The holiday shopping season is here. Despite the uptick in sales retail businesses can expect to see, the majority of businesses see a slow down over the holidays — instead of paying for business services they’re spending time with their families and in preparation for the holidays. As such, many small business owners lower their expectations and revenue goals. However, it is possible to grow your business during the holiday slump. One of the keys to thriving is to find new customers for your business while keeping your old ones.
Here is a list of places where you can find new customers.
Take Advantage of Social Media
If done correctly, social media can certainly contribute to your success. Most of these social media networks have similar characteristics – which means that your success will be scalable. Learn one network and expanding to others will be easy.
1. Facebook – In need of new customers? Look up your facebook friends. Ask your friends to see if any of them are in the market for your products or services. Facebook Fan Pages and Ads can also be a great way to garner interest.
2. Linkedin – Linkedin is not only for professional networking! It is much more than that. Joining Linkedin groups is one of the easiest way to reach out to potential customers. Reaching out can be done as easy as having discussion of certain topics, asking questions or posting answer to those questions.
3. Meetup.com – One of the most unassuming places to meet new customers is meetup groups. Most meetups are extremely targeted so you instantly get access to individuals that fit your target niche.
4. Printed Newsletter and Fliers – Despite the buzz of the online world, print media still has a place in marketing, especially as most businesses have neglected traditional forms of marketing. Design the newsletter and fliers in an interesting way and you’ll be surprised of the response you’ll get.
5. Bulletin Boards – Physical bulletin boards still exist in many places. Many people still put up all kinds of things on the board, and likewise, many people still read them.
6. Browse the Local Newspaper – Newspapers are a good source of contact and leads for your business. People who have won awards, are getting married, or have just opened a new business can be great potential customers.
In Real Life
Customers are just normal people like you and me. If approached with respect and tact you can turn every day interactions into opportunities to find new customers.
7. On the commuter bus or train/plane – You’ll be surprised at the diverse kinds of people you’ll find on board the bus, train or plane. Sometimes business chances can present itself in different ways, so bring some extra business cards and use this occasion to tell people about your business.
8. At the gym, restaurant or coffee shop – It is amazing how much business you can get from these places. A casual conversation can turn into a business deal and a stranger can turn into a customer. If you meet someone who may need your service, hand them a business card and schedule a time for a sales pitch.
9. Attending a business function – While networking is possible in many different places, attending business functions will give you more chances of meeting contacts who are able to help you by either purchasing from you or referring business to you.
10. Participating in a sports activity – Not only is it healthy for you, sports groups or clubs can be a great place to meet prospective customers.
11. At your mosque, church, temple, synagogue – What better place to meet new customers than where you worship with people of the same faith. Religious communities are known to lend their support to each other’s business. This makes sense as people with same faith usually trust and like each other.
12. In the Community – Regardless of the nature of your business, become active in your local community to enhance the presence of your business and help potential customers feel connected to you.
13. At the home of a friend or relative – The economic uncertainty makes family get togethers grow in importance. This opens up opportunities to find new customers in an informal and relaxed environment.
14. At an entertainment or cultural event – These events have the potential to gather market participants together. Being involved in these events gives you more exposure to potential customers.
15. Any Other Places You Visit – Whether it’s kids’ birthday parties, parks and playgrounds, hair saloons, theme parks or even a funeral parlour, always bring your business cards with you. Remember to have a respectful conversation and don’t be pushy, as they could be your client someday.
16. Your Existing Customers – You can find new customers from your old customers’ referrals. So, make it appoint to ask current customers for referrals – especially after you’ve just provided them services!
Education and Business Community
17. In the Classroom – Being a teacher or tutor will get you up to date with the knowledge and at the same time will get you recognition for your expertise. It will put you forward for recommendation if somebody needed your business. Most community education programs are always in need of teachers and it’s often not required that you have formal education yourself.
18. At Seminars – Look out for seminars that might attract your target market. A list of attendees can be useful as a potential lists of new customers.
19. At Business Conferences – Just about every industry has a few conferences related to it. Getting involved in this conference is a great way to connect with the people of the industry.
20. Within Your Alumni Network – Alumni Networks are great places to find new customers. It’s amazing to know what people may be doing after school or college. Playing the alumni card often gets you a great response and may get your business new customers. Most Alumni Networks have a LinkedIn group you can join – and from there you’ll know who you can contact for business opportunities.
Other Internet Tools
21. Email – Finding new customers through email can be a little tricky. However, if you are an expert and can craft regular (monthly or bi-monthly) emails with valuable information then you can start an email newsletter with family and friends as your first recipients. Look for others to add (with their permission) via all 23 of the other ideas in this article.
22. Blogs – It’s not a magic bullet, but can be a great source of long term growth of your customer base. Update your blog regularly and try to connect with your readers.
23. Web Forums – Whether you’re in construction, shipping and transport, financial management, or some other industry, there are a slew of other forums on the internet that you likely don’t even know exist. Choose a forum that caters your specific business interest, and actively get involved in it. Having a good relationship with other members is also a good way to attract them to your business.
24. In Online Communities – Similar to web forums, there are also countless web communities out there. Join the conversation on these websites and try to look around for people of your target profile. You can also ask moderators to run an advertisement for you. Google+ has a great selection of communities you can start interacting with.
These 24 places for your business to find new customers is just a start. Do you know any other places to find new customers and want to share it with us? Write it below in the comments. If you liked this article, please share it!