You started your new business, you opened your doors, and then… Silence. Or maybe just not as much business as you had hoped? Ready to get people moving in your direction? Here are steps you should take that will help you find your customers so you can pitch your product to them.
Demystify your target customer.
You know you should advertise and develop a marketing strategy but before you do, there’s one step that comes before that. Clarify who you are targeting. Advertising for moms is different from marketing something to teens. You knew that, of course. But did you know that pricing and copywriting, and labeling, all of that is part of what you might need to re-evaluate? It starts with quantitative data collection on your customers, or your potential customers. If you can’t do it yourself, hire a data collection firm to conduct surveys and market test for you. This must be done before the rest.
Chart out your advertising journey.
Got a clear idea of who your target customer is? Can you write out a thumbnail sketch of the person who is most likely to buy your product? Do you know where they hang out? What they listen to? What they watch? This is where everything you learned in Step 1 will enable you to run an effective ad campaign. An ad campaign can include TV ads, radio, billboards and signage. But also Facebook, Instagram, Google ads, and other online avenues. Map out your strategy and then press go.
You go to a store to buy ice cream. Do you choose a brand you saw advertised the other day? Or do you try out the flavor your best friend swears is the next best thing. Chances are, you give your friend’s recommendation a go. Referrals and word-of-mouth are powerful ways to attract new customers to your business. But how do you get these referrals when you’re a new business just starting up? And you’re trying to get customers to give you a try? Onto the next step…
Join a well-attended event.
Fairs, conventions, forums and more. Look for a listing in your local event directory and set up a booth or volunteer your services. Get in front of people and offer what you’re selling for free, or at a steal.
There are ways to do this online as well. Join an online forum where you know your target customers assemble. Quite often, such forums have strict policies against self-promotion or promotion of products. But you can still be helpful. And by providing helpful information, you can generate interest in who you are and what you do.
Leverage word of mouth.
Say you have one satisfied customer. A paying customer or not, the main point is they were satisfied. Don’t let it stop there. Be bold. Ask them to write a good review on Yelp!, Google Places, Amazon, or wherever else they have an account. Having a happy customer doesn’t guarantee a review. You need to ask for it. And while asking for a review might not equal them following through, you do increase your chances over not doing so. Third-party site reviews are powerful, but don’t discount reviews placed on your site, too. If your satisfied customer is standing in front of you and they seem the forgetful type, ask for a review right there. Something as simple as, “Hey, I want to acknowledge my happy customers on my site, do you have something you want to say about your experience?”
Once your business is set up, finding customers and people who need what you have to offer should be your primary focus. Stop fiddling with your mission statement, or changing the font to your website. Even practicing your sales pitch is not what you should be doing at this point. None of that matters without people coming through your doors.