How can you attract new customers? It’s the $84 million question.
And there’s no single answer. There are a variety of approaches, and each one won’t be the best match for every business. That may sound daunting, but it’s actually liberating: You’re free to design the strategy that works best to attract the types of customers you are targeting.
And the key to designing the best strategy is to know your customer well.
Attract new customers by asking the right questions
Where do they hang out online? What blogs do they read? Which Twitter voices do they follow? What kinds of images resonate with them? What kinds of information intrigues them? What kind of content will they value? What kinds of media do they trust? Who are their heroes? What makes them laugh?
Of course, every customer won’t fit into the same exact box, but trying to answer these types of questions for your ideal typic customer will set you on the best path toward figuring out where to focus your marketing efforts.
And it’s worth noting that the answers to these questions can identify broad themes, personality characteristics, or beliefs, instead of focusing on narrow topics. For example, an ideal Apple customer isn’t just someone who reads blogs about computers. Apples wants to also attract people who like blogs about design, marketing, entrepreneurship, progressive politics, social change, and the nature of modern society. What’s the common thread? Apple’s ideal customers are those who are creative, entrepreneurial, modern, open-minded, and looking toward the future with optimism.
Think broadly about who your ideal customers really are, and the right marketing strategies will become much more obvious as you align your brand messaging to tap into their preferences and fit their worldview.
Use several methods of engagement to attract new customers
Now that mobile is king and apps are proliferating, marketing is by necessity a full-surround endeavor. You don’t need to use all these strategies, and the tried-and-true method of trial and error is always going to be your friend in this business. But go in knowing that some combination of these are going to central to setting up a killer strategy.
Social media marketing: This is the big one these days, and for an obvious reason: Social media platforms give you immediate and dynamic access to your audience. Use various strategies, such as designing viral campaigns, cultivating a strong and unique social persona, interacting promptly and authentically with your networks, and pushing out quality free content that can attract leads. Step carefully, though: With 120+ content delivery channels at your fingertips, it’s only realistic to be choosy about where you put your energy.
Search marketing: While search algorithms constantly change, making SEO less vital than it may have been in the past, marketing with search engines in mind should still be a focus of your efforts to attract customers. Search marketing includes search-engine optimization (SEO) and search-engine marketing (SEM) — that is, increasing your search traffic via unpaid and paid strategies.
Online PR: This strategy is all about getting your name out there in ways that you don’t pay for, just like traditional PR firms work to get their clients’ work covered by magazines, newspapers, and other outlets. This tactic involves reaching out to site publishers and bloggers, getting involved in awards or other events, developing relationships with social media influencers, alerting traditional media of your activities, and getting your name associated with organizations that can boost your brand recognition.
Partnerships: A great way to attract your ideal customers is to partner with others who are targeting the same type of person. There are many ways to set up such relationships, including affiliate marketing, co-branding, cooperating on special offers, and leveraging your distribution channels. The best kind of partnership are those that build something — a campaign, a new offering — that is bigger than the sum of its parts.
Interactive advertising: The key to converting customers is getting them engaged with your brand beyond their role as passive observers. One great method of doing so is interactive advertising, in which you solicit your viewers to get involved in some enjoyable way, such as playing a game or entering a contest. This can attract leads who will supply their contact information in order to gain access to the interactive element.
Be strategic and keep trying
The marketing strategies listed above are all good options, but as stated at the top of this post, you’ll always do best at attracting ideal customers if you know who you are aiming to talk to. So do that due diligence first and then fit your marketing methods to that profile.
Even with that kind of planning, success is never easy or assured. Your mantra for marketing should always be: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”