Don’t wait for customers to come to you – go out and get them!
Over the last few months we’ve been working with a number of clients who have been looking for help to bring their products to market. Finding cost effective solutions to help
small businesses grow can be a big challenge and is one that is often overlooked. Planning and testing how you will get customers is potentially more important than creating
the product or service in the first place. Unfortunately, many small businesses adopt the ‘if I build it, they will come’ approach, only to find that they have to work much harder
to attract customers than they had anticipated.
Failure to attract customers is one of the main reasons start-ups and small businesses fail. Often business owners are skilled at creating their product or service, but haven’t got the
skills or the time to invest in attracting more customers. And it isn’t hard to see why entrepreneurs struggle to succeed in this increasingly complicated multi-channel world. We have
identified at least twenty main stream marketing channels, each of which requires a different set of skills and expertise. A lot of small businesses rely on one channel for 80% or more
of their customer acquisition, they find a channel which works and just stick with it. This is fine until something changes and your leads dry up, or the cost of acquisition increases.
We advise our clients to adopt a multi-channel approach and try to balance their activity across a number of different routes to market. Here are some of the most commonly
used acquisition channels which offer high volumes of new customers, at a relatively low cost:
Search engine advertising (Google AdWords)
Google AdWords can be a useful tool not only in acquiring new customers but also to ascertain how much interest there is in your product or service. Google AdWords isn’t as
complicated as you might think. Google have easy to use tools which allow you to create a series of ads to run against specific search terms entered into Google. You have
complete control over how much you spend each day and you only pay when someone actually clicks on your ad. Creating a specific landing page on your website will help to
improve your data capture and conversion rates.
Social media and display ads
It is becoming increasingly difficult to get unpaid coverage on social media. Facebook can provide a cheap source of leads, but it has recently announced plans to further prioritise
posts from friends over businesses. However, if you have a very specific target market social media can provide you with a very effective platform for generating interest in your brand.
Display ads enable you to target the audience very precisely using Facebook’s demographic and interest data making it a great way to raise awareness with potential customers.
Sector specific blogs
If your business is about something people are passionate about (sport, wellness, photography etc.) then there will likely be lots of niche blogs with loyal readers. Bloggers are always
looking at ways to monetise their blogs and their sites provide a good opportunity to either write a guest blog, submit paid advertorial or buy some display adverts.
Public relations can seem daunting to the inexperienced. The good news is that you don’t need to hire a PR Agency to get publicity. If you have an interesting story (ideally with a human
element) then you can reach out to local journalists and they may write something about you. Unconventional PR requires some very clever thinking. Leo Vegas got some great coverage
when it ran a competition for a customer to win the first i-Phone 6 available for purchase in the UK. It just made sure it had someone first in the queue.
Positioning your company as a thought leader can be a very effective way of capturing potential customers. Content marketing is about producing and sharing informative and useful
information that will drive traffic and potential customers to your site. The favoured approach is to write reports on your area of expertise and share them in return for an email address.
You can then provide further content through ongoing email campaigns or newsletters, which keeps your business front of mind for when someone is ready to purchase.
Search Engine Optimisation
Getting ranked at the top of page one on google is the holy grail of online marketing. In theory, by optimising your website for your important keywords you’ll acquire warm leads to your
website "for free". However, it takes a lot of time and effort to optimise your website and cultivate links to your pages. SEO is likely to be an ongoing and long-term marketing effort
(unless you have very niche keywords) – but it can reap significant rewards, with a recent study revealing a more than 70 per cent of searchers click on first page organic results (ie not an ad).
Be great to your customers and great things happen.
Identifying your most effective marketing channels will be a process of trial and error. Start with small trials first, then increase your activity when you are confident something will work.
Always start by thinking about your customer and when they’ll need your product or service, followed by where they’re likely to search for or stumble across you, that should give you an
order of priority for your testing strategies.
At Cadence Consulting we utilise a three step process to help our clients identify the most effective channels to help them generate more demand for their products or services.
If you'd like to find out how we can help you attract and win more new customers please contact us.