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. You also analyse the market and identify the target customer segment of your product. The following are the proposed tasks to develop 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 only focus on achieving this goal and not on distracting yourself with thinking about profits, actions or survival.
Prepare a list of customers: You can search for customers throughout your networks and online 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 marketing mix. These evangelists are essential for the new business to test and identify its product offering.
Interview customers: You can then contact those potential customers and introduce them to your product. You always listen to their comments on your offer, as this will provide you with invaluable ideas for improvement.
Make your solution available: Your product must provide an acceptable solution to the problem that customers face. Therefore, you should make your product available for viewing and testing by customers, and this can be achieved through arranging a brochure, landing sheet or a link, describing your product. These visual tools will enable you to meet your customers, collect their feedback on your product and improve your offering.
Take advantage of the communication technology
Online communication, e.g. social media and email, offers several tools for communicating with individuals and organizations; therefore, you should aim to get the best of these tools in searching and winning customers for your business. The following is a brief description of some internet means of communication:
Social media: You can use social media tools, such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, to search for customers. You can post about your product and collect feedback, and 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. In social media, it is easy to communicate your offer with particular groups and collect their feedback.
Mail and Website: You can use email to communicate and advertise your business with networks and potential customers. You can also 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. You can also share your comments on blogs relevant to your business and contact participants. A blog is a great tool to communicate your offer, connect with people and get feedback.
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 are informative and 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. This tool is useful to get you connected with people, update them on your offer and ask them for feedback.
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. These networks are usually useful to get sincere feedback on your offer and helpful.
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 following online apps:
- Google Suite for emails, searching, advertising or documents, and Google Analytics for analysing website performance.
- ClickFunnels and Datanyze for client searching, and Spyfu and Moz for keyword searching.
- Panda Doc for preparing legal and commercial documents.
- Zoom for video calls, Slack for team and project management and Canva for design.
- Promo and Animoto for creating videos, 99designs for product design and logos, and Promo and Animoto for making videos.
- Lumen 5 for converting blog text into a video, Dropbox for saving and sending documents, and 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, and Hoot suite and post planner for scheduling posts on social media.
- Email hunter for searching email addresses, MailChimp for email listing, and 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 in The Book. 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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