One of the biggest challenges small business owners face is getting more ideal customers through their doors and keeping them. I am sure you can relate to having the type of customer you wish you could clone!
The problem is mostly us; we are afraid to draw a line in the sand and make it clear that our products and services are not for everyone. Before you think about diluting your brand offering or price in order to serve everyone and anyone, here are five strategies you can use to attract the right customers.
1. Clarify your purpose.
A clear definition of why your company exist (i.e., your reason for being.) and how you provide a valuable and solution-oriented product or service is important.
Think of your company as a fixer. What are you fixing or making better for your customer? Your brand needs to solve a problem for a specific group of people in order to attract them. It is important to set a clear purpose and values (that you actually live by and believe in) so like-minded people can clearly identify with you.
2. Know your customers.
Successful brands invest a lot of time, effort and money in getting this process correct. Your ability to accurately identify who your customers are, is key for attracting and keeping your ideal customers. Take time out to learn about your current customers, what they like about your business and what they wish you were doing better.
Look beyond features and tap into emotional and psychological benefits. If you understand that you are not just selling a product, but solving a problem, customers will not only keep coming, they will bring more people from their network with them.
3. Create offerings that solve precise problems.
Another way to get more customers that you really enjoy selling to is to ensure you are selling something that does what it says it does and solves a pain point. If customers get results, there is a strong likelihood they will recommend your brand to other like-minded people. A referral is a strong source of business, so try your best to keep your brand promise.
4. Positioning, positioning, positioning.
This is a critical strategy that successful brands use to attract more ideal customers. “Brand positioning statements are often confused with company taglines or slogans. Positioning statements are for internal use. These statements guide the marketing and operating decisions of your business. A positioning statement helps you make key decisions that affect your customer’s perception of your brand (Cult Branding).”
Creating the right brand experience to inform a customer’s impression of your brand (guided by your positioning) will ensure ideal customers immediately recognize you as a go-to source. If you don’t develop a brand, then the market will brand you.
Go beyond design elements and think of your brand as a living entity, a person with a message, movement and culture. People like to feel they are a part of something. Creating a brand that makes people feel like they’re a part of something bigger is key.
5. Don’t sell, tell.
“According to LinkedIn Influencer and Contently co-founder Shane Snow, storytelling is the number one skill of the next 5 years. After all, who doesn’t love a good story… (Catchafire).” The best brands tell captivating stories.
Creating a brand story is a great way to get customers to engage and emotionally connect to your company. Your story isn’t just what you tell people or the content you create. Brand Story Strategist Bernadette Jiwa explains: “A brand story is more than content and a narrative. The story goes beyond what’s written in the copy on a website, the text in a brochure or the presentation used to pitch to investors or customers. Your story isn’t just what you tell people it’s also what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends. The story is a complete picture made up of facts, feelings and interpretations, which means that part of your story isn’t even told by you.”
The employees you hire, the type of paper and colors you use for your collateral (e.g., brochures, business cards, in-store design etc.) are all a part of that story.
Building a brand takes time and consistent effort. As a business owner, it is important that you believe in what you are selling. Often the culture of a small business stems from the personality of the founder. The key is to ensure you are able to match your passion with the desires of your ideal market. Today, it is not products that sell, its passion, purpose and connection.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Hanna Fitz , founder of Seashell Consulting Inc. , is a Brand Strategist and Business Coach with over nine years experience in new product and brand development. Hanna has worked with a number of award-winning brands and entrepreneurs in the Caribbean, Europe and North America. Her job is to help business owners find solutions to their #1 problem: getting more customers. To Hanna, building a brand is like building a dream that many people can benefit from. She has a first class honours degree in Corporate Management from Anglia Ruskin University, a LL.M in International Commercial Law from Northumbria University and Certificate in Managing Luxury brands. Connect with @hannagfitz on Twitter.
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