Among the many difficulties facing new and start up businesses arguably the most important is securing those vital first customers. Get it right and you’ll ease financial strain, gain confidence and start to build a reputation. Get it wrong and you’re left with dreaded uncertainty.
So how do small businesses and start ups, in particular, go about finding new customers? The same way that all businesses do, advertisement and marketing. And whilst you may not have the budget or the experience of the big corporations, the really important principles are the same and just need to be applied relative to your budget.
Understand Your Business
Before starting a business its common practice to produce a business plan which outlines which products and services are on offer and how much they’ll cost amongst other information. Things change, of course, but hopefully you should know what product or service you want to promote and what makes it better than the competition whether its price, quality or quantity, for example. If you don’t you need to start here because this is the foundation of your future marketing efforts.
Understand Your Target Audience
To most effectively market your products you need to have some understanding as to who your typical customer is. This is important because it allows you to construct a marketing campaign designed to appeal to the specific groups of people who are most likely to purchase your product or service. This not only maximises your chances of generating a sale but it is also ensures your marketing budget is used efficiently. This is in direct opposition to a ‘blanket’ campaign which could result in you trying to sell beard wax to men and women equally, for example.
In the early days of business ownership money is tight and it often feels better, for lack of a better word, to invest your limited resources into something immediate and tangible as opposed to a seemingly invisible marketing campaign. However, you can’t rely on customers to simply find you; you have to go to them, and the most effective way to do this is through advertising/marketing. Local leaflet campaigns, online forums and newspaper adverts are budget friendly starting points that should yield some good success.
The great thing is that every sale you manage to secure brings the potential for repeat custom and referral business via word of mouth. This is why investment in marketing is so important.
A website is a real asset to almost all businesses, regardless of size. It can help secure new customers, provide support and therefore build trust with existing customers and help increase credibility and reputation.
A business website doesn’t need to be expensive or overly complicated, a simple clean design clearly promoting your products or services coupled with your location and contact details is a great starting point and is not difficult to achieve. For example, at webhostGB.com we offer all of our web hosting customers free access to RV Sitebuilder a what you see is what you get, drag and drop website building tool. This means website creation is well within the realms of even the most inexperienced developer.
Marketing is unquestionably important and whilst certain methods are famously expensive depending upon the industry, CPC advertising, for instance, there are cost effective solutions which you can scale according to the state of your business.