Getting Your First Customers
Are you struggling to get your first customers? For new businesses, this is a very common issue. In the following article, we will explain how to go from 0 to hero with your customer base.
Starting Your Business
After all the legal and tax documents are filed you are finally ready to open your doors and start getting customers. I was speaking to a client of mine who is a local St. Pete Chiropractor and he told me in school they taught him everything he needed to know about Chiropractic health; however, they never once taught him out to get customers. As a young and ambitious student in a school of chiropractic, you have dreams of opening up your first office. But without customers how do you make any money to stay open?
Most business owners specialize in their product and they don’t (and shouldn’t) specialize in marketing their business. You wouldn’t hire your mechanic to perform a root canal on your teeth right? Why would you hire a non-marketer as your business’s marketing manager? Seems like that would be doomed from the start.
So how do you start getting customers when you open up your business?
Simple answer: Marketing.
Obviously, a blog on a marketing website is going to bring up marketing as the end all be all right? Well not exactly.
Marketing is great for getting attention and awareness to your newly opened business but if you do not have the proper sales team in place to close these customers then your marketing will be less effective.
Once your marketing brings in customers, and your sales team closes them (books an appointment), now you are responsible for keeping the customer happy and have them return. The ultimate goal is to establish brand loyalty where your clientele visits regularly and spreads good word of mouth for your business.
Let’s start with marketing. What can you do?
First, you should absolutely create a marketing plan based on data and research. You can also order a custom marketing plan here: https://themarketer.co/product/marketing-plans/
Once your marketing plan is created it is important to stay consistent with it for a while. Most marketing plans take a few weeks to a few months to start showing results.
The basics of marketing are Outreach, Networking, & Content. You should be utilizing all three of these tactics within your marketing plan at different capacities.
Pro Tip: For a brand new business join a local BNI chapter
Overtime with the consistent use of outreach, networking, and content you will start to receive new customers. If you can properly execute a good customer experience most likely they will be back and bring their friends.
A quicker and more expensive way of getting new customers is to advertise directly offering your product or service to the exact people who need it.
Before you start an advertising campaign I would recommend having a professional write the copy on your ad and design the creative. Order these cheap DFY services here: https://themarketer.co/advertising/
The proper utilization of your marketing channels will bring attention to your business, however, you will quickly find that 9 out of 10 leads will fall through without the proper sales process in place.
Marketing will bring interested leads but closing them is not always easy.
A sales team could be simply you or an employee following up immediately with every lead or interested prospect.
When you are ready to hire your first employee you can use an employment screening company to ensure you hire the best person for the position.
With every referral, contact email or lead form submission you should be following up immediately, 48 hours out, and a week later.
Once a customer is on the phone it is important to listen to the exact needs of the customer and work out the best solution possible.
Customers do not want to feel like they are not being heard or just not important enough.
Make each customer feel like they are your favorite customer.
This brings me to the last point of getting customers
The Customer Experience
By this point, you have gained a lot of attention to your business, closed prospects on appointments and now you are getting customers to show up in person.
I would say by this point, you are only halfway done.
The last two steps would be to create a good customer experience and to remarket to past customers to keep them informed and feeling like they belong to a tribe of your business.
I can’t tell you how many times I have had a bad experience at a doctor’s office and decided I would never come back. I can’t even remember the names of those doctors. You can bet that I have never sent them any referrals either.
If you focus on keeping your customers happy they will always come back and spread the word about your business. 1 lead will turn into 1 customer who comes back each month and each month they bring 1 more friend. From 1 lead you could potentially gain 12 new customers over time by keeping that customer happy.
My marketing agency, The Marketer, gets constant referrals from past clients who we did great work for and kept them happy. Also, those clients have stayed loyal to my agency also.
Once a customer or client leaves your store, it is important to have a plan on following up with these people.
We use ActiveCampaign for our customers. This is a great email and SMS marketing platform that helps me stay in front of my past customers, notify them of promotions, and give them special birthday emails.
This keeps my agency top of mind if they hear someone is looking for a marketing agency or maybe they may discover we offer a service they had no idea that we offered.
Once you open the doors of your business, immediately start marketing.
Join networking groups, reach out directly to ideal prospects (LinkedIn), and publish valuable content that is purposed for your target audience.
Once leads and referrals start reaching out, implement a swift follow up and sales process to close them.
When the customer visits your in-person location, make sure you do everything to keep their experience as good as it can be. Keep your facilities clean and smelling good, every employee should be pleasant and sweet. Your customers should feel comfortable and at home in your store.
After a customer leaves happy after purchase, send them an email with a coupon just for making their first purchase.
“We appreciate your business so much, here is 30% off your next purchase”
Following these four important steps, you will have a large returning customer base who are loyal and brand advocates.
If you need help setting up your marketing and sales funnels, look no further.