New customer acquisition can make or break your small business. With Halloween being the second largest retail holiday and Christmas being the largest — and those two holidays occurring over the next 60 days — there’s no time like the present to scare up new customers. (But please, don’t go overboard!) Check out the five customer acquisition tips below and see if you can grow your customer base in time to take advantage of the extra holiday shopping.
Start with existing customers. As long as your current customers are satisfied with your product and/or service, they will likely be happy to re-order, consider new products, or tell friends, colleagues and family about you. Offer to compensate those happy customers for referrals. Whether with a percent off or reward points, that’s up to you.
Talk to strangers. True, your parents said this was a no-no, but in this case, we’re talking about making sales cold calls. Whether you literally call potential customers on the phone, or you mail or email them using a purchased list, reaching out to a list of potential customers that mirrors your existing customers is a tried and true way to acquire new business.
Ask for their digits. If you have a website, be sure to include a sign-up box where site visitors can provide their email or other contact information to receive your company newsletter or sales and announcements. Strictly brick-and-mortar stores can try the old-school version of this by including an email signup next to the cash register, working with complementary local stores to share lists, or maybe even sponsor a fish-bowl drawing at a local restaurant, craft fair, home show, county fair, or wherever your customers are likely to be — providing a bowl or box where potential customers can drop in their business cards or easily fill out a short form to enter the drawing.
Build awareness. You have to get your name out there so people can add you to their purchase consideration set. How did your current customers find out about you? If you don’t know, ask them. Keep a consistent presence in the channels that have worked for you in the past. If you’re not currently engaged in Social Media, consider adding it to your marketing mix. But make sure your customers are using social media before you just jump on the bandwagon. Last, you might want to try a new twist on an old favorite, the “take one” tear off ads that are posted on real bulletin boards (as opposed to virtual/digital bulletin boards) around town. Instead, have Post-It® Notes pre-printed with your contact information and tear several from the stack to leave on bulletin boards where potential customers can easily grab one as they pass the board.
Listen, learn and engage. Even if you don’t have the resources to build up your own social media community, you can still gain a lot from social media. Conduct a search on addictomatic.com to find mentions on Twitter, blogs, Bing, Google, YouTube, Flickr and more. Or automate things by setting up Google alerts or Twilerts to monitor social media conversations about your company, your products, your industry, your competitors and terms and phrases that directly apply to your products and services. These services will email you when they find a match to the alert you’ve set up. When you see that potential customers are talking about you or a similar product, you can join the conversation in a friendly way to help solve their problem or just make them aware that your company is an option. But don’t be too pushy or you’ll do more harm than good.
All Hallow’s Eve is mere days away, so if you want to take advantage of the extra traffic you created with the last-minute Halloween marketing ideas we gave you to boost business, consider one or several of the new customer acquisition ideas described above.