How To Attract Customers As A Start Up

You run a fantastic company. You make amazing products or provide a brilliant service. So why are you not getting the customers?

The simple answer is: if people don’t know you exist, they can’t buy from you. And if your competitors are making more noise than you, they will get the business.

At AD:VENTURE we want to help people set up businesses and grow those businesses. And if you want to scale up your business you need to bring in customers. And to bring in customers you need people to know about you.

But all this costs money, you say. Well it doesn’t have to. There are ways and means of getting out there that don’t cost loads of money. They might cost time and effort, but they don’t need to cost you loads of dosh.

Yes, you can pay for advertising to tell people about your business. But there are other ways. Do you use social media? Do you go online and look at websites? And what about magazines, newspapers, radio and TV? You can use all of these channels and you don’t have to pay a lot to get your name out there.

Where to begin? Well, first of all, think about where your customers are and what media they are consuming. Are they on Facebook? Do they read the trade press? Are they local to your business? Or do you sell around the UK or the world?

Let’s start with social media. You don’t have to be on every platform, better to do one or two well than stretch across too many. The most important thing is where are your customers, or potential customers, hanging out?

It might be a LinkedIn group; it might be on Facebook, or maybe your business is very visual and they are on Instagram or Pinterest, or bouncing ideas off each other on Twitter. Wherever they are, go there!

But don’t sell to them; build a relationship. Nobody wants to be sold to, but people like interesting content and useful advice. Use that to your advantage. There is a theory that 80 per cent of your content should be interesting and then 20 per cent can be sales messaging.

People love visuals and particularly video. These days all phones can film video good enough to be used on social media. So how about using video? Or taking photos? But do remember that your online presence needs to reflect your brand values. So, if you are selling something high value, it doesn’t look good if your online presence looks amateurish. It might be tempting to give the social media management to the youngest member of the team, but you must keep in mind that, while it is social and personable, it also needs to be professional.

And what about the traditional press? You can get featured in there too. Journalists and producers are looking for stories to fill space. To put it bluntly they need content, and you can provide that content. So, what can you tell them about your company? It might be the new contract you have just won, the new member of staff you have just taken on or the new product you have developed.

The best way to approach the traditional media is by email and the best way to tell them the story is the good old-fashioned press release. It still works, even in these days of everything being online and connected. Basically, the press release is the story. Tell them who you are, what you are doing, where, when, why and how. That is the story!

Another way to get free publicity is to be an expert on a business topic. You might know all about finance or the law or dogs or exporting, or even just running a business. Whatever it is, journalists and producers may be interested in getting your opinion and your comments on stories. And you will be seen as the expert on that topic, and a person I can trust to do business with. And remember ultimately people do business with people.

And also remember AD:VENTURE is here to give you all the advice you need to grow your business, including how to market it.There are other support programmes out there; ones that are focussed on digital, manufacturing, innovation and productivity, and there are loads of events too to help you meet others and get inspiration. It’s worth a look at the Leeds City Region LEP website to get some more ideas and more support.

After all – you are worth it!

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