice cream business, through which he sells all-natural, unique flavors and sugar cones. Over the past few months, Sam’s sales have stagnated. In need of new customers, Sam decides to advertise his product to the local community. He takes his ice cream to a local fair and gives out samples to kids and their parents. Within a few weeks, his store welcomes dozens of new customers, including the friends and family of the people who tried the ice cream at the fair.

  1. How to Offer Incentives and Discounts to Find New Customers

One way to attract new customers is to offer discounts and incentives to encourage engagement. One might offer an introductory discount, such as ten percent off a weeklong course or a free ice cream cone. This provides a fun, risk-free way for customers to try products or services. When new customers take up the special offer, a business owner can aim marketing messages specifically at their demographic to keep them coming back for more.

Example: Linda has recently opened an ice cream parlor, but she feels that she needs to attract more customers. In order to expand her clientele, Linda posts on Facebook advertising buy-one-get-one-free ice cream cones. The next day, a lot of new customers show up. Linda notices that most are young couples, come to take advantage of the offer. Linda realizes that she can attract more young couples by holding special events targeting them. She decides to start “Cupid Cone Hour”: every Friday night at 8pm, there will be a buy-one-get-one-free offer.

  1. How to Recontact Old Customers

Sometimes, regular customers stop visiting a business for a while. It is possible, however, to re-engage these customers and enjoy their business again. It is wise to regularly review customer contacts and reach out to those who have not frequented the business in six months or a year. One can contact old customers by email, phone, or direct mail. Generally, customers appreciate when a business remembers them personally.

Example: Cheryl runs a beauty salon. Recently, business has been slow, and she has been looking for more clients. Cheryl realizes that there are past clients she can contact, who may be interested in returning. She runs through her client list and finds that a customer named Fiona has not stopped by in six months for a manicure. Cheryl gives Fiona a call, saying, “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you! How are you? Why not stop by for a manicure and we can catch up.” Fiona appreciates the personal touch, and she books an appointment with Cheryl’s beauty salon.

  1. How to Improve a Website to Find New Customers

Nowadays, most customers discover a new business while browsing online. This means that it is especially important for a business to have a functional, sleek website that will draw people in. The design, graphics, content, and SEO should all be updated to provide a pleasant experience for the user. If a business owner requires help with his or her website, they should hire a website design company or SEO professional.

Example: Leo is the owner of a custom cowboy boot company. Recently, he has been looking for new customers. He realizes that he has not updated his website since 2006. His daughter informs him that a well-designed website is crucial to attracting modern customers. So, Leo hires a website designer to produce an updated, functional website from which customers could order cowboy boots from all over the world.

  1. How to Partner with Similar Businesses to Find New Customers

One idea to attract new customers is to join forces with other businesses. These businesses should share a similar consumer base but not be direct competitors. Together, both businesses can plan how to share customers and create new business for each other. For example, a children’s clothing company can partner with a children’s furniture store. Together, they could offer discounts and special deals to each other’s customers.

Example: Louis owns a children’s clothing company. However, he is having a hard time attracting new customers. Louis decides to contact the owner of a children’s furniture store, which enjoys a lot of business. Both owners agree to advertise each other’s stores to customers through deals. For example, when a customer buys a chair from the furniture store, they receive a ten percent discount for Louis’ clothing company. Because the two businesses share similar clientele, it is very likely customers will be interested in Louis’ company.

  1. How to Advertise Expertise to Find New Customers

It is possible to attract new customers by showing off one’s mastery of certain skills or subjects. Perhaps the owner of a business could take part in industry panels or online lectures. They could also speak at events or groups that customers may have an interest in. Holding workshops is another way of gaining the interest of new customers who may have an interest in the industry.

Example: Donovan is the owner of a garage, where his team of mechanics fix up old and vintage cars. Donovan himself is an expert when it comes to remodeling old cars and making them look like new. In need of new customers, Donovan decides to hold an online webinar on YouTube where he discusses the process of fixing up an old Corvette. The video gets thousands of views, and within weeks, he has plenty of new customers who share his passion for fixing cars. 

  1. How to Use Online Reviews to Find New Customers

If a business gets plenty of online reviews, then they may come in handy when searching for new customers. Positive reviews can be quoted on one’s website, and customers can be encouraged to take a look at the company’s reviews on sites like Yelp or Amazon. This kind of approval is powerful, and people are more likely to visit a business if it has received good reviews from others.

Example: Leanne is the owner of a café. Recently, business has been slow, and Leanne feels that she should find new customers to keep profits up. Leanne knows that she is better than the other local cafes, so she decides to prove it in a bid to attract customers. She posts a sign outside the café door that tells people to check out the café’s reviews on Yelp. There, people may discover that Leanne’s café receives only four and five-star reviews with glowing praise.

  1. How to Engage with the Community to Find New Customers

In general, most people like to see a local business succeed. To bond with one’s community, a business owner should consider participating in charity events or joining local organizations. Perhaps the company can sponsor a local Little League team or organize a marathon. These strategies can help get the name of the business out there, and it can also build a connection and relationship with customers.

Example: Gary has owned a hot dog business in his community for the past ten years. In order to maintain a steady flow of customers, Gary engages with his neighborhood. He sponsors the local Little League team, and as a result, the name of his company is on the uniforms. He also organizes a fun run every summer where he offers free hot dogs to all runners. By participating in community events, Gary has become a familiar name.

  1. How to Offer Deals to Find New Customers

Offering deals such as buy-one-get-one-free and 2-for-1 is a powerful and effective way of attracting new customers. By suggesting that people “invite a friend” or share their experience with someone, a business owner can easily bring in new customers.

Example: Hattie is the owner of a chicken restaurant. When she wants to bring in new customers, she advertises a group special. Any group of three or more gets a 20% discount and a free dessert. Whenever she makes this offer, her restaurant fills up with families and parties of young people.

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