As a small business owner or direct seller, your customers are your livelihood.  Attracting customers is something you’ll likely be striving to do whether you are just starting up or have been in business for years.  In order to attract customers more effectively here are six strategies to help you attract customers and keep them coming back.

  1. Host an open house and make yourself accessible.  In doing so, you have an opportunity to not only bring in new customers, but also to connect with your community.  Consider inviting local business owners and residents to your open house, where they can become acquainted with what you have to offer.  Provide merchandise samples, product or service demonstrations, giveaways, and brochures.  Supply refreshments for your guests and use the time to introduce yourself to them so they can put a face to your business name.  You can begin building professional relationships by immersing yourself in the community.
  2. Cross-promote your business.  Another benefit of being active in your community is the ability to join forces with other businesses in order to reach a wider customer base.  There are many ways to use cross-promotion such as: offering incentives to customers who use both your services, providing each other’s fliers to your customers, and sharing ad space in newspapers that you could not afford by yourself.  Cross-promotion, when used effectively, can become an inexpensive way to expand your clientele.
  3. Generate conversation and maintain an online presence.  Let’s face it: ever since the word “Google” became a regularly used verb, most people have begun to research nearly everything online before making an actual purchase.  Your website should not only be informational, but useful as well.  If possible, provide specific product information and the ability to purchase online.  Furthermore, many business owners are adding blogs to their sites where they can answer questions and provide tips that their customers would find useful.  Beyond your business’s website, use social media to promote your business and generate conversation with your target market. Facebook and Twitter are obvious choices, but also consider Foursquare and Pinterest.
  4. Explore and tap into unique communities. Explore your interests. Look for hobbyists, clubs/organizations, and causes that you can get involve with. This is a natural and low stress way to network. The more interest you explore the more people you network with and the more exposure for your business. 
  5. Provide a little something special.  Many consumers perceive indifference from the businesses they frequent, which is why it’s extremely important that you provide the special extras. Here are some examples, when customers make a purchase, provide an inexpensive sample product and ask for their input about it. Remember to send them a birthday card, sponsor free kid workshops to give your customers who are parents a break, offer free gift wrapping, and local delivery service. This will help retain your customers, but also remember that word of mouth is very effective.  By making a memorable and positive impression, your customers will want to share their experiences with their families and friends.
  6. Make customer service the focus of your business. Create a system that rewards customers for their patronage and loyalty. Develop a clear, simple process on how to engage prospects, first time customers, repeat customers, loyal customers and doing follow ups. Your goal is to make prospects and customers feel that they are special and highly valued with their first experience with you. You want to hear that they’ll be back soon and that they’ll refer their friends to your business.  Click here for some good ideas to increase your referrals.

When coming up with more ideas to attract customers, remember to be genuine, friendly, and professional.  Aim for accessibility, authentic engagement, uniqueness and processes that deliver consistent excellence. What are some of your tried and true strategies for attracting customers?  Please share them with us in the comments section below.