A business of any kind will need to work continuously to build their customer base, looking for new clients that will book services and buy products.
This can be tricky if you do not have a big advertising budget or a dedicated marketing team working towards this goal. However, there are some simple steps that you can take in order to maximise your potential for winning over a new audience, many of which are free to do and can be repeated as many times as you wish whenever you feel it’s time to look for the next round of clients.
Knowing what to advertise and when can be a hit or miss situation. For example, you do not want to pay for posters to be printed and then displayed, only to realise that you have put them up too late and missed an opportunity for business. Look at which posts have engaged people the most, such as sales and events. If you have generated many likes and enquiries from a particular post, you should try to target that audience with a tempting offer, perhaps by announcing that you have another new sale that starts soon.
Your social media should tell you a lot about what enquiries people have and when they have them. A holiday park may discover that the previous year they began to receive enquiries on Facebook in the January about making bookings for that summer season. This will likely follow the same pattern each year, so having price lists, booking forms and outdoor advertising arranged before this time will help you to maximise your engagement and alert customers that you are ready to take their business. A restaurant who wants to promote a Christmas party event may notice on their social media that they had many enquiries that were too late to book in. So the following year, advertise your event outside the venue, well in advance with a poster in a snap poster frame to ensure that the word is out early, as well as on social media. You may even have time to plan in a second or third event if the response is overwhelming.
Understanding how you are reaching your current customers can help you to engage new ones. Ask people visiting your shop to complete a quick questionnaire or simply ask them when they pay, how did you hear about us? If you find that it was via a local advertisement in the newspaper, or from seeing a poster that you have put up in town, you can repeat the process in the knowledge that more and more customers may visit you after seeing it.
If the customer replies that they came across you by chance, enquire as to how you may have caught their attention if you had the opportunity again. They may alert you to notice boards that you didn't know existed, or to local brochures that are delivered into homes where you could place an advertisement.
If you already know the audience that you need to target, such as by age, sex or postcode, make sure that you start to plan your marketing around capturing those people. The design of your brochure may change depending on who it is aimed at, as well as how you distribute it.
If you are focusing on an older age group, a brochure through the post might be more effective than a social media campaign. A poster displayed close to and inside a community centre may be just the trick to grab that target audience's attention.
If you are a local business that is trying to gain more customers than those who happen to walk by, hold an event and tell the newspaper who covers your town. Many local newspapers like to include stories from unique and non-franchised companies, so they are likely to pop down, take a photo and give you a small write-up for free.
Try to think of something special that you can invite them to, such as a grand re-opening, an Easter egg hunt in-store, a charity event that you are holding or a shout-out for a member of staff who has achieved something very special either at work or in their own time. If they can be interviewed on the premises, you will more than likely receive a few name drops and a photo of the staff member in their uniform with a backdrop of the store.
Browse our website for some great products that can help you to advertise your business.