Nine tips to get more customers

You don't have to be an expert or genius to get more customers. You just need to have the drive and passion to want to improve and better your business.

Part of this process involves learning new things and rolling up your sleeves. As the famous saying goes... Don't put off until tomorrow, what can be done today.

Here's 9 of my top tips for acquiring new customers.....

1. Find out what your competitors suck at and turn that into your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), using this to your advantage in your marketing messages that will kill the competition and win more customers.

2. Don't wait for referrals from your existing customers, ask for one (or two!). Some of the best free marketing I've had in previous businesses was word-of-mouth and having a recommendation from a very happy customers beats anything else hands down. You can either ask for a referral face-to-face, by means of an email forward or you could print some flyers and have them distribute for you. Rocket boost this by collecting testimonials and adding them to the marketing message.

3. Flyers through the door or letters in the post are still a cost effective way to reach new customers. I remember for my first business getting a few hundred flyers printed and delivering them myself door-to-door in my local area, visiting the relevant estates for my target audience.

4. An oldie but a goldie, I always recommend using a PR company/freelancer where your budget can afford. As well as ground-breaking advice and new ideas, it takes that workload out of your hair and allows you to focus on running the business. If cashflow doesn't afford you this opportunity, simply work out why your business is different and better than your competitors and ring around the local newspapers informing them. A good story would feature things like, you've just taken on new staff; office/warehouse expansion; just won an award; new innovation, etc.

5. Use a 3-step marketing approach:

  • Make contact with a potential customer and offer 'free' valuable insight information about your product, service or industry.
  • Build an on-going relationship through regular contact, continuing to add value through free information or similar.
  • Reach the point where the potential customer is comfortable enough to buy from you through trust and likeability.

6. Work out what is stopping people buying from you.

  • Does the quality match the price?
  • Do you offer enough relevant payment and/or shipping methods?
  • Could you offer a reduced/limited product/service for less as a second option? (E.G: Bronze/Silver/Gold; Light/Standard/Full, etc)
  • Service that goes with the product not extensive enough?
  • Not enough / too little choice?
  • Geographic issues?
  • Bad customer reviews or support?
  • Brand/marketing message too confusing?
  • Positioned at the wrong end of the market?

7. Add a better and more visible email capture method to your website. In addition, maybe your website is too confusing and potential customers can't find what they are looking for. Use website analytics to figure this out and improve your UX (user experience). One thing you can do is print your website our on paper or use an iPad and hit the streets asking random people who match your target audience what they think your website is or does. Capturing peoples thoughts and opinions. And finally, make sure your website is optimised for mobile.

8. Generally speaking a website with a conversion rate of 2% is considered average. So what happens to the other 98% of visitors? Consider using 'remarketing' to win them back. This service exists from companies such as Google and Facebook, allowing you to display adverts that 'follow' a potential customer around the various websites or Facebook pages they browse around. This helps to keep your business in the prospects mind and as a result you could start to win back the other 98%. In addition, by collecting email addresses, this allows you the opportunity to remarket via email campaigns, you can even segment your email list based on non-customers and customers.

9. You're doing social media all wrong. In my last business we were experts in e-commerce and order fulfilment. We thought we knew social media and dabbled in it with limited success. Back then a few thousand likes was considered good with little to no real orders.

With my latest business we turned everything on it's head. Completely upside down. We've managed to build a social audience with 300,000 fans. All of our strategy is new, different and works 1,000,000 times better.

A large proportion of what we now do is free, and word-of-mouth drives our growth. If you have given up on social media, or can't make yours work, I would strongly recommend learning how to become a social media ninja or look to hire someone who is. We're on target to make £2.5m this year 99% through social media, so think again and revitalise your strategy.

Do you have any  tips to share? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!