Whether you’re getting ready to open your business for the first time, or reopening after the economic lockdown, you – like many other business owners – are probably spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to reach potential customers… but where do you start?
Here are some simple avenues to consider when trying to build (or rebuild) that clientele:
Improve your website: No matter how you initially attract interest, at some point consumers will search for your business online and reach your website. Keep them interested by making sure your site is the best it can be:
- Ensure content is current and accurate. Say you own a flower boutique. Update the imagery with in-season bouquets and confirm that pricing and contact information are accurate and up-to-date.
- Generate a fast, simple user experience. Is the information easy to understand? Is the site simple to navigate? If you have a paragraph of information describing a product or service, try making it as short and sweet as possible. Furthermore, ensure pages are easy to find and well-organized.
- Create an appealing design. Utilize harmonious color combinations along with colors that evoke positive emotions to help make the site easy on the eyes.
- Utilize SEO. These days, it’s not unusual for someone to discover your business from a random Google search. Your site should utilize search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure you are at the front of the line for your particular category. Hiring a good web design firm and/or SEO expert is a wise step.
Take advantage of reviews: Nothing beats word-of-mouth advertising…and today, a good online review can help bring new people to your door. Post or link reviews on your website and let your customers know that they can find you (and post their own reviews) on Yelp, Google or other review sites.
New customers are more likely to seek your business out if they see positive comments; however, no business is perfect and odds are you’ll get a negative review or two. Furthermore, potential customers will often look at 1-star reviews first – so incorporate best practices by responding to all positive AND negative reviews.
Make referrals count: Since referrals from satisfied customers are a great way to pick up new customers, it’s important to keep the referral pipeline open. One way to incentivize this is to offer additional discounts or a type of loyalty program in exchange for a referral.
Build a social presence: Nowadays, most businesses can be found on social media. Why? Well, social media is a great, free tool that can help build brand awareness and develop new relationships. Ready to get started? Find out what social media channels your target market primarily uses, determine your social goals and create a content strategy to help get you there.
Use traditional media: Traditional media like print, radio and TV are effective tools, but they can also be the most costly. In many cases, local radio can be effective if wisely chosen. And, while newspapers and print media in general have seen a drop in readership, it can still be the ideal way to get your message out to the faithful readers. Neighborhood “shopper” publications can also be effective for locally-oriented services, such as home improvement or auto repair. With TV, you’ll reach the largest audience, but remember, there can be production costs to creating that TV spot that makes you a star!
No matter where you are in the life-cycle of your business, from just opening the doors to coming back from a challenging period, growing – and retaining – your customer base is of the utmost importance. Pinpointing your ideal customer profile, targeting ways to reach them and tailoring your business to make them satisfied will all play an important role in determining your future success.
Need a lender? We’re ready to help! The First Internet Bank Small Business Administration (SBA) Lending team has the expertise needed to help provide custom financial solutions that preserve capital and lower monthly payments while delivering future flexibility with payment certainty. And with our SBA Preferred Lender status, we’re able to deliver a faster, streamlined loan process, letting you focus on what matters most: growing your business.
Want to learn more about our history and SBA programs? Visit our webpage.