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Customers are the lifeblood of any successful business. In fact, according to a recent PartnerUp survey of more than 800 small business owners, customer acquisition was seen as a top priority for those looking to grow their businesses. Yet for many small business owners who have been crippled by the sluggish economy, traditional methods to acquire new customers may be too pricey and don’t guarantee return on income.
Here are some tips designed to help maximize customer acquisition and revenue growth.
1. Create a solid brand. A well-conceived brand that includes corporate ID elements such as Web site, logo, and company name speaks volumes about your company. In fact, it will often be the single most important factor in determining whether a prospective customer believes that you are trustworthy, reputable, reliable, and established. As the first impression a prospective customer receives of your company, your brand can either win them over or lose them completely. But before you hire an expensive advertising agency or branding research firm, try an online logo or Web site design service.
2. Promotional products are more effective than ever. With all of the clutter and noise on the Web today, many marketers seem to have forgotten the power of "touch and feel." Stand out against your competition with good old-fashioned giveaways, sending current and prospective customers branded USB fobs, beach balls, coffee mugs, and other useful items. After all, what’s more powerful than having potential customers see one of your branded promo products sitting on their desks every day?
3. Treat your social media-minded customers well and ask for referrals. Word-of-mouth is powerful stuff. According to consulting giant McKinsey, about two-thirds of all economic activity in the US is influenced by word-of-mouth opinions about a product, brand, or service. So when a happy customer tells three friends about your business and then they each tell three friends, you’ve got some traction. Now imagine that customer is involved in social media and instead of telling three friends about your business, he or she hops on Twitter or Facebook and sends out a post that reaches 300 people. Then each of those 300 people (obviously also involved in social media) repost your message. That’s viral marketing.
4. Consider cost-per-action advertising. In addition to the well-known CPC and CPM advertising models, CPA allows you to target your ads just as effectively while only paying when a customer is acquired or an action generated, such as filling out an application or signing up for a newsletter.
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
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