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10 ways to reach new clients

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

Every small business owner wants to attract new customers. Here are 10 proven ways to help you bring in “new blood”.

1. Ask for references. Referrals are one of the best ways to get new customers, but if you sit back and wait for your current customers to refer their friends and family to you, you could be waiting a long time. Take matters into your own hands by setting up a system of actively soliciting referrals from your satisfied customers. Incorporate referral-generating activity into the sales process. For example, send a follow-up email asking for a recommendation after a customer receives their order on your e-commerce site. Ask your B2B salespeople to ask for references when they follow up with customers to answer questions after the sale.

2. Network. Generate good old-fashioned word-of-mouth by attending networking organizations and events relevant to your industry and customers. Be sure to approach networking with the following attitude: "How can I help others?" rather than "What's in it for me?" By thinking about how you serve, you will build relationships that will lead to new customers.

3. Offer discounts and incentives to new customers only. Introductory offers, like a two-week course at your karate studio for $100, can bring curious customers to your door by providing a low-risk way to try out your products or services. Track customers who take advantage of the special offer, then target them with a marketing message encouraging them to continue buying from you.

4. Recontact former clients. Anything old can be new again, including old customers who haven't done business with you in a while. Go through your customer contacts regularly and, after six months or a year of no interaction or purchase, reach out to inactive customers with a special offer via email, direct mail or phone. They will be happy that you remember them and want to win them back.

5. Improve your website. These days, consumers and B2B buyers find new businesses primarily by searching online. This means that your website has to do a lot of work to attract new customers. Review your website to make sure the design, content, graphics, and SEO are up to date. If that's not your forte, it's worth hiring the services of a web design company and/or SEO expert to help you out.

6. Partner with complementary businesses. Team up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but are not directly competitive, and strategize to target each other's customers to generate new business with each other. For example, a maternity clothing website and a baby products website might team up to offer discounts and offers to each other's customers.

7. Promote your expertise. Generate interest and new clients by promoting your expertise in your sector. Participating in industry roundtables or online webinars, speaking at industry events or groups your target customers belong to, or hosting training sessions or workshops will impress new customers potential with your expertise in the matter.

8. Use online reviews to your advantage. Does your business receive online reviews from customers? Cultivate your opinions and make the most of them. Link to reviews on your website and post posters in your location encouraging customers to check you out on Yelp (or wherever the reviews are). Social proof is powerful, and new customers are more likely to try your business if they see others praising it.

9. Participate in community events. All things being equal, most people enjoy supporting independent businesses in their community. Raise your profile in your community by participating in events and charities. Sponsor a local race, host a holiday “toys for kids” giveaway, or provide equipment to a Little League team in your town. It gets your name out there, which helps attract new customers.

10. Bring a friend. Offer 2-for-1, "buy one, get one" deals

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