Knowing how to engage new customers is a crucial factor when ensuring the success of any online business. Most markets already contain a variety of established internet-based brands, and consumers have increasingly high expectations of online transactions as the internet becomes the primary method of sourcing products and services.
Few companies can afford to rely entirely on their established client bases, since customers will often migrate elsewhere, or simply stop requiring the products and services you offer. This is especially true for industries where help is only needed occasionally, or companies marketing products that are expensive or exclusive.
Below we have listed ten techniques that can be important for understanding how to attract new customers:
- Study rivals. Pay close attention to the leaders in your chosen industry. How do they present themselves online, and what are they doing to attract first-time clients? If all of your rivals are publishing blogs or running referral schemes, you would be well advised to follow their example. There’s no shame in aping tactics that work for other firms.
- Explore other websites. Build on the last point by studying how companies in other fields structure their websites, viewing them on different devices. You can learn some valuable lessons about how to draw in new customers by reading About Us pages, or testing the ecommerce functionality. This is also a good way to spot web design trends.
- Harness social media. Your competitors will have migrated to the social media portals best suited to their industry. For retailers, that might be Instagram or Pinterest. For service providers, Facebook and Twitter are key. Create accounts on these platforms, build a network of contacts, and regularly update each profile with original content.
- Blog. This expands on our first point above. Blogging isn’t just a way to emphasize key messages, it also tells search engines that your site is regularly updated, which boosts its SEO value. Use analytics platforms to identify keywords or search terms people use to find businesses like yours, and include a number of these in each article or page.
- Be mobile friendly. Search engines also rank websites based on their loading speed and optimal display on mobile devices, as well as how easy they are to navigate. Most web traffic is carried on portable devices nowadays, so maximize your site’s appeal with fast-loading content. Compress graphics, simplify navigation menus and remove any unnecessary coding.
- Streamline ecommerce. Two thirds of online baskets are abandoned. Most of these will belong to new customers, dubious about purchasing or put off by the checkout process. Ecommerce functionality has to be simple, with no lengthy registration forms or compulsory sign-ins. Be honest about postage fees and other ‘hidden’ charges, too, and as early in the process as possible.
- Advertise sparingly. Facebook has very impressive ROI stats, as does Google. These are the best platforms for advertising to new audiences, with PPC campaigns that only cost money when people click onto your site. Campaigns can be tweaked to target specific demographics, and to revise how much is being spent per click or per day.
- Consider a referral scheme. Depending on your industry, it might be worth offering existing customers a discount or gift if they recommend a friend. Knowing how to get new customers often involves knowing how to exploit the satisfied clients already on your books. Think about offering discounts or incentives for testimonials or reviews.
- Seek out free publicity. Does your industry have awards ceremonies or competitions you can enter? Can you draft a press release about a quirky project or recent event to drum up some free PR? LinkedIn is a great resource where you can raise your profile by starting discussions. You can do this on other social media platforms, too.
- Go offline. The internet isn’t the only place you can advertise or promote your firm. Think out of the box by fitting advertising vinyls to your car, or print flyers you can hand out at expos. Networking events are great for meeting people you wouldn’t otherwise reach, so take business cards with your web address and mobile number on.
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