Having reliable regular customers is at the heart of any successful business but, in order to survive and grow, you need to continually be trying to attract new customers. Here are our top tips on how to find new customers and markets or encourage them to find you.
If you operate in one local area or only sell face-to-face, a world of selling opportunities could await you online. By not being tied to one geographical area, you could be selling to customers in every corner of the country – or even across the world. Read our articles on accepting payments online and distance selling regulations.
Promote your business
You may already be an established business, but how will you find new clients if they don’t know you exist? Advertising and PR can help you to raise the profile of your business and get seen by new prospects.
Attract more traffic to your website
Similarly, you may have built a website or even an online shop, but it is useless if it doesn’t attract customers. Your website should be optimised so search engines can find it when prospects type in keywords related to your business. Plus, you can also drive traffic to the site using a combination of online and offline advertising and social media.
Buy in data
If you need to find a large volume of new customers and fast, buying in a database for you to email, telephone or send direct mail to is one way of targeting a high number of customers at once. You should make sure that you buy it from a reputable source, such as a member of the Institute of Direct Marketing, check whether the data was cleaned in the last six months and ask to test a sample of data beforehand.
Know your best customers
Look to your existing customers – who are the ones that bring in the most money? Do they have any characteristics in common such as age, geography or business size? If these are your most profitable customers it makes sense to put your focus on finding more of the same type, rather than other less profitable parts of the market.
Ask for referrals
You can also tap into your existing network of customers by asking them to refer you to their friends or business contacts. Though there will usually have to be some kind of incentive in it for them.
Though not always a source of direct sales, networking can help you to make new contacts and grow your referral network.
Enter new markets
This means selling your existing product but to a new set of customers, you haven’t targeted before. However, it may mean rebranding and position your product slightly to appeal to these people.
One new market you could explore is the world of exporting. There is also a direct lending scheme from UK Export Finance in order to help overseas buyers purchase the goods of UK exporters, potentially boosting the chances of British businesses selling abroad.
Develop a new product for a new market
This one is the most complicated and risky option available to and will require a lot of planning, but if you can see how your business might be able to fill a gap in a market you’re not currently competing in with an entirely new product then there could be money to be made.