Having customers is great – having more customer is even better and a lot of businesses want to know how to make that happen.
There are many different ways to attract customers but making the choice about which to channel to use should be influenced by your target audience, your product or service and your brand values, or position.
You also need to consider what you want your customer to do as a result of seeing/hearing about your business – are you wanting them to purchase something immediately or do you want them to subscribe to something so that they enter a sales funnel; are you expecting them to visit your shop, your website, or pick up the phone? It is important that it is clear to potential new customers what you want them to do. All communications should aim to move people through your mapped customer journey.
This article will look at the pros and cons of the different ways of attracting new customers in a general way – it is important that when you consider each channel you do so with your target audience in mind.
Advertising takes many forms – online, offline in print media; tv, radio; digital radio. It can be sub-divided into brand advertising and direct response – the former promoting your product and the latter “selling” or eliciting a response. You will need to decide whether brand or direct response advertising is what your business needs and what your potential new customers will react to.
- You control the message
- There are a myriad of advertising channels to choose from
- You can choose to be niche or mass market
- In some cases – particularly digital platforms – you can control the spend.
- The cost is often a major barrier to embarking on an advertising campaign, particularly in mainstream media
- Measuring response – businesses often find it difficult to measure response from advertising so they are unable to tell if their spend is delivering a return on investment.
Traditionally thought of as “junk mail”, Direct Mail can be extremely targeted and an effective way of reaching your audience – if you know where to find them.
- You control the message, the delivery timing and the recipients
- Highly targeted
- It is easy to track response
- It can be highly informative
- It can help you stand out
- Costly – whilst print is inexpensive, postage is not and it can be this alone that influences whether to use a Direct Mail campaign or not.
Using Royal Mail, a third party distributor, or doing it yourself – this gets your message to the right people whilst avoiding potentially high distribution costs.
- Control of the message and the delivery timing
- Can be highly targeted using profiling databases such as CAMEO or PRIZM or MOSAIC
- Easy to track response
- Can help you stand out
- Perception of your business through this channel – though this is less of a problem thesedays.
Direct to your inbox! The cheaper version of Direct Mail – Emails remove the postage price but come at their own cost.
- This can be very cheap – with just the list of addresses to purchase
- Can be highly targeted
- Can directly monitor response
- Competing against the other 146 emails that the average adult receives every day.
Perceived as impartial PR (public relations) can help build your brand name in a crowded market.
- Often perceived to be free or cheap but PR professionals work hard and are not cheap.
- Provides a seemingly independent view of your products or business
- You don’t have total control over the message
- You don’t have control over the timing of publication
- No guarantee of publication.
Often seen to be the panacea for all marketing problems, social media has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages
- It is perceived to be free or cheap
- It can be highly targeted, if you know how to use it properly
- It can be very time consuming to use social media correctly
- Things can be mis-interpreted and go viral for all the wrong reasons!
- You have very little control
Exhibitions and Seminars
Once the key to business to business marketing these have dropped out of favour for a lot of organisations.
- Highly targeted
- Allows for 1-2-1 conversations with your potential customers
- Difficult to track response
Working with a complimentary business to promote your business and theirs to the same result (more new customers)
- You effectively borrow the brand equity from the other brand
- Often cheap to execute
- Measurement can be difficult
- If the partner brand falls into disrepute it can harm your brand too.
Overall, there are lots of options for attracting new customers – the key to success is to know where these customers are, and what message will influence them. Once you know that then success isn’t far away.