ASK SCORE: How are you attracting new customers?

Published 8:37 pm Monday, January 6, 2014

Every business needs to attract new customers to remain viable. Your marketing plan should have a clear focus on just how you are going to do that.

Have you ever recommended a restaurant or retailer or medical provider to a friend? Most of us have, and it is because we were highly satisfied by the service we received. As a small businessperson, your strongest proponent in finding new customers is a base of highly satisfied customers. Nothing works better.

You can add to this quantity of new customers by getting your message in front of prospects regularly.  This might be through PR or advertising or web marketing. The key is learning where it is in prospects’ daily activities that you might intercept them.  Knowing your current customers well will inform you where you will find similar prospects for your products and services. Do they tend to read the newspaper? Watch TV? Listen to the radio at drive time? Drive by your place of business? Search the web for services and products like yours?

If your answer is several of these “locations,” then you must figure out which ones are most important, and which ones are most efficient. What will it cost to reach each thousand prospective customers with your message? Fortunately, providers of media are expert at helping you do the latter. But knowing your customers well will guide you to judging the best way to “reach” your prospects.

After insuring your regular customers are satisfied such that they will tell their friends and neighbors about your offering, you might look to advertising and PR to help customers get to know your business. Once your prospects are familiar with what you do, you have a head start for making the case that you’re someone they should do business with.

Placing ads is a common, straightforward process today, once you know whom you want to reach, how you are going to reach them and what your message is.  And good media providers and agencies can assist you in that process. PR is a tool you should also consider.  The emphasis is on raising awareness about your business and creating a positive connection with your market. So, look for news worth sharing, like receiving an award, an important milestone, a new product, a new or additional location, or any other special event, and get the news out.

An effort to reach out to new prospects will pay its way in building your business.

SCORE is a national, nonprofit organization that offers confidential and free counseling to small businesses. In the greater Washington area, contact SCORE by leaving a phone message at 252-974-1848, by visiting the website at or visiting the office on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the JobLink building, 1385 John Small Ave., Washington.