Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cultivating New Customers

Search engines, banner ads, text links and classified ads are all ways to attract clients and build a customer base. It should also be noted that some of the old traditional methods like word-of-mouth referrals still work just as well online. In fact, word of mouth advertising brings me a lot of new business every month. In addition to the aforementioned techniques, here are some tips to help you grab as many customers as you can while you’re setting up your business and getting your online marketing programs in place.

Know Your Market

Whatever your line of business, you’ve got to know your market. You have to know who your clients are, what they want and what makes them buy. Do the market research, check out your competitors, create a formal marketing plan and be sure to take the effort to put yourself in the shoes of your buyers. Otherwise you won’t get any! Bring Out Your Benefits You might think you know what your product’s sales points are. You might even be very proud of them. But, the fact is, your buyers don’t care about all the wonderful gizmos you’ve packed into your product. They just want you to answer one question: what’s it going to do for me?

That’s what all your marketing has to be about: explaining to your buyers how you’re going to improve their life.

Update Your Site Frequently

It can take a lot of effort and time to create a website that works. But you can’t stop there. You’re going to have to keep updating it, checking it and making sure all the links and addresses work. That’s the first place to look when you notice your sales starting to drop, and it’s crucial to keep them coming in.

Be Alert for New Marketing Opportunities

You must always be alert for opportunities to make new business contacts and not allow yourself to be caught off guard when opportunities arise. It doesn’t matter if you’re out shopping or at a Chamber of Commerce meeting; make sure that you have professional business cards, brochures, etc. on hand and pass them out.

Don’t Keep Your Business a Secret

Tell everyone about your business and your product. You might even consider sending out a mass mailing to everyone you know, telling them what you’re doing. Chances are, someone knows someone who wants what you’ve got, and friendly referrals usually bring the best business!

Find Repeat Customers

When it comes to building customers, there are clients who buy once, and clients who buy lots of times. It’s the latter that you want to pack into your customer list; they’re worth their weight in gold. Big companies are good places to prospect for repeat business (they have big demands and budgets) but always treat your repeat customers well. That might mean giving occasional discounts and freebies, but the extra business and customer loyalty you gain will make up for it.

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