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Small Businesses: How to Get More Customers Through Your Doors

4-minute read

A barber uses a clipper to give a new customer a buzzcut in his barbershop.
Mariah Bliss

Mariah Bliss

11 May 2020

You’re ready to have your small business bounce back — and in order to do that, you need a lot more customers, fast.

Fortunately, you don’t need a six-figure marketing budget to get customers through your business’s doors. There are lots of inventive — and sometimes free — strategies that can let your customers know you’re back open for business.

And I’m about to show you what they are.

So whether you’re a self-employed house painter or you own an accounting business with a few employees, take a look at the best answers on how to get more customers, so you can get your business back on track!

7 Lightning-Fast Ways to Get Customers Through Your Small Business’s Doors

1. Fire up your social media.

Your business’s social media accounts should be sounding the alarm that your business is back and ready for customers.

Don’t just settle for a single post, either — it’s too easy for customers to miss a critical update. Post regularly about your business hours, any promotional deals you’re offering, or how you’re planning on keeping customers’ and employees’ safety at the forefront of your business.

Want a quick head start on your social media posts? Check out FREE downloadable Facebook post templates for small businesses.

2. Avoid relying on only one communication channel.

Don’t just update your social media channels and be done with it. Your future customers are everywhere, so you’ll need to use more than one communication channel to get their attention.

That’s why I recommend sending updates about your business (whether it’s that you’re open again or you’re offering special promotions) via most or all of the following channels:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Text
  • Social media (including NextDoor)
  • Flyers
  • Other customers
  • Job sites (like HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, etc.)

Make sure you have the right permissions to message your customers directly, especially if you’re planning on emailing, calling, or texting them.

3. Convince customers why they should buy with you.

Now is not the time to be coy about all the wonderful things your business has to offer. If you want more customers to rush through your doors, shout your benefits from the rooftops.

For example, if you have decades of experience in the industry, make that a highlight of your marketing efforts. Another example is you could offer free at-home consultations, so be sure to mention that as well. If your customers seem surprised when they learn about your benefits, then you’re not being aggressive enough highlighting what makes you, you.

One hint: Don’t be shy about advertising the fact that you have business insurance (and if you don’t have it, be sure you get it!). Customers and clients want to feel good about the people they choose to work with on projects, and your being insured can play a critical role in helping them feel more confident about hiring you.

Building a foundation of trust and safety is critical to getting more customers, regardless of your industry. That means if you carry licensing, certification, and/or business insurance that’s relevant to your industry, you can use those benefits to show your customers that their safety has been — and always will be — your top priority!

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4. Call and text your existing customers.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ignored calls from unknown numbers on my phone, only to listen to the voicemail afterward and realize it was someone I had hired for a project.

But if I get a text message from an unknown number? I always read it.

Turns out I’m not unique with this behavior. It’s estimated that 90% of customers open a text message within the first three minutes of receiving it. Plus, marketing-based text messages boast an average response rate of about 45%.

That’s why, if you’re thinking of calling your existing customers to let them know you’re back in business, you may want to consider texting them first (if you have their permission). It’s more effective at getting any important announcements out there, plus it gives you the opportunity to have conversations to better understand what your customers may want to see from your business.

5. Set up targeted online advertising.

Chances are that the majority of your first-time customers are going to find you online. That means it’s worth investing time in your online presence right now, beyond social media, because it could bring a lot more folks to your door over the long run.

Simply U has a lot of content for small business owners and self-employed people who want to make the most of online marketing. Check out our most popular pieces and let us know how they work out for you.

6. Let word-of-mouth marketing do its thing.

If you have a few customers who rave about your business, it’s worth asking them to spread the word about your services. Depending on your industry, consider sweetening the deal by providing them with an enticing referral discount or a free product.

Word-of-mouth marketing can feel like a random game of chance, but there’s actually some interesting science behind it. Learn more about how to get more customers with word-of-mouth marketing with our FREE downloadable guide.

7. Team up with other small business owners.

Right now, other small businesses might be in the same boat as you, so why not team up with them to build up your customer base together?

Reach out to other entrepreneurs in your local area. Consider forming partnerships with another business that offers a service or product tangential to what you offer.

For example, if you’re a handyman, consider partnering with an electrical contractor who you can recommend if one of your customers needs lighting installed. As another example, if you’re a photographer, teaming up with a local website developer could help both of you build your customer base without directly competing with each other.

Mariah Bliss

Written by

Mariah Bliss

I love writing about the small business experience because I happen to be a small business owner - I've had a freelance copywriting business for over 10 years. In addition to that, I also head up the content strategy here at Simply Business. Reach out if you have a great idea for an article or just want to say hi!

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