You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you need to spend a little time.
In a perfect world, everyone would understand how great your SMB is and line up to give you their business. No advertising or marketing necessary! Your products or services are so wonderful, people just organically find you and proceed to throw money at you.
It’s a nice thought. So is having a beach house in Aruba. Or a star on Hollywood Boulevard. Or the ability to fly. And also about as likely to happen. Not that you don’t deserve it. Your company may be terrific, but customer acquisition is often a big challenge for a small business. You have competitors going after the same audience. Your marketing budgets may be small. Plus, with the consumer market constantly changing and evolving, you may not even know where to begin.
There are more methods available to acquire new customers than ever before, and not all of them are pricey. They do, however, require an investment of your time. Here are five low-cost tactics you can employ to keep your client list growing and get that cash registers ringing.
Put your existing customers to work for youAccording to a report by McKinsey & Company, word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20-50% of all purchasing decisions. Customer referral programs are simple to implement through email blasts, newsletters or social channels. And by rewarding your current customers with free or deeply discounted products or services for referring a friend, you not only gain new customers, you increase the loyalty of your existing ones.
Partner up with non-competitorsThere may be a small army of business partners you don’t know about who are right under your nose. Identify local businesses that serve the same market segment but are not direct competitors. Maybe you run a restaurant that’s close to a theater that you can run a “dinner and show” promotion with. Also, check in with your current clients and professional advisors (such as accountants and lawyers) and see if there’s a way to refer clients to each other.
Speak up...at in-person eventsParticipating in speaking opportunities is a great way to get involved in your industry and community and make a personal connection with potential customers. Plus, nothing positions you better as an expert in your field than getting in front of an audience and sharing your insights. Look into industry-related events in your neighborhood and offer to run a free workshop. Can’t find an event? Consider hosting one at your place of business or at non-commercial organizations like your local library or Kiwanis club.
Join organizations and start networkingGetting light on new leads? There’s no better way to bump your name recognition and form new connections than by joining industry-related organizations and attending business networking events, especially if you’re trying to sell locally. Many business organizations are free to join or offer sliding-scale fees based on your company’s size.
Dedicate time to social media and search marketingWhether or not you physically join business organizations, you should go to LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, or join Twitter discussions that relate to your industry. Have conversations. Answer questions. Direct them to your own social media profiles. AND be sure to keep those profiles active. Create useful content like blogs that encourage shares and click-throughs. And if your business can be visually showcased, post regularly on Pinterest and Instagram. The more you engage your current audience, the more your business will start to naturally rank in search engines, leading to new audiences...and new customers.
Contact us today to learn how you can reach those same objectives with RCN’s (well-reviewed) suite of communications products and services.