by Grace Barone
Maintaining a Steady Flow of Customers
Starting a small business can be a daunting task. If you've made that leap, congratulations! Now that your business is up and running the next hurdle you need to jump over is maintaining a steady flow of customers.
Whether you're just opening up or you're already established, the concept of getting customers in your business remains the same. You want to bring in as many people as you can.
You can have a great product and be in a prime location but if you're not actively taking steps to bring more customers in, you're setting your small business up for failure.
To ensure you're getting as many customers as possible into your small business. We've compiled a list of the top 5 ways you can get more customers into your small business.
Top 5 Ways to Get Customers at your Business
1. Offer Discounts and Promotions
This strategy is a great way to entice people into your business. Offering discounts and promotions not only helps bring in more customers, but it can also help make slower business hours more profitable.
If your customer reach has maxed out, implementing a new customer discount can be a great way to bring in some fresh faces. This is equally effective in new businesses as well as established ones.
The discount doesn't need to be giant, after all, you do still want to make a profit. Even offering a 10% discount to new customers can be enough to bring people in and have them come back.
Having a loyalty program is also a great way to have people come back. Customers want to feel appreciated. Rewarding loyal customers is a great way to say thank you for their consistent business. If your loyalty program is set up right, the chances of your loyal customers referring your business to others is much greater.
One of my hobbies is maintaining fish tanks. One of the local pet stores has something called the "fish club" for loyal customers. If you're a part of the "fish club" you get 25% off all fish as well as being notified if any other promotions are happening. Its a very well set up program and I always recommend them when anyone asks about pet stores.
Clover offers an array of POS systems that make offering these discounts incredibly easy. They have apps that you can download onto your device that do the work for you.
Generate Revenue Even During Slow Hours
Another way you can use discounts to your small businesses advantage, is figuring out when your slowest hours are. Say you have an ice cream shop. You may find out that mornings are very slow. With the Happy Hour app, you can set up a discount program that runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. Buy one scoop get the second free or 20% off all milkshakes, something like that. This creates incentive to go to your business during those times which in turns makes your slow times much more profitable. The app automatically applies the discount you set up, your employees won't need to manually apply it.
You can set up the discount to run for as long or as short as you want, it automatically starts and stops without you needing to do anything. Going along with the ice cream shop example, cold months are probably much slower than warm ones. Many ice cream shops close during the winter. You can apply a discount for an entire season. 50% off all ice cream from January through February. If the competing ice cream shops completely shut down during those months, and you're staying open as well as offering a sweet discount. Those customers will probably continue to come back.
Large chains offer these discounts all the time. Olive Garden has a weekday lunch special starting at $7.99. Modeling your deals off ones that have had proven success with large chains is a smart idea.
2. Have Proper Online Presence
We live in a world of technology, if your business doesn't have online presence you are missing out on a huge chunk of customers. Your small business should have a website, Facebook page and Instagram page at minimum.
Your website should depict all of the information you want your customers to know. If you own a restaurant, your menu should be easily found a long with your hours, and any deals you have going on. It's also a good idea to set up online ordering. Many customers prefer placing orders online when they want to order takeout and tend to place bigger orders online.
Social media is a great catalyst to promote and advertise your business for free. Although, most social media platforms now a days offer options to run ads so if you're willing to put some money towards social media advertisements, your business will get great exposure. 41% of local businesses depend on social media to drive revenue. When you set up an account, there is usually an option to make a business account. Having a business account gives you special features that focuses on advertisement and marketing efforts. If you advertise when you're having deals or promotions, more people are going to see it compared to just having things posted around your physical business. This will drive more people to your business.
If you dedicate time and effort into your social media presence, you are guaranteed to see some kind of results. Having a TikTok account may also be a smart move. TikTok is becoming one of the most popular social media platforms. Small businesses have found great success on the app in terms of marketing and advertising their business.
Continuing on with having the right online presence. Online reviews are incredibly important. Most people search online before buying or visiting a business. If you don't have reviews or maybe you only have bad ones, your business is going to suffer greatly. You should be encouraging your customers to leave reviews when they have a positive experience.
Verbally telling customers to leave reviews is not the most effective way. Clover POS systems have a built in feature where you can customize the bottom of the receipt. With this feature you can have a little message asking customers to leave you a review on Google or Yelp. If you want to increase the effectiveness you can add a QR code that brings customers straight to the Google review page or Yelp page. If you have a QR code you should also post it around your business to maximize your results.
If you want to push your customers to leave reviews you need to make sure they are being given stellar customer service. Make sure you train you employees well and have them prioritize positive customer experience.
3. Research your Competition
If you want to beat your competition you need to know exactly how they are operating. You should be doing diligent research on the businesses you are in direct competition with, especially if they seem to be having more success.
You should know what they are selling, how much they are selling it for and what kind of advertisement or deals they are running. When you are knowledgeable on the competition, you can better strategize and figure out how to beat them.
4. Participate in Community Events
Bringing your business outside into the public can be a great way to bring in more customers. Events like food drives, art shows, farmers markets, etc. Bringing your business to the customers will better your chances that they'll come to you the next time.
Going to events like these can also be a great networking opportunity. If you're going to an event that has other businesses close to yours, you can not only do some research on the competition but also link up with complementary businesses.
Teaming up to promote with a business that complements yours, but doesn't directly compete can be beneficial to both parties. Say you run a dog daycare business, teaming up with a business that offers dog training or dog grooming can help you both. You can highlight each others deals and promotion and also recommend each other if customers inquire about either one. Not only are you making a good business move by doing this, but you're also making an ally.
Joining your local chamber of commerce can be a great networking move. You can easily meet and connect with other local businesses. If you're a new business, getting to know the business owners around you can bring new opportunities, they might even share some tips on how to bring customers in.
5. Omni Channel Payments
Being able to accept multiple forms of payment will ensure you don't miss any sales. There are multiple forms of payments these days, card, cash and mobile. Clover offers POS systems that allow you to take them all. Contactless payments are gaining popularity, being able to pay from a cellphone is very convenient and not every machine has the capabilities to do so. Having this feature alone will help bring more customers into you business.
Offering and accepting gift cards is also an important feature to have integrated into you POS system. Clovers newest product the kiosk, can also be a tool to bring more customers into your business. The kiosk can maximize efficiency within your business for face to face transactions. The kiosk can also improve customer experience, giving your customers more of a reason to leave you a good review.
Ensuring you are able to take online orders will increase revenue as well. VMS can help you get a website set up and the Clover devices have an online ordering app that makes accepting online orders seamless.
If you decide to take your business to events, you should make sure you are able to take mobile payments. VMS offers a selection of mobile card readers that makes taking orders outside of your business hassle free.
Taking Steps to Bring more Customers to your Business
If you're a small business, having customers at your business is vital. No customers means no money. No money means no business. You want to make sure you are taking every step you can to get as many customers as possible.
By following these 5 tips on how to bring in more customers, you are setting your business up for success. VMS can help you set up your website for proper online presence, help educate you on Clovers apps and get you your own Clover device to have at your business. We believe in small business and will do everything we can to help your small business succeed! Fill out this form to learn more.