Even if your existing customers are as loyal and fanatical as football fans, you still need to win new customers all the time. Here are five unique and proven ways to do it:
The customer sales cycle isn’t what it used to be. Online searches let customers learn much more about you before — or if — a salesperson ever enters the scene.
That’s why just about every part of the customer experience needs to be outstanding or unique: You never know when someone will decide it’s time to become a customer.
Try these proven ways to bring in new customers:
1. Combine channels
Even with so much shopping and decision-making done on websites, the online shopping experience still lacks one thing: Customers can’t touch and feel the products they buy before they pay. When they get the product, there can be some disappointment, plus the hassle of returning it.
Fourmine, a jewelry store that sells online, came up with a way to combine the ease of online shopping with the emotions of retail shopping — and it’s helped it win many new customers. When customers visit the Fourmine website, they can pick out three of their favorite styles and have realistic replicas of products in those styles shipped to their homes. Then, for three days, customers can experience the products and decide what’s best before ordering it online.
You might not be able to send replicas of your products, but you can help new customers get a feel for you by keeping experiences consistent across all channels. Establish and post response times for each channel. Also, keep records of when they contact you — no matter the channel — so when someone from your company talks to new customers he or she knows and can respond to what’s already happened.
This is a customer-building idea for companies that use vehicles in a community (or many). Try parketing.
For instance, Nurse Next Door uses bright pink cars with the company logo plastered all over them to attract new customers. Sure, putting the company name on a car isn’t new. But taking it to the parketing level is relatively new. Nurse Next Door parks a vehicle where potential customers may be — perhaps outside a theater showing a matinee where ticket sales were geared toward seniors.
Other companies have given valets extra money to park their logo-riddled vehicles in visible spots, rather than being hidden in a garage.
3. Give them something — anything
Freebies really do pay off, according to research. Even better, surprise people with a small gift.
Here’s why: One study found that when people were surprised by finding or receiving something worth as little as 10 cents, they had a more positive view of the day. The researcher, Norbert Schwarz, said that people remember the positive thing that happened to them — not the value of what they got.
Receiving something makes people want to reciprocate in some form — which often turns into sales.
Show up where your potential customers go: industry, community, cultural or sporting events. Surprise them with something they’ll talk about — not another tchotchke. Try a white paper, access to another event, a fun photo of themselves at one of your company-sponsored events, etc.
4. Help where you aren’t expected
Take the customer experience to the next level by offering help where it’s needed, not just where it’s asked for.
For instance, Name.com, a domain registrar, caught wind of a software developer whose domain had been hijacked. It wasn’t a Name.com customer, but it reached out to the company after hearing about the situation on social media and eventually tracked down the hijacker by using its technical expertise.
That act of goodwill helped Name.com get a slew of new, transferring customers.
5. Get super targeted
When looking for new customers, many companies tend to focus on broad segments or new territories. Sometimes, getting extremely targeted on the exact customers you want pays off well.
For example, consultant Ashely Ambirge, created an extremely targeted direct-mail campaign (yes, old-fashioned mail). Her audience was home builders, so she did something to get their attention immediately: She bought and sent a single roofing shingle to each with the words, “My Company + Your Company = Sales through the Roof.” Every one responded and nearly all of them became customers.
Use a unique approach with an extremely focused audience and you’ll likely win many new customers.