How to attract new customers is the million dollar question that challenges every SME daily.
What is it in each of our businesses that attracts the new ones is the ever shifting and changing question with often elusive answers.
The first thing you have to understand is what you are selling, your product, your business and you. However more importantly then you have to understand how the market place perceives your product, your business and you.
Second, Ask what does the customer want?
What are their needs? What are the aspects of your business and product that answer to what the customer wants and needs?
Position yourself as the answer to that question to benefit the customer and make their perception of your service meet and speak to meeting their challenges and provides the solution to their needs..
Now, there are those pesky competitors, we all have them, they all too often provide those solutions too. So to attract customers to you, here are some areas to consider that may form the catalyst entice customers to purchase from you.
Is it about the cost of the item? In a race to the bottom you may not want to be the cheapest, so can you appeal to the customer to be the best through your value for money or even value added?
In a fast paced world does the customer want convenience a one stop shop, grab and go, easy to access. Are you trading on a platform that the customer wants to use to purchase from?
Do you speak to the finer things? Do you and your product occupy a superior position in your service and product attributes?
Service and customer experience
Are you efficient, and a service driven business that meets the needs and provides the service and service levels the client prefers
Do you have a business story that speaks to the client in such a way as to entice them into your product?
It is a combination of each of these factors and more that drives the complex decisions that determine spending. Each potential customer will impart importance to these areas with varying weights. This can be as simple as convenience trumping price as the customer wants to save time, so you can charge a little more than your competitor as you have good parking. Or, position doesn’t matter, it is about an artisan product of superior quality that gives the customer a unique customer experience.
The next thing you need to think about is communicating to the customer.
The most readily available and accessible tool to the SME is social media. Twitter, instagram, facebook are the 3 pillars, but have you thought of how snapchat and Linkedin can be used?
People choose to follow and be part of social media by quasi extending their community digitally. Plug into this community be being inclusive of followers and actively involving them.
Get your message out in a way people wish to receive it.
When using social media every message counts to be a buy in or bin out. Too much of the sales message can bin you out, too little and it is a lot of work for little return.
For my business the social media message is simple and has three strings.
- A bit of my bonkers life and way of thinking, for example bopping in the work van on the way to work, or my take of a viral dance.
- Tell the story of my business and clients both the highs and the lows and our thoughts on what and how we do what we do.
- Pure sales, advertising products.
By rarely overtly using the social media platform to blatantly sell the product the bin out rate is low and as such we maintain a healthy rate of followers to whom we have an audience.
In this way we utilise social media as a route enticing customers to our business.
So great, they have purchased from me, hard work done.. Err no.
So now I will ask you… What’s your churn rate?
This was a question asked to me by an influential individual in my industry not so long ago. I said very little, put slightly aback by the question. This is because I like to think that I have done a good job by each customer and that they will then become loyal repeat customers.
But it got me thinking is this the case or are we all as businesses in a constant circle of compete to keep? Well I think in this world of the savvy shopper this is the case.
However what I would say is this, If I can compete to keep a customer, then I am in the race to convert them into the holy grail for any business, the loyal client.
About the author
Elizabeth McKenna is Managing Director of Elizabeth McKenna Flowers and Lizzie’s Bundles.
She also starred in the latest series of the BBC’s The Apprentice, coming fourth and narrowly missing out on a place in the final.