There are many ways to get more customers - whether just coming in off the street and walking through your doors or simply people visiting your website and buying your products online. Not all of these tactics will work for every type of business out there, but here's a list of just some of the ways that businesses can get more customers. Some are very obvious and are only mentioned for the sake of completeness, and some tactics are less obvious and will require a lot of work and thought to create a cohesive strategy around the idea. The rewards with some of the more difficult strategies can be greater though as most businesses will never even think to go down these roads.
Strategies And Tools That Can Help You Get More Customers
Use Social Media - It almost goes without saying, but between Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks, there are over a billion people out there sharing links with friends and engaging with companies online. This is one of the first places to start.
Get Blogging - Most bloggers start out with a sense of excitement and high hopes, but then quickly realize that it's a lot of work and it takes consistent effort to succeed and give up. This isn't a short term project. You've got to create great content and then market it. But if you keep at it consistently, over time these benefits can also impact your SEO and social media strategies in positive ways, among others.
Get Found through SEO - SEO isn't a bad thing if you approach it in a high quality way and follow best practices. Do keyword research and build your sites the right way with great developers who will put the best possible foundation in place for your future success. There are many observers who suggest that content marketing is the new version of SEO, so this is something to think about as well.
Get your content on social news and bookmarking sites - Reddit is the 8 billion pound gorilla here, but between Delicious, StumbleUpon, other news aggregators, and even smaller message boards, there's a ton of places where you can promote your business to fans of a particular topic.
Enhance Your social proof - There's a reason that so many types of businesses buy Facebook likes. It's a tactic that works to separate them from their competitors by giving them an even bigger social presence and also can improve everything from conversion rates to the amount of attention you get online. Getting more likes And greater social proof can help you get more customers walking through your doors, period.
Get Personal - Just about every business has an interesting personal story where the founder sacrificed some aspect of his life in order to succeed. Maybe he sold his car to get enough funding to open. Maybe she arrived in a new country as an immigrant and didn't even speak the language. If you've got a great story, tell the world! Social media is great for telling your story, but maybe this is more appropriate for a great video. Use your imagination.
Setup a crowdfunding campaign - Sites like Kickstarter and IndieGogo and many other crowd-funding campaigns are incredibly popular and drive a lot of attention. Having a successful campaign on one of these sites can give you credibility, funding, media attention, and even more customers. Think about it and see if there's something that you can create on there that will get you the attention you need.
Partner with a local business - Do you only sell coffee but the store right next to you only sells ice cream? Talk to the the owner of the other store and try and strike some kind of deal or special where you can help promote your business to each others customers. That's a random nonsensical and contrived example obviously, but you can get really creative with this and see what's in your area.
Search Ads - Obviously, Google gets the lion's share of attention here. Search ads can be incredibly effective for driving new customers to your business because people who are Googling for a type of product will be much more likely to see your ad.
Use your existing website - Most businesses already have a website, so this suggestion can seem kind of redundant. But here's an important factor to consider. Many businesses don't check all of their content and make sure that all pages have links to their social media pages and are all internally linked together. Make sure all of your social media pages are linked to each other as well so that people can find you and follow you easier. That's not just recommended in our Social Media Spring Cleaning Guide (not that it's spring any longer as you can tell by walking outside) but it's simply common sense to make it as easy as possible for your customers to find you.
Define your target audience - You're not going to sell a box of steak knives to most teenagers (and if you do, you should be concerned). You're not going to sell boating equipment to somebody without a boat. You're not going to sell ice hockey gear to really old nuns. Your business isn't going to please everybody. You should target any marketing you're doing to the audience that you identify has the biggest chance of success.
Display Ads - Ads online are used because they work. Conversion rates aren't as great as they were maybe 10 years ago, but they really do work. Google is obviously a big player in this sector, but there's many other ad networks for quality sites out there that many companies haven't even looked into because all they're thinking about is Google. The key is to experiment with different ad variations and see what converts most effectively for your particular brand in a given situation.
Hold A Sale - the only thing that beats Free is a big old sale sign. Can you hold some kind sale that attracts attention? The answer is that yes, you can. Don't just consider sales, also remember that coupons and bonus deals and packages are also great ideas. Why aren't you doing this yet?
Film a Cool YouTube Video - Many people don't realize this yet, but YouTube is one of the world's most widely used search engines. A great YouTube video can help you reach out to tens of thousands of potential customers. This does take more effort than paying for a few ads, but the results can be worth it if you can manage to create something special. This does require some actual talent and effort though as it is very time consuming to create a concept, script it, film it, and then edit and promote it. Even a high quality video that's just a minute long can take many hours of effort to pull off. Luckily though, in most modern smartphones, you've got a capable video camera already in your pocket.
Call People - Despite the ubiquity of social media and search engines, phone numbers aren't completely dead yet. Do you have some customers you haven't seen in a while? Do you have some great leads that you haven't gotten around to messaging yet? If so, pick up that phone and sell. If you need motivation for that, just watch the Always Be Closing Speech from Glengarry Glen Ross.
Be Controversial - The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Saying something controversial will get you attention online. That's how you can create brand advocates, by inspiring a lot of love in just a handful of people. Don't be too scared to death about saying something that might offend somebody or even creating an enemy. You need to create some noise to really be loud.
Affiliate Marketing - Getting other people to do the hard work for you in exchange for a percentage of the income isn't a bad deal. Look into if this is feasible for your specific business.
Hold A Contest - Lotteries and contests and special events are big attention getting devices. They can get people linking to your page, liking your page, and talking about you directly to their friends. This might not work for every type of business, but is a fantastically under-utilized strategy for many types of businesses.
Word of Mouth - Ask your friends or neighbors to tell people about you. This is a tough one because sometimes this can affect your personal relationships, but this is a tactic that will work well even though it doesn't scale, if your friends truly believe in you. One extra customer per week through word of mouth can have a massive domino effect for your business.
Email Marketing - Leverage your existing networks and relationships with people to create dynamite email marketing campaigns that gets people thinking about you and coming back to your site. Do you have an online newsletter that you don't really use? Consider starting that up again. Send emails about new products, sales and coupons, and other cool happenings.
Nothing sells like free - Even though the world isn't supposed to work this way, everybody always wants something for nothing, even though though TANSTAAFL (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch). But on the internet, free is expected. Free stuff drives interest in your business like just about nothing else. Can you give away something for free that might benefit you in some other ways? Can you give away $18 worth of product to make $400 in sales in some way? This happens all of the time if you can somehow get a customer through your door with free. Free goes against the instincts of many business people, but this is definitely a tool in your toolbox that can help you bring more customers through your doors.
Use Analytics To Make Adjustments - Every business category works a bit differently, so this might be the only universally applicable piece of marketing advice that will be listed here. Always check your analytics and analyze what types of marketing campaigns are working and which ones aren't. You won't know for a fact if something will work well for you until you try it. Great football coaches aren't great just because they win ever 1st half of games, they're great because they're able to make positive halftime adjustments if their strategy isn't working out. If you try a strategy and aren't measuring, you could be throwing money away by doing something that has a bad return on investment rate and you wouldn't even really know it. Measuring sources of traffic as well as you possibly can and putting some real time and effort into analyzing the data you receive can allow you to put a laser focus on the things that are working and not spend time, energy, and resources on the things that don't work.