Loyal customers is the difference between having a great business idea and having a great business. Starting out businesses need to concentrate on landing that first customer, and then keeping him or her. Here’s how to do it.
Know the market
Before expanding and strengthening market reach, business owners need to start from the very basic: what do you want for customers, and where should you start attracting them?
Having a clear idea about the consumers that business owners seek will help them direct and streamline their business goals, product(s), and/or service(s) in fulfilling their target market’s needs and ensuring their satisfaction. All these will help not only in landing their first customer but landing the right first customer.
By now, business owners must already have a clear and solid idea about the kind of product(s) and/or service(s) that they are ready to offer and put out there. Knowing their product(s)/service(s) will help business owners in narrowing down their focus on their ideal customer.
It is important for new business owners to avoid targeting very broad market demographics. Only a few product(s)/service(s) appeal to a general group of people, so businesses should make sure that they’re clear with their target market and how they plan to engage them.
The key is to conduct a thorough market study and a well-informed needs analysis. The market study will yield the specific characteristics of their target market/demographic. These characteristics will inform the needs analysis to make sure that they provide the right product(s)/service(s) to the right customer(s).
Word of mouth
Now armed with the data and information from both the market study and needs analysis, business owners should now start working on attracting their first customer. Business owners may begin by employing one of the oldest—yet still most effective—strategies in conducting business: word of mouth.
Start with the immediate surroundings and those close to home. Share how great the product/service is with people, and engage and encourage them to try it out. Some if not all of this group of people will tell their family and friends about the business’ product/service.
Keep in mind that a thorough understanding of the product/service and what sets it apart from other brands will help business owners spotlight on its strengths and convince prospective customers why it is logical to try it out.
The trick is to talk—and talk clearly and simply. Supply prospective customers the information they need and want about the product/service, but be careful never to overwhelm nor underwhelm them.
The results of the market and needs analyses will help business owners in trimming down and then selecting the right information about their product/service to share with the potential first customer. The information should be attractive to and inspire engagement in the first customer so that they will sample and then purchase the business’ product(s) and service(s).
Aside from the traditional word of mouth, business owners may also use the data and information they have gathered from both the market and needs analyses in establishing a strong and engaging social media presence.
Remember that the goal in building a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and/or LinkedIn account, among others, is to reach the target market and make them purchase the product(s)/service(s). Business owners must have engaging content in order for this to happen.
A specific content is considered engaging and effective when it employs both great visuals and informative, relevant text. It doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn’t be complicated.
The last thing business owners want is confused customers who do not know what to do with the online content that the business has shared. Make sure that the content is simple but sharp. An effective content inspires action from customers, which means that customers should right away want to purchase/avail the business product(s)/service(s) after seeing the posts on the business’ social media platforms. Keep in mind that effective marketing sells; good sales mean good profit.
"Free" and freebies
Freebies are a means to engage your customers to try out the business’ offerings and then convincing them that the product/service is indeed great, leading to their purchase of said product and/or service.
When businesses give away some of their product(s)/service(s), they create an interest in the brand and in the business. Doing so also allows owners to prove the value of their product(s)/service(s) by convincing the audience that it does really work, and creating the need to purchase more of it. Freebies are never an end in themselves.
Highlight the positive
When reaching out to prospective customers, whether by word of mouth or online or both, business owners could face a variety of questions that may not have great answers, such as “How long have you been doing this?” “How many customers do you have?”
Business owners should always try to answer them truthfully while also highlighting the positive.
Partnerships and community
It is not uncommon for fledgling businesses to have zero brand credibility especially since they’re just starting out.
However, this doesn’t mean that owners will not be able to control this particular situation. They can always tap and build a partnership with an established company, personality, or a trusted community to target and gain the potential customers’ trust.
PR and marketing
Partnerships are also a way of implementing marketing schemes and ante-ing up the public relations strategies of the business team. When business owners choose to partner with a trusted personality or a celebrity, or with an established company or community to endorse their product(s)/service(s), they automatically engage in marketing the brand and business.
It cannot be argued that good public relations and marketing are necessary for reaching customers and keeping them. PR and marketing are what creates interest in customers about the business’ offerings and inspiring them to purchase or avail the product(s)/service(s).
Moreover, it cannot be emphasised enough that even the simplest marketing strategy is always better than a nonexistent one. Learn more about common marketing mistakes and how to avoid them.
Engage and follow-up
Business owners need to always make sure that they successfully complete the loop. This means that aside from initially attracting the first customer and the succeeding ones business owners should also see to it that customers are constantly engaged and satisfied while growing and strengthening their market reach.
Taking into account all these considerations will help business owners to not only attract and engage their very first customer, but also to ensure that they attract their very first right customer.. It is only by keeping customers satisfied can businesses be able to proceed in growing their market base and expanding and strengthening their business.