Business Opportunities: 7 Ways to Attract New Customers for Your Business in The New Normal

The impact of Covid-19 and the on-going uncertainty of our future have strikingly changed the way customers interact with businesses as well as their expectations. As a business owner, what are the things you need to do to counteract the challenges brought upon by this pandemic?

Before you get started, here are three questions you should ask yourself first:

  • What do you understand about your customers’ perspectives?
  • What are the strategies you can use to keep up with the customers’ expectations?
  • How are the changes going to help your business in addressing the customers’ needs?

Today, we are going to cover 7 top business ideas to attract customers to your business making it susceptible in this new normal we are living in now. Keep reading and find out.

1. Understand Customer New Needs to Get More Business

Knowing and understanding your customer needs is the key of every successful business. This knowledge helps you in shaping your service or product that your customers are looking for.

How to identify your customer’s needs?

Here is a list of checkpoints I believe will be helpful for you:

  • Who are your customers?
  • What do they like about you?
  • How you help your customers solve their problems?
  • Are you still solving their problems?
  • Did you notice they have new problems?
  • What do they think about your competitors?

These analytical checkpoints help you to identify your customer preferences, purchasing patterns as well as the gap between your current business setting and your customer new demands.  This way, you can regroup your business strategy to accommodate your customers’ new expectations.

Back to the present scene, Covid-19 infectivity rate is still fluctuating up and down with the presence of vaccines, many businesses are still unable to operate due to the movement restriction while many are even experiencing a significant cut of their income.

What are the latest customer needs?

Consumers today may want:

  • A safe shopping environment;
  • A mobile shopping or ordering option;
  • More savings without giving up experience;
  • Flexible payment options that make bulk purchase affordable;
  • Effective online sales support for better online purchase experience.

Understanding and addressing your customers needs is important if you are serious about acquiring new customers while retaining existing ones.

2. Go Digital With Your Business to Reach Out to Your Customers Effectively

For many businesses, the lockdown or movement restrictions enforced by the government is a pain to both consumers and businesses. How can you sell when your store is closed? How can your customer buy when they cannot go to your store?

Digitalize your business is the ideal solution and probably the only way. Extending your business is not a new fashion, this norm started two decades ago and this pandemic has further accelerated the transition of business entering digital space. If you haven’t started, eventually you will make the call.

Why moving business online attracts more customers?

  • Shopping online is convenient – In the digital space, your store never sleeps. You don’t have to serve your customer by sacrificing your resting time. Your customers can buy from you anytime and anywhere over the screen.
  • Low entry barrier for a startup – It is so easy for everybody to start an online business. You can run your business at a low budget without having to pay a substantial cost for office or store rental. There are many established marketplaces for you to sell online with an easy-to-use system, large customer base, and most importantly, the charges are so affordable that you can try them all.
  • It provides better customer support  Doesn’t it feel great when you don’t have to entertain your customer’s endless Q&A session over and over again? All you need to do is just list down the commonly asked questions and answers, then publish them on your website either in text or video form. When your customers need support, all they have to do is to type in their queries and then get the answer within seconds.
  • You can serve more customers – When physical distance is a limitation, you can sell to anyone online. Imagine if you are operating a physical boutique, you are selling to those who can come to your store. If you are selling it online, your potential customers are no longer limited to those who live in the areas near your store. Instead, you can sell to the whole country or globally.

Where should I sell online?

With so many benefits on the table, you may start wondering where you should start your online store or extend your business from a bricks-to-mortar to an online store. Let’s dive in:

Platform 1: Selling via Whatsapp

This is the arguably cheapest and simplest method for small business owners who are not ready to get an online store yet or during the transition to bring your store online due to the unexpected restriction to open your physical store. You can always start sending messages to the existing customer base, letting them know they can make orders via Whatsapp and pay by online transfer for the purchase.

Platform 2: Selling via online marketplaces

Online marketplace is a concept of a digitalised shopping mall. You can find different products and different sellers on this ecommerce site.

Selling through online marketplaces is a good choice for businesses who would like to enjoy large customer bases as well as the established systems that make store setup, selling and fulfillment in ease. Note that each online marketplace has its own requirements, customer base and listing fees.

Some of the popular online marketplaces in Malaysia are Shopee, Lazada, Mudah, Lelong, GrabFood, FoodPanda, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping.

Platform 3: Selling via your own website

If you would like to have full control of your online store, building your own website or ecommerce store allows you to design and maximise the personalisation of your own store to satisfy your customer shopping experience. The best part is, you can upsell and retarget your shoppers so they buy from you again.

For example, if Shaly purchases a cleanser, the site also suggests suitable toners, moisturisers and other items to go with the cleanser. You can also use the blog function of your site to share relevant content such as tips to interact with your fellow followers. You can then use your audience as the target for your ads placement while staying connected with your existing customer.

Keep in mind that building your own website usually needs a higher budget as most people usually hire an agency or a developer to get it done right unless you know how to do it by yourself. If you would like to do it on your own, website builders like WordPress, Shopify and Wix will be best for you to explore. Just check out the tutorials on Youtube on how to build a website with these popular website builders.

3. Enhanced Customer Experience Increases New Customer Conversion

A successful business that keeps customers coming back is always the business that cares about customer needs and gives customers an emotional comfort. Creating pleasant memories for your customer can eventually get you more business through words of mouth.

What can you do to improve your customer experience?

  • Unforgettable customer service – Make sure you are providing the best service possible in every interaction before, during, and after a purchase to leave a good impression for your customer. A promising delivery service, keeping your customer posted on the latest promotion or asking feedback after a purchase to improve your service is a great start.
  • Offer a trial or samples – Giving free trial or samples makes things easy for the customer to arrive at a decision. You open up a chance to show your products to reach more potential customers and customers get to try before a purchase without any risk.
  • Provide flexible payment options – Giving your customers their preferred payment option can win you their purchases and open the door for all types of shoppers. Allow your customers to pay via e-wallets, credit cards, bank transfer or Buy Now Pay Later options make their purchase easy and convenient and help boost better sales.

As stated in the behavioral science research, if you want your client to keep a pleasant memory of an experience, it is necessary to recreate an “emotional comfort”, by generating an intense moment, especially towards the end of the experience itself. This is the peak-end theory.

4. Rewards and Loyalty Programs

Customer acquisition often costs you a lot of time and money to turn complete strangers to your store to trust you and purchase from you. However, it is easier for you to retain current customers just by rewarding your customers based on their behaviour. Making your loyal customers happy will naturally turn them into your brand ambassador to share their positive experience from purchasing in your store.

When should I reward my customers?

Here are some customer behaviours that you should pay attention to keep them happy and remain loyal:

  • Give your customer some incentives on the products you are trying to move quickly
  • Give your customer some incentives on purchasing a larger cart
  • Reward your customers for referring new customers.
  • Reward your customers when they engage positively with your brand on social media
  • Reward your customers more for a purchase on off peak season

Looking for rewards and loyalty programs solutions for your business? Find out more.

5. Increase Social Media Interaction and Engagement for More Potential Reach

In a recent study, it stated that 72 percent of the millennials made fashion purchasing decisions based on Instagram posts. This highlights the important role of social media as the key influencer when it comes to purchasing decisions, particularly for millennials. Social media can be your most valuable lead generation channel if you know how to use it right.

Now, you need to understand that social media algorithms control the ordering and presentation of your posts to let users see what is most relevant to them. How can you keep your brand present on your customer feeds? The simplest answer is by increasing social media engagement like the likes, shares, comments, and brand mentions via quality interaction with your fans.

How to boost social media engagement?

Here are some customer behaviours that you should pay attention to keep them happy and remain loyal:

  • Create and share content that is valuable to your audience
  • Make sure you post at the right time
  • Reply your fans’ comments with a personalised touch and keep the conversation warm
  • Asking feedbacks and opinions relevant to your business and service
  • Commenting on current events and trends in a way that ties in your brand
  • Keep a speedy response time

By having these qualities in interacting with your customers and fans, you will cultivate the fans to share your brand with their friends and families which then converts into more potential leads for your business.

6. Advertising Online to Reach Potential Customer

There are many benefits of doing advertisements online for your local business. It makes advertisement affordable now and most importantly, you can optimise advertising budget by targeting a specific range of audience that are relevant to your business.

What killer online advertising strategies can you use?

Here are some customer behaviours that you should pay attention to keep them happy and remain loyal:

  • Social media marketing to create brand awareness
    This is the best tool for you to create brand awareness. Running ads on social media platforms helps you reach your targeted customers and generate customer leads, direct them to your website. Some of the popular social media platforms in Malaysia that have advertising feature to get leads include Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok. Each of them owns different categories of users, so choose one that has your potential customers before running your ads.

  • Use search engine optimisation (SEO) to help customers search you
    If you have a limited budget, SEO can be the best tool because it is free! It helps your brand to get the exposure to the potential and existing customers who are looking for your products or services by ranking in Google’s organic search engine results. Make sure to use the relevant keywords for your business to build your website content.
  • Search engine marketing
    This is a strategy that is similar to SEO, the only difference is that you will need to pay to increase your brand’s visibility in the search engine. The ads can be seen at the top and bottom of the page with a tiny ad logo to let users know this is a paid ads This is a very powerful strategy that allows you to place ads in front of customers who are ready to buy the product. Because when consumers enter search queries with the intent of finding information of a commercial nature, they actually have made up their mind to make a purchase.
  • Content marketing adds value to your customers
    Blogs, articles, infographics, videos, these are the forms that make up content marketing. Content marketing allows customers to discover your business through all your useful content and they get interested eventually helps them in deciding to make a purchase. A good content marketing should contain useful knowledge, answer a question, give solutions, show how your service can help, and give your readers all of the information they need. By doing so, you are giving the readers a good impression and earn the reputation as an expert in the industry. As a result, you’ll be the sensible choice when they are looking for the products you provide.

7. Give care to your community gain brand impressions

There are many benefits of doing advertisements online for your local business. It makes advertisement affordable now and most importantly, you can optimise advertising budget by targeting a specific range of audience that are relevant to your business.

Ways to give back to your community within your capacity

Lending helping hands during this hard time means a lot to those who are suffering. This gesture helps you to build good branding for your humanity.

  • Minimise the salary cut to reduce your employees’ financial fluctuations and stress
  • Provide incentives to the frontliners for every purchase they made to show appreciation
  • Donate your time and resources like donating masks to those who needs it
  • Adjust your service to keep your customer safe during this tough time
  • Give incentives to donors who purchase from you for charity purpose
  • Organise event that like food bank to help those who can’t afford basic needs

No help is too small. We should all unite together as possible to bring relief when they’re most needed.

Final Thoughts

There is still no sign that Covid-19 is going to end anytime soon. Running a business is more than likely to remain challenging. However, there are steps that your company can take to reduce the losses or even increase sales during and after the pandemic.

Reconfigure your strategy is the key in attracting new customers

By understanding your customers’ new needs, adapting your business online, enhancing your customer journey, mapping out customer retention programs, advertising and lifting each other during this hard time, your business can make the best out of a difficult situation.

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