If you run a small business, one of the questions that keeps you up at night is how you will acquire more customers. Acquiring customers is one of the biggest challenges for small business owners. You need sales to fuel growth, and developing a winning strategy for attracting and retaining customers is key to having a profitable business. Keep reading to learn four steps you can take to increase the number of customers your business serves.
Step 1: Define your goal.
Establishing clear goals is the first step in the process. Defining success will help you determine the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Start by determining:
How many customers do you need?
How much time can you allocate each week to customer acquisition?
How much money are you willing to spend?
How long will you execute your plan before pausing to assess the success?
Taking the time to define success upfront is important. This can help manage your energy and anxiety as you work towards achieving your goal. Growing your business is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to have a clear goal and milestones to help you understand how well you are keeping pace with achieving your goals.
Step 2: Review your current customer funnel.
One of the best ways to get new customers is to tap into the lead sources that previously provided you with customers. Review your current customer base.
Where did they come from?
How did you introduce your services to them?
What lead sources are similar to where you found your prior customers?
How can you leverage your current customers to acquire new ones?
By assessing where and how you have gained customers in the past, you will identify the type of actions you need to take to acquire new customers.
Step 3: Identify areas for improvement.
Now that you have a list of actions you have taken in the past to acquire new customers, you can begin to test out new approaches. A few things to consider:
Can you expand current activities into new locations? For example, if you are having success gaining customers from listing your business on one website, could you look for additional websites to list your business?
Can you allocate more money against current tactics? For example, if you have a strategy such as digital advertising that is currently working, can you allocate more money to reach a larger audience?
Are there parts of the prospect-to-customer flow process that can be improved? For example, if you are getting inquiries for your offering but are having difficulty converting the sale, review your current processes and identify if responding faster to customer inquiries or providing different information leads to higher conversion rates.
Step 4: Identify new marketing and advertising opportunities.
Marketing and Advertising are complex and ever-changing fields. It is vital to continuously look for new and better ways to get in front of potential customers. Scheduling time once a week to research new ways of getting your services in front of potential customers is a must. You can research new ways to promote your business by:
Asking peers how they are getting customers. Other business owners are doing similar work to you but are in different geographies or targeting a different customer group. Schedule time to share best practices and brainstorm new ways to reach customers.
Asking AI for suggestions on attracting new customers. AI tools like ChatGPT and Bard can give ideas on different lead generation ideas. Check out TikTok and Instagram feeds on AI prompts to get ideas for using AI for lead generation ideas.
Conducting Market Research. Research services like yours on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Identify how and where competitors are marketing their products or services. You will likely identify tradeshows, networking events, and other in-person opportunities to which you should dedicate energy.
Hiring an expert. Some professionals specialize in social media marketing, PR, event planning, and a host of other sales, marketing, and advertising activities. Paying experts to help you with planning and execution can help you to accelerate your business growth.
Acquiring new customers can give your business the boost that it needs to grow. More customers can mean more revenue. More revenue can mean more investments, which can mean your business gaining greater ability to meet or exceed your customers' needs. It all starts with having a goal, developing a plan, and adjusting that plan to help you achieve your goals.
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I am a father, husband, executive coach, and former retail executive. My coaching expertise comes from 21 years of leading operation, sales, and marketing teams. I understand what it is like to feel stuck, undervalued, and underappreciated.
I also know what it takes to invest in professional development, climb the corporate ladder, and find fulfillment at work.
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