As a small business owner, you’ve probably read a lot about how to market your business and gain new customers. You know that you should have a super competitive product, active social media accounts, and a well-designed website.
But once you’ve checked all the regular boxes, how do you continue to grow your customer base? There comes a time when every entrepreneur has to start thinking outside the box and find some creative ways to get more customers.
We’ve got some unique and awesome ideas to get you started, so settle in.
Be Where Customers Need You
When it comes to distribution, you’re probably selling your product in the usual places. You and your competitors are fighting for shelf space and attention, but that’s where your target consumers are.
Is there somewhere else you could be? There are plenty of places that don’t immediately come to mind, but it makes sense to put your product there.
For example, the makers of Sinus Plumber (a nasal spray) could have gone into grocery and drug stores, spent lots on marketing, and become white noise among the competition. Instead, they put themselves in their customers’ shoes and imagined where else their product might be needed. They ended up targeting hardware and automotive stores, where there’s a need for a nasal spray, but far less competition.
It doesn’t matter if your budget is itty bitty or huge, guerilla marketing is always a good idea to spread the word about your business. By getting a little creative, you can find opportunities that set you apart from the competition and – most importantly – keep you top of mind for potential customers.
Take a look at Cheek’d. Founder and CEO Lori Cheek makes guerilla marketing a way of life. She slips business cards into random strangers’ bags, hoods, and pockets, plasters them on subway cars, movie posters, street art, and public bathroom stalls, and chalks her URL on sidewalks.
Is there a big movie premier that’s likely to draw your target audience? Try writing your company name on the sidewalk outside the theater. Want key influencers to talk about your business? Try sending a unique and buzz worthy direct mailing.
Make Customers Feel Special
Your current customers are the key to scoring new customers. Many of your best customers will learn about your business through referrals from their friends, and they’ll – in turn – refer you to their friends.
The important thing is to give customers something worth talking about and sharing. That’s where you need to really wow them. Boutique photography business owner Sarah Petty treats every order like a care package for a close friend. She includes goodie bags and other surprises along with the prints that were ordered.
What gets customers talking is being beyond satisfied. When you set high expectations, and then exceed them, that’s impressive.
Support a Cause
A simple way to add to your brand is to get behind a charitable cause or causes. Customers appreciate charitable companies because it adds authenticity to your brand. Plus, consumers love to feel like their dollar is going farther than your back pocket.
For example, think of a company like TOMS that has woven a particular cause into the fabric of their business model. TOMS aren’t the most fashionable shoes in the world, but business exploded because people want to feel like their making a difference with their purchase.
As a brand, you want to stand for something more than casual shoes in the minds of your customers. Getting behind a cause can help you do that.
Cut Down on Choices
It’s counterintuitive, but sometimes too many choices can actually be pretty limiting. If you’re offering 7 different packages, customers might be getting caught up in analysis paralysis. When that prevents them from ever making a purchase, it’s a big problem.
For example, one time I found a coffee mug on Amazon that I liked. But it came in fourteen colors, and I just couldn’t narrow it down. The moral of the story is that I don’t own that mug – I never bought it – and the seller lost out on a potential sale.
Your business and your customers might need ten different options, or they might be better served by two or three. Experiment with offering fewer choices and you might be surprised to see conversions and sales increase.
Running seasonal promotions and campaigns is a great way to shake up your marketing efforts and reach a new audience of potential customers. With the changing seasons and holidays, your customers have different needs throughout the year.
Think about it – most people aren’t buying snow brushes in July, but December spells a new challenge for consumers and a new market for your automotive store. It doesn’t make sense to run sales or ads for snow brushes during the summer, but in the winter, they can bring loads of people into your shop.
Bring On The New Customers
It’s easy enough to check all the boxes on your standard marketing to-do list. But getting a little creative from time to time can bring in scores of new customers and be well worth the effort. Now’s the time to get outside the box and really let your entrepreneurial side shine.
What creative strategies have you used to get more customers?