Customer Focus, Marketing Strategy

How to Reach Customers Sooner in their Journey to Grow your Small Business

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When it comes to promoting your business, it’s natural to focus on the problem you’re solving. Your goal is to offer a product or service that meets that need. But what if you could reach customers sooner, before that need has even presented itself?

In 2021, with online business booming and social media ever-expanding, competition is everywhere. While you have your own unique skills, no matter what industry you’re in, you are likely to be one of many! So while standing out amongst the crowd is essential, getting in early is an added bonus.

In this post, I’ll explore why aiming to reach customers sooner should be an important element of your marketing strategy. I’ll also outline some of my top tips for doing so! Let’s dive in.

Why did your customers choose you?

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One of the simplest ways to figure out how to reach customers sooner is to work backwards. So, the first thing you have to do, is uncover why your existing customers chose you!

This means speaking to the people who have already bought from you and asking the following questions:

  1. Why did they ultimately choose to go with you?
  2. What other option did they try before they came to you (other services, different brands, etc)?
  3. What related issues did they encounter before the trigger that sent them your way?

When you have this information available, it allows you to fully map out your customer journey, as far back as before they first encountered you. Knowing what they did before they came looking for you means you can find opportunities to connect with potential customers earlier!

Become their “go-to” brand

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Our approach to advertising is often to tailor our content towards the people we know are already looking for our services or products. When trying to reach customers sooner, however, a huge plus is to become their “go-to” brand, before the intention to buy is already formed.

For example, if you sell golfing equipment, you might create content aimed at experienced golfers, showing your expertise. Your aim is to make people buy new clubs, so your imagery, captions, and any paid advertising audiences, will focus on golf fanatics, looking to upgrade their gear.

This is a great starting point. The problem is, you’re cutting off a massive group of potential customers by failing to engage with them before that intent to buy is there.

Here, it comes down to brand awareness. Instead of solely focusing on the pros, start putting yourself in front of these customers when their interest in golf has just been piqued. Offer tips and advice on getting started – “must have” advice for beginners. Create books or downloadables they can engage with early.

Then, when it’s finally time to buy a set of clubs – you know who they’ll turn to!

Focus on highlighting the benefits

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When you’re creating content, ask yourself – how could you help beginners or even non-golfers, who haven’t set foot on a course, realise that golf is for them? When you start to approach your marketing from this point of view, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

It’s important to connect with existing golfers, through current news, sharing tips and tricks and bringing in the odd relatable meme or gif. It creates a sense of community, which is undeniably beneficial!

However, if you take the time to focus on some of the more general perks of golf, you could reach customers sooner. Highlight the benefits of time spent outside in the fresh air. Or the joy of spending quality time with friends or family. You could even tie into the social media focus on “getting your daily steps in”, encouraging people to take to the course to up their weekly exercise.

By focusing on the benefits of golf, you’re finding ways to plant the seed in the mind of someone who has never even considered golf before. And even if they don’t hit “buy” on a set of clubs there and then, you’ve made an impact. And once again, six months or a year down the line, when summer arrives and they’re looking to spend more time outdoors, who will they turn to? Exactly.

Create Shareable Content

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One way to get in front of these customers early is to create shareable content. “Top tips” lists, humorous musings on the industry, exciting company news, and even relatable quotes, are all content likely to be shared by followers.

Encouraging your existing audience to start sharing your content on their own platforms gives you a perfect opportunity to raise brand awareness. Their friends and family members will see you as a trusted source and that initial connection is sparked.

Then, you can use what you’ve learned from your existing customer journeys to start building relationships with these new followers. If a number of customers tell you they tried a different service before switching to yours, work this in to your posts. Show potential customers that you understand their pain points, and have what it takes to solve them!

Struggling with social? Here are 4 types of social media content you should be focusing on!

Network in a variety of Groups

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Another great way to literally reach customers sooner is by networking as much as you can. Whether that’s in person or online, meeting with new people is always a positive! Potential clients and customers really are everywhere – you just have to expand your horizons.

By engaging with different groups, not only can you gather valuable feedback on what people are experiencing in your industry, but you form genuine connections. Networking allows you to gently and organically inform people about your business.

Again, months down the line, when a problem presents itself, these potential customers are already on board. They know and trust you, follow along with your content and know you are an expert in your field.

New to business networking? Here are seven networking lessons I’ve learned over the years!

Final thoughts

The bottom line? Don’t just sit and wait for customers to encounter a problem you can fix. Find ways to get on their radar before the problem even exists! Focus on your customer journey and let the feedback you receive from existing customers guide you.

Create genuine, informative, shareable content, and those relationships will soon begin to form.

KEEP READING:

To read more about reaching new customers, have a look at these:

Stop! What Are You Actually Selling?
How to Attract Enquiries That Convert
How to Get Referrals for Your Small Business
Ideal Clients: How to Define and Attract them to Your Small Business