Nine top tips for finding new customers

A man looking through binoculars seeing money

Finding more customers is vital if you are going to grow your business in a sustainable way. Relying on too few customers can leave you vulnerable - losing just one could mean a cash flow crisis. By consistently searching for and getting new customers, you boost your chances of success. Here are nine tips to help you win new business

1. Know your customer

You have a better chance of getting new customers if you know what sort of person or business you are looking for, so you do need a good idea of your target market. Build a profile of potential customers - in particular, think about what they want and how you can appeal to them. Always aim to offer something unique or better value for money than your competitors.

2. Give incentives to existing customers

Offer discounts on future purchases or even commission if your existing customers introduce new customers to you. Word-of-mouth recommendation is the most potent form of advertising, so surpass customers' expectations where possible and encourage referrals.

3. Freshen up your image

Make sure your business looks appealing to any potential new customers. Is your signage or business logo looking tired? Does your website need revamping? Are you making the most of social media? Could it be time to rebrand or even rename your business?

4. Use local marketing

Distribute leaflets in your area and provide introductory offers. A direct mail campaign or an email marketing campaign can also be an effective way to reach new prospects; be sure to observe data protection rules if you go down this path. Social media is also a vital part of local marketing as well as apps such as Next Door. Don't forget to register with Google to ensure that your business comes up whenever anyone searches for a business like yours on Google maps.

5. Market your business on a budget

Are you missing some key ways to market your business for free or at low cost? There are many ways to reach your target audience. Social media engagement often costs no more than the time it takes and it can pay enormous dividends. Online advertising, such as pay-per-click or advertising on sites like Facebook, can also significantly boost your reach and doesn't have to cost the earth.

6. Get in the news with PR

Try to get coverage in your local paper or in the trade press. You will need to create newsworthy stories and build relationships with local reporters to get coverage on a regular basis. If you run a business-to-business firm, you could put yourself forward as an expert to comment on your developments in your sector.

7. Network with potential customers

Social media can be a very effective marketing tool but face-to-face networking can help you build productive relationships in the long term. Go to trade exhibitions and conferences and speak to as many people as possible. Get involved in local business associations and events. Would closer involvement in your local community be good for business?

8. Find new sales channels

Maybe it's time to start selling online, if you aren't already. This could enable you to reach many more customers and sell round the clock. If you are just starting out with ecommerce, you can use marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Etsy to reach a wide audience.

9. Set targets for new sales and leads

Sales forecasting doesn't just help you plan ahead, it's also a way of challenging yourself to get more customers. Aim to set ambitious but realistic targets for sales leads and new customer wins - for example, by benchmarking your performance against other companies.

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