How to Attract More Customers

 As small business owners we all need customers to survive.  So where do we find them?

 Here is a simple three-step process to get you started on the path to growing your business.

 Step 1: Understanding Your Customer

 The first step to finding customers is to understand the type of customer you seek.  The more time and focus you put into this effort before you market your business, the easier it will be to find your ideal customer.

 Separate your potential customers into marketing segments, according to the particular challenges they face and the solutions available to them.  This requires a shift in thinking.  Your business no longer has a single generic marketing program, but rather a series of mini-marketing programs that address the needs of each customer market individually.

 For example, an interior designer may have corporate customers and residential customers.  Within the corporate customer market, there may be banks, law firms, and accounting firms.  The interior designer must strive to understand each group and its specific challenges in order to create custom marketing materials.

 The more we understand about our customers, particularly their problems and challenges, and the better we have segmented them, the more equipped we will be to meet their specific needs and earn their business.

 Step 2: Attracting Prospects

 If you have done the work in step one, you should now understand the nature of your customers, into which market segment they belong and what specific challenges they face.

 This approach forces a fundamental shift in your thinking.  You must take off your “company hat” for a moment and become an educator.  If you were a teacher, and your prospects were your students, what would they need to know to solve their problems?  And what are the ways in which you could reach your students?

 You might offer classes, workbooks, videos, articles, e-books, podcasts and many other elements that help resolve a challenge which your prospects are facing.

 Let us revisit our example of the interior designer.  If that person wanted to attract law firms, they might offer a free seminar called “How to Improve Your Law Firm’s Value & Image.”  Next, a personal letter might be sent to the senior partners at each law firm in Rhode Island with a compelling invitation to attend.

 Step 3: Converting Prospects into Customers

 You might be asking yourself, “What? You want me to give away my valuable expertise for free?”

 Yes I do.  Give away some truly valuable gems of knowledge.  Why?  Because you will fill the room with dozens of well-qualified prospects who are itching to learn what you know.

 When you have delivered an hour’s worth of great information, many of your well-qualified prospects will want to know more, particularly about the implementation phase of what you are offering.  That is when you present them with a “special offer” for your products or services.

 Many businesses unwittingly drop the ball at the end of their seminars by not giving their prospects a clear course of action.  Once people leave your seminar, the memory and excitement of the experience will be forgotten in a matter of days.  Therefore, the key to attracting new customers is to present them with explicit instructions about how to either buy what you are selling or to continue their relationship with you in other ways.

Robert Beadle

Robert Beadle is president of Northeast Public Relations, Inc. (NEPR) and the 2009 recipient of the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for both Rhode Island and all of New England. He founded NEPR in 2006. Robert has developed and implemented successful public relations and marketing programs for over 40 companies, non-profit organizations and government entities in New York,Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island including Arpin International Group, the Boy Scouts of America and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. Outside of NEPR, Robert currently serves as a member and past-president (2009) of the Southeastern New England chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, a group which provides professional and educational programs for members and works to strengthen and advance the profession of public relations in the local community. Robert also served as an ambassador for the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. He is a master's graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, the top public relations program in the Northeast.
Robert served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a staff sergeant and provided active duty mission support for Operation Noble Eagle in response to the 9/11 attacks. Robert was the social media marketing instructor for the R.I. Economic Development Corporation “Every Company Counts” business development program, including business seminars on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. He offers public relations and social media marketing information to the wider community through personal appearances before groups of all sizes to explain emerging trends and the importance of public relations to their organization and membership.
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Avatar About the Author: Robert Beadle is president of Northeast Public Relations, Inc. (NEPR) and the 2009 recipient of the Small Business Administration Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for both Rhode Island and all of New England. He founded NEPR in 2006. Robert has developed and implemented successful public relations and marketing programs for over 40 companies, non-profit organizations and government entities in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island including Arpin International Group, the Boy Scouts of America and the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council. Outside of NEPR, Robert currently serves as a member and past-president (2009) of the Southeastern New England chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, a group which provides professional and educational programs for members and works to strengthen and advance the profession of public relations in the local community. Robert also served as an ambassador for the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. He is a master's graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, the top public relations program in the Northeast. Robert served in the U.S. Air Force Reserve as a staff sergeant and provided active duty mission support for Operation Noble Eagle in response to the 9/11 attacks. Robert was the social media marketing instructor for the R.I. Economic Development Corporation “Every Company Counts” business development program, including business seminars on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. He offers public relations and social media marketing information to the wider community through personal appearances before groups of all sizes to explain emerging trends and the importance of public relations to their organization and membership.