Whether you’re running a Fortune 500 company or managing a one-person startup, there is always the driving goal of finding new customers. Long-term success requires continuously obtaining and retaining customers to keep revenue on an upward trajectory. While the global enterprise may have a bigger marketing budget than the solo entrepreneur, some of the most successful strategies for gaining customers are the same. The following are 12 customer-winning strategies for businesses of all sizes.
1. Build a Rock Solid Brand
Successful marketers will tell you that your business is only as strong as your brand. To build that strength, the voice and message must be clear, consistent, and compelling. Everything from logos, brand colors and images to voice and call-to-actions must work together to create a clear and understandable brand image. Newsletters, direct mail, web pages, and social media channels should all help drive a single message that resonates with potential, current and former clients.
2. Tell an Ongoing Story
While it’s important to have a compelling “about us” section on your website, the story of your business should be ongoing. Transparency and openness give customers confidence in making a purchase, and anecdotes and stories shared can provide that needed connection that builds brand loyalty and generates referrals. A consistently published blog or newsletter are great forums for this type of marketing content, as are social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
3. Reconsider Print
Many businesses have ditched their print collateral to go exclusively digital. Yet, there is something about reading a printed brochure, data sheet or flyer that strengthens credibility, and with the benefits of variable data printing, they can even be personalized for each lead or customer. Print marketing pieces, when used in conjunction with digital marketing efforts can be particularly effective. Leverage the power of multi-channel marketing by creating sign-up forms to receive printed pieces and adding URLs to print pieces.
4. Write Bylined Articles
There are countless media outlets that accept and publish bylined articles from experts in their industries. Writing articles for outside publications is one of the most effective tools for establishing credibility with a specific audience and creating attention for your business. Consider what publications you and your customers read. Call or email editors to obtain details on potential writing opportunities and article specifications, such as word count, style, and format.
5. Use Every Door Direct Mail
Want to reach out to a new target audience? Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM®) is a cost-effective way to spread the word about your business. Consider creating a postcard mailer, newsletter or other printed piece that is distributed to a specific neighborhood or geographic area. By evaluating demographics by zip code, you can determine which areas have the highest number of customers who would be interested in your message.
6. Create a Content Calendar
It’s likely you’re creating marketing-related content for a variety of channels, including social media or newsletter. If there is no clear plan or direction with the content, it can be more difficult to manage and maintain. To increase the purpose and consistency of your content, it’s important to create a content marketing editorial calendar to stay organized and on schedule. A good editorial calendar will detail dates of content to be published, channels where it will be published, target audience, content type, and metrics. This can be kept on a simple spreadsheet or by using one of the many online tools available specifically to create content calendars. By maintaining this dynamic document and following it, you can not only stay current on what will be published, you can look back at your results.
7. Create Videos
The popularity of video marketing continues to grow rapidly because of its effectiveness and high return on investment. According to a report from Forrester, video placed in an email can increase the click-through rate by 200 to 300 percent. Click-through rates on landing pages are also substantially higher when they include video. While a professionally-produced video can help any business to attract new customers, even an amateur video made by a phone camera can be successful if it contains information that is informative or interesting to the customer. And videos are also highly versatile — they can be shared widely across social media, blogs, websites, and emails.
8. Create a Marketing Partnership
Consider what other businesses you know that may have complementary products or services. By bundling your specific offerings and marketing them together, it can be a win-win for partnering companies and customers. Cross-marketing provides a big opportunity to share costs on advertising and customer lists to reach new audiences. Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of building this type of alliance that can strengthen a brand and generate new opportunities for marketing and promotions.
9. Use the Power of the Media
The value of a third-party mention, such as a media outlet, cannot be underestimated. Even the smallest business can publish a press release or call up a reporter to pitch a potential story. With the right mention, a frenzy of interest can be generated which will make you stand out from your competitors.
10. Speak at Industry Events
Are there trade shows, forums, conferences, or other events in your industry? If so, there are likely speaking opportunities for experts who are willing to speak to attendees. This is a great way to showcase your expertise and gain valuable brand recognition. To be a successful speaker, you will want to choose a topic that you are highly confident with and find the right opportunities. Some specifics you’ll want to know before you apply to be a speaker include:
a. Deadline for submitting application to be a speaker
a. Deadline for submitting application to be a speaker
b. Dates and location of the event
c. Payment for travel
d. Payment for speaking
e. Marketing opportunities for speakers
If all checks out and meets your needs, you’ll want to create a compelling application to beat out others you’re competing with to get on the roster of speakers.
11. Consider a Marketing Platform
As your business grows, it can become more challenging to keep track of all the different aspects of your marketing efforts. A marketing platform that enables you to create direct mail pieces, integrate cross-channel marketing campaigns, and manage social media can help you stay organized and in control. It can also enable you to see the big picture in terms of your overall success.
12. Measure Results
Many marketers focus on strategy and implementation and neglect the vitally important task of measuring results. Thanks to an explosion of metrics and analytics tools that have been introduced over the last several years, metrics-focused marketing has become much easier. Google Analytics and data available on social media channels, email marketing tools, and other digital marketing channels can help you measure your success.
When it comes to generating more customers, it almost always requires a multi-pronged approach that includes a variety of strategies to attract new business and increase sales. The most successful businesses are willing to experiment and modify their approaches based on the success of campaigns. This includes being willing to stay current with changes in customer preferences, working with experts to generate a consistent quality message and always investing wisely in proven solutions.