Setting up a new business is always hard and getting your first few customers is the most challenging bit of all, especially if you are just starting online.
Getting visitors to your website is not as hard as you might think. This article will not only help you to attract your first 99 customers but will also reveal how to keep them happy so that the keep coming back for more.
Spread the word and tell family, friends and existing customers
Don’t keep your online site a secret. Make sure you spread the word by telling all of your family and friends about your new online store. Simply ask them to share a link of their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media accounts and you will be amazed at the response. Don’t be shy. Remember, you are not asking them to buy anything, you are only asking them to share your online venture with friends and relatives in their network. This is the beauty of social media and it can be surprising how fast the word spreads.
Use Pay-per-click (PPC) Marketing
PPC marketing using programs like Google Adwords is an extremely effective way of buying traffic to send to your site. Within minutes you can be receiving brand new targeted visitors to your site who will be keen to make a purchase.
Give Away A Freebie
You might be thinking, “Hold on, I am trying to make my first sale, not give stuff away”. However, turning giveaways into real sales is actually a very clever way to encourage people to buy, as you will see.
Did you know that videos are shown to increase conversion rates by an average of 30%? This is why Video Marketing is one of the most powerful ways for your business to generate more sales.
Video works because it gives you a chance to show your products and services to prospective customers or clients as well as providing a platform to showcase your business with virtual tours of your store or premises.
Put Your Products on eBay
By putting your products on auction sites like eBay you can include a discount coupon for ten per cent off a purchase from your online store. Include the coupon and note about your website with every order you send out. It will help you generate many more sales and get repeat business.
Ask Your Trade Insider Friends for Some Love
Distributors and manufacturers will often help new retailers by including them in their dealer listings pages or mentioning them on their social media sites. Don’t be afraid to ask them for some assistance while you are building your business. After all, it is in their interest that you do well and they will be likely to send a lot of trade your way.
Every online business should have a blog. It provides a way to engage with visitors on your site and brings more traffic to your website.
Another reason is the fact that Google loves blogs…especially blogs with content that is updated frequently. Google and the search engines know that blogs offer fresh new information, which is very relevant to their search users. As a result the search engines rewards the blog owners by giving that content higher placement when users search for related topics. This means more customers for you.
Apart from Google and the search engines loving blogs, which is good for SEO (making sure your site ranks high in the search engines and is easily found) here are more reasons why a company should have a blog:
- A blog provides a low-cost, long-term venue to continuously bring your brand to life. It builds credibility and a loyal group of visitors who are interested in what you have to say.
- A blog provides an informative resource for anyone seeking information about you or an issue relating to your brand. When someone searches for something related to your brand, you want them to receive that information directly from you rather than an unauthorized and perhaps inaccurate third-party. If you don't have a blog, your reputation is at the mercy of others. A blog is your platform for saying what you want to say and to spread the word about your business.
- Social media and blogs are the fastest growing category in lead generation, and they continue to be categorized as the lowest cost lead-generation channel. This means that it easier to attract visitors interested in your product and convert them into customers without it costing you a penny in advertising.
- You can invite guests: clients, thought leaders and industry gurus to write guest articles. People like “PR” to show off their expertise and they will be quick to tell their followers about your blog, resulting in many more thousands of extra customers.
- Readers can leave comments on your blog posts giving you valuable market intelligence and endorsement of your ideas. This gives your business a massive advantage. Businesses have never had it so easy to be able to interact with their customers.
- Visitors can subscribe to your blog. These are customers who hang on your every word and have a keen interest in what you have to say. You will have a loyal audience for your articles, newsletters and surveys on important topics.
Hand out business cards
Just because your business is online, it doesn’t mean that you should not have business cards. Get some cards made, making sure that they look stylish and reflect the design of your website. Because you are trying to get people to visit your online store you need to ensure that the website address is on the front of the card and slap bang in the middle of the card so it is plain to see. Once you have your card don’t leave them sitting in a drawer. Make them work for you and hand them out to everybody you meet and know.
Go directly to where your customers are – Social Media
The reason why we stress social media marketing so much is because it works! It is now an indispensible tool for your business. It has never been easier to build relationships, engage with customers and increase sales.
To make the most of social media and all of the opportunities that come with it, have a strong presence on all of the main platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Start conversations about your industry, contribute to existing conversations and provide lots of helpful tips and advice about your products and services. You will soon get yourself a reputation for being a trusted authority in your niche and people will want to buy from you.
Businesses use social media because it has the power to drive so much traffic and customers to your website. If you are consistent and keep providing helpful posts, you will soon build a large following of loyal and enthusiastic fans and these will convert into customers.
Set up an affiliate program
With an affiliate program you can potentially have thousands of people around the world promoting your website. You simply pay the affiliate a certain commission for each sale they bring you. If they don’t get you a sale, they don’t get paid, so it is in their (and your) interest to get as many sales as they can for you. We have some great tips to share about affiliate marketing and the massive potential of having an army of super affiliates promoting your website. If this is something that interests you, don’t hesitate to contact us.
Facebook is the largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users on desktop and 600 million monthly active users on mobile. If it were a country, Facebook would be the 3rd largest country in the world! Almost everyone who has Internet access and knows how to operate a computer has a Facebook account. Which is why you should take a look at Facebook advertising and, potentially, reach out to millions of users in a day.
Facebook ads are an innovative and targeted way to access a very targeted audience by using keywords that would interest them.
You are in complete control and can choose the people you want to see your ads, the time they see it and how much per day you want to spend on advertising.
Online success doesn’t happen overnight. Look how long it took you to build an established business with your offline company. It took time and patience and it is the same with an online business. However, using the tips and advice above the process can be a lot of faster because news about your business online can spread very fast.
Just applying one or more of these tips will help you to get your first 99 customers. However, getting your first customers is just the beginning. You now want to keep them.
It is cheaper and more cost effective to look after the clients you have without having to spend more time and money trying to find new ones.
As a business owner you know that that the only thing harder than getting a customer through the door the first time is getting them back for a second time. Marketing, especially online marketing, isn’t just about the one-off purchase—it’s about nurturing your customers over a lifetime of purchases, and relying on their regular business for your sustained success.
Online retailers are even more vulnerable. The Internet changes so quickly and as a result businesses need to be on top of the game to respond quickly to the shifts and changes in customer spending and shopping habits.
If you have a good product or your service is excellent, you’ll enjoy a great deal of customer retention without even trying. On the other hand, if your product or service isn’t naturally something that customers will come back to, though, you have to work that little bit harder to keep customers coming back to you instead of going elsewhere.
Here are a few tips for keeping your customers who you worked so hard to get with foolproof marketing strategies that can pay off for your business.
You need to appreciate your customers.
This should go without saying, but it’s shocking to see how many businesses hardly care about their customers and seem to take them for granted. Show your appreciation by taking the time to compose a genuine “Thank You” message after a transaction—even if it’s just in an automated email response. Whatever you decide to do, make it very clear that you really do appreciate their business.
This will not only win over the customers’ trust and respect but will set you apart from your competitors and customers will want to buy from you again.
Monitor the buying habits of your Customers:
If you deal in regular high-volume purchases, you should be keeping detailed records on who your best customers are, and whether or not they’re on-track for their typical spending amounts each month. Monitoring all of your customers and flagging those customers who have spent less than usual is very important.
Finding flagged customers that are lagging behind in their usual purchases and presenting them with a special “welcome back” deal is an excellent way to not only bring them back to you, but keep their loyal business long into the future. It will show that you appreciate and value their custom.
Be Alert to Suggestions and Complaints:
Complaints and customer suggestions are often seen as an irritation to many business owners and retailers. They respond with comments like “I have been in the this business for 30 years. How dare you tell me how to run my business.” This is a big mistake, especially in the online world. In fact rather than being annoyed you should thank customers who take the time to offer a suggestion or even complain.
Customers are on the receiving end of all of your design, marketing, and selling efforts. They are the very reason you are in business. They are your eyes and ears into exactly how effective your business is in other customers’ eyes.
Customers that are vocal about their experience with your retail site aren’t just complaining. It shows that they are passionate about their purchase and are frustrated by problems because they initially wanted to purchase through you. Listen to them. Respond tactfully and respectfully and you will not only win them over but many more potential customers who will be impressed by how you have handled the situation and show that you actually care.
Encourage Customers To Spread The Good Word About Your Products and services
The Internet makes it so easy for customers to have engagement with a favorite brand and they do via platforms like social media. By being involved and having a strong online presence you can reach out to your current customers and offer incentives for them to bring their friends to your products and services. You will be amazed at how keen they will be to respond to your request and how quickly the word will spread. Social media really is an excellent way to engage and retain your best customers. With the right deals, you can even make sharing and referrals a fun, entertaining experience for all concerned and it will give you life-long fans and customers.