You’re always going to need more customers. While it’s important to recognize that one of the largest contributors to a company’s success is it’s long term customers, a steady influx of new purchases is just as crucial to its growth. You should always be trying to connect with new customers-but how? I’ve put together my top ten strategies to help you increase your local customer base, raise your sales, and improve awareness of your brand.
Strategy #1: Facebook Ads
Running Facebook Ads is a great way to start bringing in more potential customers to your business. Simply because:
- Facebook Ads are highly targeted, allowing you to get them in front of your ideal customer.
- Facebook has an incredible reach, meaning more people will be exposed to your ads.
- People are always on some social media platform, especially when they’re bored, which makes them more likely to see your business’s ads and what your business has to offer.
- You’re able to retarget customers who have already checked out your businesses ads or have engaged with your local business on social media. This increases brand awareness and makes for better client connections.
- Compared to other ad platforms, Facebook relatively the least expensive. Once your business sees a return on Facebook ads, the budget can be easily scaled as necessary.
How to Target Facebook Ads
When you’re creating your new Facebook Ads, you want to make sure you’re targeting exactly the right customers to make the most of every advertising dollar spent. Make sure that you:
- Clearly define your target audience. What type of people will buy your products?
- Remember to go local. Target customers near your business.
- Know what other things your customers might be interested in.
- Take advantage of retargeting to build a warmer audience. This will help with conversion rates and will result in cheaper “leads” (customers).
Why Use Ads, not Organic Posts?
Facebook’s organic reach now reaches very few people, especially for business accounts. Facebook Ads, on the other hand, will appear in front of a larger audience. Using Facebook Ads will also get your information in front of people who haven’t been exposed to your local business, which can help expand your reach.
A Great Facebook Ad Example
Note Sephora’s great ad construction: they put together a bright, colorful image with a simple, enticing message that makes customers want to learn more about their products.
Strategy #2: Google Ads
Google Ads are more expensive than Facebook Ads, but are well worth the investment. In many cases, Google Ads result in higher levels of conversions than Facebook Ads because they reach buyers who are further along in the buying process: those who are already searching key information about your products or your industry. Google Ads have their own set of advantages.
- Google Ads offers faster results than organic SEO. You’ll increase brand awareness from the early days of your ads, rather than having to wait patiently to build your content library.
- Using Google Ads can actually help increase your organic search engine ranking.
- You can turn your campaign on or off or adjust it at any time, allowing you to easily make changes that will help influence your buyers.
- Google Ads offers the ability to accurately and regularly evaluate your performance, adapting your ads so that they’ll better influence your buyers.
- Your competitors are using Google Ads, and you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity.
How to Set Up Your Google Ad
It’s time to create a Google Ad, and you want yours to stand out. Follow these easy steps to create your Google Ad.
- Choose the type of campaign you want to run. Do you want to create a video ad? An ad that only shows up when people are on their mobile devices? Make sure you’re able to clearly define your parameters before you create your ad.
- Name your ad. If this is your first Google Ad, create a naming system that will help you keep up with your ads down the road. This will make it easier to identify and keep up with your ads.
- Designate a geographic area, if relevant. Some small businesses may ship their products all over the world, while smaller businesses may choose to target a local audience.
- Create a stunning headline that uses keywords in your industry. Your headline will be the first thing many potential customers read, so make sure it’s a good one!
- Write the rest of your ad. Keep it simple. You want to pull in customers at a glance.
- Don’t forget to change the display URL to the one you want customers to remember if they come back to the site later.
A Great Google Ads Example:
Life-Changing Toronto Boudoir Photography Sessions
It’s not just a boudoir photography session. It’s a session that will change your life. Feel beautiful. Build your self-esteem. Get great pictures you’ll remember for a lifetime.
Strategy #3: Social Media Accounts
When it comes to advertising, you can’t beat free—and your social media accounts allow you to get the word out about your business for free. Sure, you’ll still spend time and money crafting those perfect posts, but you won’t have to pay to post them, either! Social media marketing is a critical part of building your online presence in today’s digital society.
Choosing Your Social Media Accounts
Choose your platforms carefully. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Business, Pinterest, Forums: there are many options, and your single business probably can’t keep up with them all, especially if you’re a small business. Follow some of these tips to choose the social media platform that’s right for you.
- Most online users are still on Facebook: it remains the widest-reaching platform.
- If you’re looking to connect with a younger audience, they’re more likely to hit Instagram than other accounts.
- Base your social media accounts on the type of content you’re producing. Instagram, for example, is perfect for pictures, while Pinterest is a great way to draw potential customers to your blog or other pages.
- Consider where your users can be found. If you’re speaking to a corporate office, for example, Google Business may be more effective than Facebook. If you’re marketing to moms, Facebook may be more popular.
Make Sure You Have a Posting Schedule
When you create a social media account, you’re creating an obligation to your followers. They want to know that you’re going to post content on a regular basis—hopefully content that is useful and interesting to them. As you create your social media accounts, design a posting schedule. Ask:
- How often should you post? In general, you shouldn’t post more than a couple of times a day on even the most popular social media accounts. You don’t want to flood your customers’ feeds.
- What time is the most effective to post? Do some testing to see what posting times are most likely to attract website visitors, clicks, and more.
- What type of posts are most likely to interest your users?
You should also take care to use your social media accounts to interact with your users. Ask questions and genuinely listen to their answers. Address their questions and concerns. Provide customer service, if necessary, through your social media accounts. You’ll be surprised by how effective this can be.
Strategy #4: Connect with Social Influencers
Social influencers will help spread the word about your brand and ensure that more people know about you. Often, they have their own following who will check out your products or your services based solely on that recommendation.
Obtaining a Social Influencer
Do you need a social influencer for your business? There are several key ways to connect.
- Build connections. When you meet new people, keep track of how you know them. Networking is critical.
- Keep mentioning influencers who have recommended your brand. This helps tie you back to them more firmly.
- Contact influencers through direct message and make your brand stand out.
- Offer incentive. Many social influencers are looking for payment, whether in the form of financial compensation or simply in the form of products.
Strategy #5: Build Your Reviews
Social proof is powerful. Having reviews with social proof in Google My Business and other social media platforms reassures potential customers that your business is trustworthy.
How to Get Reviews
Need reviews, but don’t know how to get them? Try some of these ideas.
- Encourage satisfied clients to leave reviews. Customers who genuinely love your business will be glad to offer help.
- Make it easy for customers to leave reviews. Link to your review pages from your website or otherwise take steps to make it easy for your customers.
- Offer incentives for customers who leave reviews, especially as you’re building your online presence. 5-10% off, a coupon for their next visit, and other incentives can all be enough to convince customers to leave those vital reviews.
- Display reviews on your website for increased visibility.
Dealing with Bad Reviews
You can’t perfectly satisfy every customer, and trying will burn you out quickly. You can, however, deal with dissatisfied customers in a way that won’t turn away future customers. Try this:
- Answer the review. Ask about the problem and gather more information, rather than just accepting a low star review and a, “This business sucks!”
- Take effort to make the situation right, whether that means offering advice about a faulty product or providing a discount for next time.
- Leave bad reviews in place, rather than taking them down. Let potential customers see your excellent customer instead of attempting to create the illusion that your local business is perfect.
Strategy #6: Check Your Online Listings
Make sure that all of your online listings are set up correctly. You’d be surprised by how many people view your business from that location—and by how much inaccurate information can cost your business over time. Fill out as much information on these locations as you can. Update your image. Make sure your site URL is accurate. The more information you provide on your business listings, the easier it is for a customer checking out those listings to choose you! Make sure that you have a presence on:
- Google My Business
- Any other listings for your business.
Strategy #7: Build Your Email List
Your email list is made up of people who have expressed an interest in your business in the past. It’s an excellent way to connect with current and potential customers and share vital information with them, including sales, new items or services, and key promotions. You can also highlight your products and continue to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Build your email list through Facebook Ads, Google Ads, business listings, your website, and more.
Tips for Creating Great Emails
Having an email list is great, but not if you don’t use it to the best of your ability! Try some of these tips for making the most of your emails.
- Email regularly: once a week if you have great content, once every other week if your content is lacking.
- Make sure that your emails are genuinely beneficial to your readers. One “bad” email can be enough to prevent future ones from getting opened.
- Make your subject line stands out. You want a subject line that is honest, compelling, and urges your readers to open your emails. Make sure that it isn’t at all misleading: if you lie to your readers, they won’t appreciate the content you’re offering.
Excellent Email Subject Line Examples
Want to create a stunning email subject line? Try some of these great examples:
5 Reasons You Should Schedule Your Next Event With [Business] Today
Our Hottest Sale of the Season: Deals You Can’t Resist!
Strategy #8: Write Quality Blog Posts
Ultimately, content is still king—and writing blog posts is one of the most effective ways to establish yourself as an authority in your field. Your blog has a number of key advantages.
- It increases search engine optimization and allows you to rank for a higher number of terms.
- Your blog will often allow you to move customers through the sales funnel, often without ever actually speaking to a customer.
- Your blog will help establish you as an authority in your field.
- Your blog can help build relationships with potential customers long before they’re ready to make a buying decision.
Key Blogging Tips
Are you ready to create your blog? Make sure you follow these steps to get started.
- Create a posting schedule. Like your social media followers, your blog readers want to know when you’re going to post your next piece. Do you have enough content for weekly posts? Monthly ones? Carefully cultivate your schedule and stick with it.
- Evaluate the type of content you most need. You want blogging content that helps move customers all the way through the sales funnel.
- Experiment with blog length to learn what your customers are most likely to respond to.
- When you use images in your blogs, try to avoid stock photography. Stock photos lack the personal touch you want for your blog.
Strategy #9: Market to Local Businesses and Employees
As a local business, you want to connect with other local businesses and help build each other up. How can you connect with other local businesses? You might try:
- Offering complimentary deals: chocolate and flowers, anyone?
- Providing deals and discounts to each other’s employees.
- Sharing space at local events.
- Promoting businesses that are related to yours, but don’t necessarily overlap with the type of business you provide.
Combining your marketing efforts with another local business can help save you both money and expand your advertising list almost effortlessly. By connecting with other local businesses, you can increase your presence and help bring their customers to you as well as sharing that positive association their customers have with their company.
Strategy #10: Ask Your Current Customers for Referrals
Talk directly with your current customers and let them know that you’d welcome the business. “Hey, Jan! As you know, we’re a small business, and we rely on customers like you to stay open. Do you know anyone else who could use our services? We’d love it if you could bring in two of your friends or family members to check out [x] promotion that we’re offering next week.” Struggling to ask your customers for referrals? Try some of these tricks.
- Offer business cards or other promotional items that are easy to pass out and share.
- Provide incentive for customers who refer new members or customers.
- Hold events or promotions designed specifically for new customers to learn more about your business. It’s the perfect time for current members to bring in friends and family!
Building your business is an ongoing process. There are always great ways to bring in new business, but these ten are some of the most effective strategies you can use to bring in new local customers, connect with them, and show them just what your business has to offer.