Attracting paying customers is what separates entrepreneurs from entrepreneurs. Ask any entrepreneur and she will tell you that getting customers is one of the hardest parts of business. The inability to attract customers cost-effectively is one of the common reasons businesses fail.
Do you know your customers’ needs?
Many entrepreneurs focus on customers too late. Before they think about the customer they are focusing on product development, research, design, coding, and a bunch of other important issues. Except that, the problem is that none of them really matter without the customer.
Step #1 to get customers love your business is to involve the customer from day one.
Don’t design the look of your product without consulting your customer. Don’t build your product in a vacuum. Ask your customer for feedback. Involve your customer early and often.
If your customer us part of the process from the beginning, they are much more likely to buy once you are ready to sell. Reach out to your target market for advice and feedback. Keep them in the loop. Send them updates as you are making progress. Get them involved with the process of creating and improving.
Understand your customer.
This sounds very easy, yet most businesses fail at everything. Why? Because this requires for you to actually reach out to people and learn from them. It is a lot easier to make assumptions which are exactly what many businesses do. To be more specific, making assumptions about the customer is what failed entrepreneurs do.
There are several ways you can understand your customers:
- Ignore non-customers – You don’t have to get everyone’s opinion. You don’t have to get the whole world to like you or your product. Only focus on those whom will pay for it.
- Understand problems and pain points – When you reach out to your customers find out about what frustrates them and what are their pain points.
- Learn about decision making – If you are going to sell to them, you have to understand their decision making. What’s important to them? I tell you it’s not just the price. Find out what really matters to them. Is it support? Is it guarantee? Whatever it is, find out. People make a decision for rational, emotional, logical, spontaneous, competitive, humanistic, and other reasons.
Differentiate yourself from the competition.
There are several ways you can differentiate your business:
- Improve – Many entrepreneurs think that their ideas have to be revolutionary. In reality, if you can improve on what your competitors do, you are in good shape. If you think of some super successful businesses, all they did was to improve on something already out there. For example, Facebook wasn’t the first social network, Google wasn’t the first search engine, and Starbucks wasn’t the first coffee shop.
- USP – Unique Selling Proposition will help you stand out from the crowd. Without a USP you are forced to compete on price alone and that’s a losing proposition. Your USP is that secret sauce that makes you a better business than your competitors.
- Guarantee – Offer a guarantee. Working with your customers will help you determine what would be the best guarantee to offer. If the customers complain about the delay, you can offer a time guarantee. Find out the custom pain points and tailor the guarantee around them. Never make claims you can’t fulfill.
Become an authority.
Authority sells. It’s a lot easier to sell when people look up to you. If you establish yourself as an industry authority, customers will seek you out. They will want to buy from you and you will no longer have to compete on price only.
How do you become an authority?
- Anti expert – Instead of calling yourself an expert, act like one. Present new ways to look at your industry. Show people new ways to look at your field. Challenge the status quo. Every time you speak, write an article or blog post, shot a video, or record audio, show that you are an expert.
- Details – Go into greater details than your competitors. For example, if you see a 2000 word blog post on how to start a business write a 4000-word blog post with much greater detail.
- Controversy – Challenge the status quo and be controversial, but not for the sake of controversy.
- Network – Reach out to influencers and ask for their input. To get attention, get in the sight of other authorities.
Use social media.
Social media is going to help you create greater visibility.
Here is how to make social media work for your business:
- Focus on the right social media channel. For example, if you are a B2C brand Facebook and Pinterest might work better than LinkedIn. Regardless of your assumptions, test various social networks.
- Sell less and give more. Offer information. Be helpful. Focus a lot less on selling than building relationships.
- Understand the social media channel. Not all social channels work the same way. You will have to change the way you communicate based on the network you are using.
- Create content people care about. Some of the most shared content is funny, educational, controversial, and visual.
- Use relevant hashtags. Although it is most effective on Twitter, hashtags are also very effective on other networks. For example, if you are targeting #entrepreneurs, #smallbusiness, or #startups, use the appropriate tags.