When running a business, repeat customers are one of your best assets. They provide a steady flow of income (most of the time), and they’re valued people you already have a history with. Though there’s the possibility that they will jump ship when something better comes their way, you can’t discount how big of a help they’ve been to you.

With that in mind, you start thinking of ideas on how to gain and cater to new customers. While they may not look like it, taking in new people who want to experience what you offer can also be a big aid. Not only do you get to make a first impression on them, but it’s also easier for you to get them to try your newer services.

Of course, getting new customers first is your duty. How do you do it, aside from wowing potential consumers with a great copy and killer PowerPoint presentation (perhaps designed by an awesome presentation design agency)? By being creative and clever. Here are three ways you can hook them with your wit.

Offer Free Trials

People love free stuff. It’s a trend both businesses and consumers take advantage of. So why don’t you do the same?

On the onset, it may look like businesses are losing potential profits from giving away stuff for free, but thanks to the reciprocity principle, people feel obliged to come back and avail of the service even if it’s without charge.

Let’s look at a giant of an example. AOL offered free trials of their services (1000 hours!) in the form of floppy discs and eventually CDs during the early 90s, surviving with two hundred thousand subscribers. When the millennium turned, they had more than twenty-five million account users. It’s safe to say that their marketing strategy worked.

Take a few notes from free trials. A properly handled tactic like this will pull through in the end.

Invest in Customer Advertising

If people like free stuff, how would you like to experience the same thing? Pretty sure you do.

Advertising takes away a major chunk of your revenue. In 2013, Procter & Gamble spent $5 billion on ads. Sure, it’s a really big company, but at least you have an idea of how much can be spent just to promote, publicize, and market products.

What if you can save $5 billion? What if you can turn to your customers for free advertising? This is what Coca-Cola did during their “Share a Coke” campaign in 2015. The crux of the whole advertising tactic was letting people get a Coke bottle with their name and sharing it online. Soon, almost everyone wanted their pictures taken, no matter how unique their names were. It’s simple, effective, and very successful. Best of all, the customers did most of the advertising.

Having this personal connection with your existing customer base is a great way to hook new ones. For the latter, it’s about seeing the former’s experiences and wanting it for their own. For the former, it’s about continuing that bond with your company and directly helping it.

Hold Contests and Giveaways

Hosting a contest sounds like a lot of work. Mechanics, prizes, following up, etc. But there are a lot of companies that still do it because of the great returns. It can be a small one or a big endeavor, but the most important thing is that both business and customers benefit.

A great initiative was Visa’s Ideas Happen. It was a contest where young people were encouraged to come up with and share their great ideas. Twelve won $25,000 and were trained to make and realize their ideas. Visa benefited from the incredible media and online attention, and the winners benefited from the prizes.

Contests are also a great way to cater not only to your existing customer base but also to new ones by showing them that you’re reaching out to both groups. It also builds your reputation as a good company that knows what its customers’ side interests are.

Getting new customers makes you realize how many people want and/or need your services. It’s a good pat on the back that shows you’re taking the right steps forward with your company. Doesn’t that feel good?

Once you’ve established yourself as a business that takes its customers seriously, then with a little push, everything will follow. Until and by then, make your company consistent. Don’t lose sight of the reasons why you’ve got this far: your own hard work and your customers.

Resources:

Gerber, Scott. “10 Companies That Hit the Bullseye With Online Contests.” Mashable. January 9, 2012. www.mashable.com/2012/01/09/online-contests/#h8YOBLdrgmq9

Michael, Paul. “The Psychology of Free, and Its Power Over You.” WiseBread. December 12, 2011. www.wisebread.com/the-psychology-of-free-and-its-power-over-you

Siegler, MG. “How Much Did It Cost AOL To Send Us Those CDs In The 90s? ‘A Lot!,’ Says Steve Case.” Techcrunch. December 27, 2010. www.techcrunch.com/2010/12/27/aol-discs-90s

Tarver, Evan. “What Makes the ‘Share a Coke’ Campaign So Successful? (KO).” Investopedia. October 7, 2015. www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/100715/what-makes-share-coke-campaign-so-successful.asp

Taube, Aaron. “The 12 Companies That Spend The Most On Advertising.” Business Insider. June 25, 2014. www.businessinsider.com/12-biggest-advertising-spenders-in-2013-2014-6?op=1/#morgan-chase-spent-188-billion-on-ads-1

White, Martha C. “5 Ways Companies Win by Giving Stuff Away.” Time. June 24, 2013. business.time.com/2013/06/24/5-ways-companies-win-by-giving-stuff-away

“10 Creative Tips to Attract New Customers.” YFS Magazine. November 22, 2011. www.yfsmagazine.com/2011/11/22/10-creative-tips-to-attract-new-customers

rick-enricoAuthor: Rick Enrico is the CEO and Founder of SlideGenius Inc. He regularly publishes expert presentation tips on the SlideGenius Blog. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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