5 steps to more customers
Without customers, you have no business. Amanda Bracks reveals five of her top tips for acquiring more of your business’ lifeblood.
Customer acquisition is the most important part of running a business. Without customers, there is no business. Many people get bogged down in the day-to-day operational duties and distractions that take focus away from acquiring new customers. Here are five quick and simple customer acquisition ideas that will help you grow your business:
1. Have a lead generation option on your business card
Your business card is given out to generate business, so help prospects do so by asking them to engage in some way with you. Along with your business name, address, logo, email address and phone number include a call to action. Some examples include:
- A trial offer:
- Present this card for a free visit, it’s on me
- Present this card to receive a free massage, it’s on me
- Information giveaway to build your database:
- Download the free report off the web site
- Download the free eBook off the web site
- Email me for 3 free tips on XYZ.
2. Create a promotion with meaning
Many businesses have a promotion or sale for no real obvious reason to the prospect. Consumers, particularly females, like to feel a connection, so if you want to run a promotion or marketing campaign, ensure there is a solid reason for it. Competition is strong and marketing space is competitive so be memorable, form a connection with your potential prospects and respect their intelligence.
A lot of businesses, for example, are currently choosing to use SMS or MMS campaigns. A client of mine received an SMS from his local pizza parlour on a Thursday offering half price pizzas. He had bought one only a couple of days prior, so rather than being enticed, he actually felt ripped off! There was no reason for the sale. If it had been a really hot day the SMS campaign could have said ‘Leave your oven off tonight and let us do the cooking for you with 50% off all gourmet pizzas. Call now to place your order.’ People would relate to the message, and a percentage would be prompted to order pizza.
You can even plan ahead using the weather forecast. At one health club I worked with, we looked at the weather forecast and planned to send a text message campaign on the hottest day that read ‘Get your bikini body ready – 30 days for $30’. It was their most successful SMS campaign. When it comes to promotions you should always plan a theme that ties in with the offer, that is topical and that helps the customer understand the reason for the sale. A sale without a reason can send a message of desperation to the consumer, damaging your brand.
3. Pancake your promotions
When you were a kid, when you ordered pancakes did you go for the stack or the one flat pancake? If you are like most kids, nothing was better than the stack. It is also the way to build a business full of customers. How this happens is by running campaigns and activities each month and instead of replacing them each month, adding them into your channels. For example, if this month you are running a member referral campaign, then next month run the referral campaign and an email campaign. Then the month after run a referral campaign, email campaign and networking campaign. At the end of 12 months you will have 12 different activities running, bringing you different types of customers from different channels.
4. Say happy birthday to your customers and potential customers
It is nice to be valued and recognised on your birthday, so sending your current clients, ex-clients and prospects a birthday card will be really appreciated – as long as there are no strings attached. Many companies use this opportunity to encourage a sale by offering a 15 per cent discount as a birthday gift. This can offend customers as they have to pay the company 85 per cent to receive their gift of 15 per cent off. Where is the gift in that? You are better off sending a birthday card with no gift or a non-conditional gift such as something tangible or a gift card eg $50 voucher. Send a tangible card or postcard where possible and you will stand out. Emails, social media messages and SMS messages are easy to do and low cost – but people realise this. What they really appreciate is the time and effort that goes into sending them a tangible card in the mail.
5. Always look for networking opportunities
Successful business owners are exceptional networkers. They find people that they can learn from or align their business with. An example is the use of the expert tick of approval with people who sell products associated with your services. There are many opportunities for a wide variety of businesses to form relationships that will increase sales of products for the supplier and create new relationships with the expert recommending the product. Suggestions include:
- Tick of approval by the local chiropractor next to recommended beds
- Tick of approval by the local podiatrist next to running shoes
- Tick of approval by the local naturopath next to health store products.
Organise a strategy to network weekly and a set number of new business owners, industry experts and key community members to meet. Form a plan to ensure you consistently grow your own skill set as well as the opportunities for your business. Have an open mind and work on new opportunities, maybe even form alliances that you have never used before that can potentially expose your business to new markets.
Customer acquisition is challenging, but it can also be fun. There are four key steps to making things happen; idea generation, implementation, follow-up and consistency. Ensure you always allow time for all of these important elements. If an activity is bringing in customers and a promotion is working, then don’t change it just because you are bored with it. The brilliant thing about customer acquisition is that the results tell the story regardless of whether we like the activity or campaign or not. Times can be tough in different economic markets, but when it comes to prospecting for new customers and business growth, you can always have more because you can always do more.
Amanda is a leading growth specialist growing fitness businesses for over 17 years as a manager and consultant and winning many awards along the way. She is a key note speaker, has trained thousands of people on sales and prospecting, consulted to over 1500 businesses and is author of the popular book Customer Acquisition; 465 ways to gain and retain customers, available on www.amazon.com and www.amandabracks.com.