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How to attract group buyers?

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Answer # 1 #

By Rieva Lesonsky

Was one of your resolutions this year to increase your customer base? Here are 10 tried-and-true tips to help you attract more customers.

Consumers today are still looking for value and deals. Lure them into your business by offering introductory discounts, or have specials such as buy 2-get-1-for half-price or free gift wrapping for the first three purchases. Bargains like these can attract new customers who have been considering doing business with you but needed an incentive to actually change their shopping habits. Then track what they buy and which offers they redeemed so you can better target them with future marketing messages that will cement their loyalty.

Once you gain a customer’s loyalty, put that to work for you by asking them for referrals. Current customers are one of the best sources of new customers. But you can’t be passive and wait for your them to bring colleagues, friends, and family to your business. Instead, take control and create a systemized approach to actively solicit referrals from your satisfied customers.

Build referral-generating activities into the sales process. Send follow-up emails to make sure customers are happy with their purchases, and then follow that up with another email asking for referrals. Consider offering incentives if the sale price warrants it.

Go back to your lapsed customers contact list and market to former customers who haven’t done business with you for a while. Create a regular schedule to do this (say quarterly) and select customers you haven’t seen in six months. Reach out to them via email, direct mail, text, or phone with a “We miss you" message, offering some type of deal or promotion if they’ll come back.

There’s no better way to raise brand awareness than meeting new people, telling them who you are and what you do. Join your trade association, your local chamber of commerce, and networking organizations. Attend Meetup events. If you own a local business, even going to PTA meetings can be a good networking opportunity. Approach networking with a “How can I help you?” attitude, rather than thinking, “What’s in it for me?”

Online search is the primary way both consumers and B2B buyers find new businesses. That means your website has to do the heavy lifting so customers can find you. Review your search engine marketing and search engine optimization tactics and techniques, including making sure your site is mobile-friendly.

Even your site design makes a difference. Too many graphics can slow your site’s load speed, which is a customer turnoff. If you don’t have the in-house expertise, hire a website design company and/or SEO expert to help.

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Teaming up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but aren’t directly competitive, and then strategizing how you can market to one another’s customers to drive new business is a smart way to attract new customers while not spending a fortune. For instance, if you sell baby products, working with a business that sells maternity clothes would be a great partnership.

By showcasing your industry expertise, you can generate interest and even create buzz, which can help you attract new customers as well as get more business from your existing client base. Volunteering to speak on industry panels, giving a webinar or workshop, speaking at industry events or to groups your target customers belong to, or holding educational sessions are just a few ways you can make a good impression with potential new customers and clients. This technique works particularly well for B2B business owners.

Consumers, both in the B2B and B2C worlds, frequently turn to online ratings and review sites before they’ll do business with a company they are not familiar with. So make sure you monitor those sites and respond to any complaints. Make the most of positive reviews by linking to them on your website. Post signage in your store, office, restaurant, or other location encouraging customers to add their perspectives. Social proof is powerful, and new customers are more likely to give your business a try if they see others praising it.

Surveys show most people like to support local, independent businesses. Raise your profile in your community by participating in charity events and organizations. Sponsor a local fun run, organize a holiday “toys for kids” drive, or supply a Little League team in your city with equipment. All this raises your profile, which helps attract new customers.

This idea is similar to referrals but requires customer participation. Offer “bring a friend” deals to get your loyal customers to introduce their friends and colleagues to your business. For instance, a restaurant could offer a “buy one entrée, get a second for free” special to attract more customers.

Think of these strategies as a starter list. Add your own ideas. The key is to get started now so that when next year rolls around, you’re already selling to an expanded customer base.

I am CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email me at, follow me on Twitter @Rieva, and visit my website to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for my free TrendCast reports. Read all of Rieva Lesonsky’s articles.

RELATED: How to Benefit From Customer Complaints

ipmg Celimon
Answer # 2 #

A “marketing plan” can sound a little intimidating, but don’t worry! The good news is you don’t need a team of MBAs to bring in new customers. These 5 affordable, easy-to-implement strategies will help you build a marketing plan that works for your business.

One of the most common tenets of any effective sales marketing campaign is knowing the customer. The first question is, “Who is your ideal new customer?” The second question is, “What does your ideal new customer want from your business?”

It’s far easier to develop an effective marketing strategy for one person than for every person – not every person will want the exact same thing, so you have to cast a huge net to draw mass attention. Some giant corporations can do that – Amazon, for example, or Target. They have the infrastructure and market power to pull customers from nearly every demographic. But even those giant companies put special emphasis on certain demographics that are likely to be good customers. So, the first step is to clearly define your client base.

This step will take some internet research, getting out there and talking to different demographics, and some good old-fashioned brainstorming. Think about the kinds of people that will be attracted to your product or service. You can start with really general categories – does your business cater toward men, women, or both, for example. You can also break it down by age, income, and location, to name a few. The trick is to get to a target that’s specific enough to be worth targeting but not so specific that you’re cutting out potential customers.

For example, contrast two niche groups: “women aged 30-50” versus “women aged 30-50 who like yoga, own dogs, and Iive within 10 miles of our shop.” See how much easier it would be to craft a specific target message to the latter group? Maybe you’re selling athletic wear – you could set up a Twilight Yoga and Yappy Hour (e.g, bring your dogs) event at a local dog park to entice new customers to try your products. The more you know about your customer, the happier you can make them with your direct, just for them (or so it seems!) marketing, events, and products.

Direct response marketing is a popular tactic where you ask your customers to engage in a call to action; usually, this involves responding to an email or opting into your email marketing group. The benefit of this type of marketing is that you’re creating a roster of interested customers that you can reach out to with sales, events, newsletters, and other reminders to keep your brand in the front of their minds.

Direct marketing works best when you craft intriguing compelling messages designed to attract customers and pique their collective interest. Some brands do it by offering rewards for signing up. For example, say you’re running a bakery. You could allow people to enter a drawing for a free cake in exchange for signing up for your newsletter. Others offer a discount on the next purchase after signing up for the email list, and still others simply heavily emphasize their email marketing and frequently prompt people to sign up. Make sure to include calls to action on your website and in your brick-and-mortar store – let people know that they might be missing out on great opportunities with your business.

Of course, in order to attract new customers and increase sales, you’ll have to actually keep up with the emails. Send out regular newsletters with updates about new products, promotions, news about your business, and whatever else your customers may want to know. As with any marketing materials, make sure your newsletter fits your brand – the same logo, messaging, and tone as you use online and in-store. You can use a service like MailChimp to customize a design template and send emails to your whole list at once, which makes it look professional.

Handing out free stuff may not seem like the most logical business plan for a small business, especially when you’re starting out on a lean budget. But this is one instance when it pays to sink a little upfront money into making more money later.

Giving away free or discounted products can bring customers through your doors. For example, you can offer a discount for first-time customers – maybe they get 10% off on their first purchase. You can also offer incentives for your current customers to refer new customers – like offering them $5 off for every new customer they bring in. Then you have new customers coming in and your original customer will come back to take advantage of the discount. It’s worth shaving off that $5 to increase sales overall.

Some business experts recommend pairing with a partner to offer a free product. For example, a tax prep company can pair with a computer store to offer an hour of free service. A salon can offer free travel-sized hair products or a certificate for discounts on future salon services for those who spend a certain amount at a neighboring boutique. The key to making this tactic work is to align with a prospective partner who shares the same ideal niche customer.

If your business is housed in a brick-and-mortar shop, then it’s important to pay attention to the message the exterior of your shop sends to those passing by. Does it fit your brand? Does it fit the area? Is it in good shape or does it look like it’s falling apart?

You want your business to put its best foot forward right from the start. Rather than neglecting your storefront, give it a critical look and assess your shop as though you were a brand-new customer. Is it clean and well-lit? Is your signage in good shape? Is it visible from the road? By the same token, the inside of your shop should be clean, in good repair, and designed to fit your brand’s image and your target customers’ tastes. You should also consider the physical layout – is it easy for customers to move through the shop? Are there bottlenecks or cramped areas that you could rearrange? Maybe you can move displays around to make it easy for customers to linger a little longer and see a few more of your products as they move through the store.

The same is true of online businesses. Try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and take a look at your website. Does it look professional? Does it fit your brand, with appropriate logos and messaging? Once you’re past the immediate aesthetics, make sure the site works. Every link should take you to the right place, all of the information should be correct, and the shopping and payment mechanisms should work smoothly. It should also be easy to use – you want it to be as simple as possible to get from shopping to checkout.

Making your business look good is a great way to increase sales, with the added benefit of pleasing your current customers.

Above all, the best thing you can do to attract new customers is to spread the word as far and wide as possible about your business. Depending on your target demographic, that may mean advertising online, in newspapers, or even on billboards. If your budget is too tight for that kind of expenditure, social media offers a great way to reach lots of consumers for free.

These days, word-of-mouth advertising is really word-of-internet. Reach out to your personal social networks and let them know about your business. Ask them to follow your business on social media and spread the word to their friends and beyond. Keep up an active social media presence and use it to stay in touch with your customers.

In a similar vein, keep an eye on review sites like Yelp. Encourage your customers to leave good reviews to boost your ratings. You should also address any negative reviews; that may involve apologizing or offering a refund or a free product or service as compensation. That shows them and everyone else on the site that you care about your customers.

The first step to drawing a new customer in is simply making sure they know your business exists. Everything else follows from there.

Beverly Zieff
Medical Writing
Answer # 3 #

1. Ask for referrals. 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 members to you, you could be waiting a long time. Take charge by implementing a system for actively soliciting referrals from your satisfied customers. Build referral-generating activity into the sales process. For example, send a follow-up email asking for a referral after a customer has received their order from your e-commerce site. Have your B2B salespeople ask for referrals when they follow up with customers to answer questions after the sale.

2. Network. Generate good old-fashioned word-of-mouth by participating in networking organizations and events relevant to your industry and your customers. Be sure to approach networking with the attitude, “How can I help others?” rather than “What’s in it for me?” By thinking about how you be of service, you’ll build relationships that lead to new customers.

3. Offer discounts and incentives for new customers only. Introductory offers, such as a two-week course at your karate studio for $100, can lure curious customers in your door by providing a low-risk way to try your products or services. Track which customers redeem the special offer, then target them with marketing message encouraging and enticing them to keep buying from you.

4. Re-contact old customers. Everything old can be new again—including old customers who haven’t done business with you in a while. Go through your customer contacts on a regular basis and, after six months or a year without an interaction or purchase, reach out to dormant customers with a special offer via email, direct mail or phone. They’ll be glad you remembered them and want to win them back.

5. Improve your website. These days, consumers and B2B buyers alike find new businesses primarily by searching online. That means your website has to do some heavy lifting to attract new customers. Give your website a once-over to make sure that the design, content, graphics and SEO are up-to-date. If this isn’t your strong suit, it’s worth enlisting the services of a website design company and/or SEO expert to help.

6. Partner with complementary businesses. Team up with businesses that have a similar customer base, but aren’t directly competitive, and strategize how you can target each other’s customers to drive new business to each other. For example, a maternity clothing website and a baby products website could pair up to offer discounts and deals to each other’s customers.

7. Promote your expertise. Generate interest—and new customers—by publicizing your expertise in your industry. Participating in industry panel discussions or online webinars, speaking at industry events or to groups your target customers belong to, or holding educational sessions or workshops will impress potential new customers with your subject expertise.

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

9. Participate in community events. All else being equal, most people like to support independent businesses in their communities. Raise your profile in your community by taking part in charity events and organizations. Sponsor a local fun run, organize a holiday “toys for kids” donation, or supply a Little League team in your city with equipment. It gets your name out there, which helps bring in new customers.

Jacque Etra
Hotel Boy
Answer # 4 #
  • Identify Your Ideal New Customers.
  • Use Direct Response Marketing to Attract Customers.
  • Give Something Away to Entice New Customers.
  • Give Your Business a Face Lift to Increase Sales.
  • Get The (Right) Word Out.
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