Written by Jodie Pride
10th May 2015 • 8 min read
When you’re a small or new retailer it’s hard enough to build a solid customer base, even among those who are in obvious need of your products or services. But once you’ve secured that loyal customer base, how do you make yourself known to people who need you, but just don’t know it yet?There’s plenty of potential customers out there who could benefit from your services but aren’t aware they need them – you just have to find them and educate them.
It’s all about the research
Yeah, we know research isn’t exactly the most exhilarating activity, but you need to do your homework if you want to identify those key unreachables because you may just be surprised at the markets you could tap into. Check out your current demographics and website visitors, as well as your followers on social media to determine the kind of audiences you are and are not connecting with.
This could help you identify a gap, or enlighten you to some customers you didn’t think would be the typical user of your products or services. While you’re at it, have a snoop around your competitors’ to see what kind of audience they are appealing to – you may find that you’re missing out on a slice of the market to a competitor that’s more aware of those unreachable individuals.
Focus groups and surveys are a great way of gathering more information from your customers. If you talk to people who actually use your products, you can find out a lot about your current audience, and if you talk to those who don’t use your product, you can find out why and how you could appeal to them.
You need to ask why these groups are uninformed or uninterested in your business, and whether they are aware of what you are offering in the first place.
Appeal to a wider audience
You may find that you need to cast a wider a net with your marketing techniques, as you could be missing out on a large chunk of market share if your branding only appeals to one group of individuals.
If you’re selling protein powder, for example, you don’t have to focus on super masculine macho imagery in your promotions because it’s not just gym-hungry males who might benefit from your product: plenty of women could take advantage of protein shakes as a quick and nutritional meal replacement, but maybe they don’t know that or think that protein might make them “bulk up” – or maybe that is what they’re after, who knows? You could try selling your protein shakes, or small samples of it at women’s only gyms and tweaking around your branding to to double your market share.
Show that wider audience what they’re missing by not using your products/services. Use real life, relatable scenarios to show them exactly why they need you and how they would benefit from using your products.
How are your potential customers supposed to know that their lives can be vastly improved by your product if there’s not enough information readily available about it? No one is going to go out of their way to find information on your product, especially if they’re not your typical customer and don’t realise that they need you.
Make sure that your website is easily accessible and easy to navigate; don’t fill it up with industry jargon because your average Joe who might need your product might not understand industry-speak and might abandon your site for a competitor that explains their product better.
Offer incentives to share
The more sharable your content is, the more likely you are to reach those elusive customers. If you make great and informative blog post or video content, share it on social media and you could reach customers who wouldn’t have known you existed if their friend hadn’t liked your content on Facebook.
A customer who has come to you from a referral or after checking out a glowing review of your company has already listened to the words of a source they trust. Sky TV, for example, offers £100 to both the customer and their friend if they sign up to a television package which is incentive for the customer to share with their friend, and the friend who relies on the trusted opinion of their referee to get a great product, and gets £100 in their pocket.
Show your credibility
If you have any noteworthy awards or positive press coverage, or contribute to any local causes (charity work, the environment etc.) then make sure that these achievements are proudly displayed on your homepage. Your volunteer work could set you apart from other companies who don’t make as much effort to give back, and those awards may make you stand out from the competition and get across the message that you’re not just an option, you’re the best option.
The more forms of credibility you display, the better. Sponsor a local sports team? Donated to a local charity? Are you particularly green? Won an award for outstanding service? Make sure your potential customers can clearly see these. Customer testimonials are another great way to show off your credibility, and arguably easier to come by than an award from a 3rd party, so email customers who love you and ask them for a few words on why they use your services, and maybe add a picture of their friendly face.
As you can see, it’s not impossible to reach those customers who don’t know you exist and may not know they need you. You just need to follow these simple tips, and you should find that more customers are discovering your company.
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