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By Damilola Faustino

When a business is small, finding ways to bring in business usually falls on the business owner’s shoulders. But business owners often don’t have much experience in marketing or selling. If you’re a startup or an existing business that’s looking for more ways to grow your customer base, these strategies will help:

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Develop a plan for customer acquisition 

The secret to creating a successful acquisition plan is to know who would make the ideal customer. If you sell to businesses, consider what department is most likely to buy your products or services, and what individual would be the one to determine the specific purchase requirements.

Look for and follow business prospects on social media 

Don’t try to sell to them on their social media feeds. Instead, try to develop relationships with potential customers. Retweet or comment on their posts. Mention them if appropriate in your own social media posts. Your goal is to get known and seen as a friend. Selling is a lot easier when you sell to people who feel like they know you.

Work your local newspapers 

Even in the digital age, daily and weekly newspapers are still an incredible source of contact information and leads to potential new customers. Watch for names of people who have been promoted, who have won awards, who have opened new businesses, or who in any way may be potential customers. Send those people personalised mailings congratulating them on their success or telling them how interesting the article about them was. Include your company name and slogan plus any appropriate product information with your signature.

Be sure your website and social media pages make it easy for visitors to know how to reach you 

Better yet,  give them a reason to give you their contact information.  An offer of a free newsletter, a free guide to something related to your industry, or a coupon can all be good devices to use for lead capture. Then follow up regularly on those leads.

Attend meetings and seminars that your prospects might attend

If you’ve been doing that and haven’t made contacts that could lead to sales, try new networking groups. Look in the newspapers to see what other organisations hold events that might attract your target market and attend some of those meetings.

Follow up after meetings

Contact the people you’ve met to see if they may be prospects. If they say they don’t need your services now, ask when a good time to call them back would be, or if they have business associates who could use what you sell now.

 Give a little to get a lot

To acquire new customers, you need to build trust. And one of the best ways to do that is to give away free samples of your product and ask the recipients to tell their friends if they are pleased. Or, if you are a consultant, give away some free advice. This could be in the form of a newsletter with that contains news or tips and hints, or it could be a free consultation during which you provide just enough information to help the client scope out their project and know that you have the ability to handle it.

Read also: 5 Ways To Market Your Business Website

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