New firms face many challenges to win their first customer. This situation can be due to a lack of publicity, the product or service is unknown and the higher risk of failure. A firm needs to work hard to attract and win customers and the following are practical tips for winning customers:
Start with the basic tasks
You start by searching the market to understand better the customers, the market, existing market mixes and any challenges that customers face and want solutions for them. You also analyse the market and identify the target customer segment of your product. The following is brief tasks that any entrepreneur starts the journey of developing customers:
Segment customers: Make sure that you know your customer segment and how to reach them. This knowledge will help you to gain customers. You need to describe your target customers using quantitative methods, such as knowing how many there are, as well as qualitative approaches, such as knowing their values, attitudes, behaviours, pains, gains and requirements.
Focus on winning customers: In searching for customers, you need to focus on achieving this goal and not on thinking about profits, actions or survival.
Prepare a list of customers: You can search for customers through your networks and the internet and prepare a list of potential customers with their contact information. This initial list of customers enables you to meet them to test your product and define the marketing mix. These evangelists are essential for the new business to promote and test its product.
Interview customers: You can then contact those potential customers and introduce them to your product. Always listen to their comments and feedback on your product and offers, as this will provide you with invaluable ideas for improvement.
Make your solution available: Your product must provide a solution to a pressing problem that many customers face. Therefore, you should make your product available for viewing and testing by customers and prepare a list of its value propositions. This will enable you to meet your customers, collect their feedback on your product and improve your offering.
Take advantage of the communication technology
Internet communication technology offers many tools for communicating with individuals and organizations; therefore, you should aim to acquire the best of these tools in searching and winning customers for your business. The following is a brief description of the vital internet methods/means of communication:
Social media: You can use social media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, to search for customers. You may ask your followers to display your product on their sites or request a referral to their networks. You can also search for ‘hashtags’ which deal with topics related to your business and take part in any discussions. You can also contact any hashtag participants who have a potentially relevant interest in your firm and send them your product.
Mail and Website: You can use email to communicate and advertise your business with networks and potential customers. Design and run a website for your business by using WordPress or GoDaddy. Also, link your website with the major search engines, e.g. Google or Yahoo, and frequently update it.
Blog: You can create and publish regular blogs about your business. Also, you can republish your blogs on popular websites which have a record of trafficking, e.g. Reddit, Hackernew or Inbound. You may also ask them to write blogs on your behalf and introduce you to their networks. Share your comments on blogs relevant to your business and contact participants.
Search engine ‘Google’: Have an account in G-Suite. Google allows spreading of your website and posts on internet search platforms. You can improve the searching power of your website by following the rules of SEO. YouTube is an essential tool for video advertising and networking. Use Google Analytics to analyse your website. You can advertise your business via AdWords on Google, which allows you to set advertising conditions, i.e. Target market or audiences.
Popular websites: Connect and link to popular websites such as Quora, Slant or Reddit. These websites help you to find customers.
Newsletter: Create and publish a newsletter about your business. You can do this by using Apps such as Revue, MailChimp or SendGrid.
Local community networks: Participate in local online community networks which can help promote your business and connect with customers. You can use community networks such as Meetup.com, or Nextdoor.
Crowdfunding websites: Search for the crowdfunding websites, such as Kickstarter, Crowdcube or Indiegogo and collect useful information. These websites provide valuable information about successful businesses and funders. Connect with related businesses and funders, which can bring potential customers to your business. You may choose to put your business on these websites for funding and testing. By doing this, you may connect with new customers to interact with your business.
Useful Apps: Take advantage of the useful online apps. Google Suite- for emails, searching, advertising or documents. Google Analytics- for web site performance analysis. ClickFunnels and Datanyze- for client searching. Spyfu and Moz- for keyword searching. Panda Doc- for preparing legal and commercial documents. Zoom- for video calls. Slack- for team and project management. Canva- for design. Promo and Animoto- for creating videos. 99designs- for product design and logos. Promo and Animoto- for making videos. Lumen 5- for converting blog text into a video. Dropbox- for saving and sending documents. Sumo- for converting a visitor of a website into a lead. Stripe and PayPal- for online payments. Intercom and Olark- for chatting with clients via a website. Hoot suite and post planner- for scheduling posts on social media. Email hunter- for searching email addresses. MailChimp- for email listing. Fiverr and Upwork- for searching for freelancers and buying services as cheap as below $5.
Advertise your business
Advertising can help a business to reach out to customers and sell products. Advertising as part of the promotional strategy that a firm uses to inform and persuade customers about its offering in the market. A firm advertises its products offline, i.e. Newspaper, TV or radio, and online, i.e. Social media, AdWords Google or website. The following is a brief description of the advertising methods:
Advertising: Advertise your business through social media, Google, your website, or popular websites.
Exhibitions and conferences: Participate in exhibitions and conferences related to your business.
Printing brochures: Prepare a brochure about your business and place copies in public places or distribute them.
Free offers: Give free offers to the public to make contact with potential customers and promote your business.
Testimonials: Get the best of customer testimonials and display them on your website or advertising literature.
Keep your eye on competitors and partners
Keeping your eye on competitors may result in new ideas of better conducting the business and serving the target customers. Competitors are usually using unique values and differentiated tactics to win customers. Another important subject is to partner with a qualified partner who can add value and take your business to the next level.
Get out of the office
As Steve Blanc- the entrepreneurship scholar- says, get out of the office. Meet customers, investors or suppliers and listen to their advice. By doing this, you can fine-tune your offering and connect with customers and other stakeholders.
This article is extracted from my new book- Mastering Enterprise Skills for Potential Entrepreneurs, which can be found on www.amazon.co.uk. If you want to receive more information about the book and our activities, you can register in our newsletter by using this link.
Prepared by: Munther Al Dawood
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