For small business week we are providing tips to help small business owners who own retail stores get new customers. To compete with big businesses, you will need to create a cost-effective strategy to build your brand, market your product and bring in new customers. In this article, we’ll share some tips that can help attract new customers to your business without breaking your budget.

Get new customers online

Having an excellent online presence is a must for businesses of any size and type, not just for online retailers and e-commerce. Even if your business is a shop that sells artisanal moustache wax, it still needs to have a great website: a website that describes your store, showcases your products and most importantly, provides a location and address! Your digital presence is a great way to get people into your physical retail location. In fact, research by Google shows that 3 out of 4 people who find useful information when searching online are more likely to visit stores.

Beyond your own website, your online presence also has to extend to social channels for customer service and marketing. Customers today expect to be able to get an answer to their questions without having to pick up a phone. They are quick to ask questions and look for answers through social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Research from J.D power found that 2 out of 3 shoppers use social media for customer support.

Facebook and Twitter are great channels for customer service, where other social apps like Instagram and Pinterest are ideal for marketing your products. While you share your products with potential customers online, you can also help flesh out your brand and begin creating a community. Over the long term, growing your online and social presence should translate into more customers coming into your store.

Leverage your existing customer base

Your existing customers are a powerful asset you should take advantage of to help attract new customers. First, focus on creating a great customer service experience both online and in-person. Make sure your business has a culture of customer service and your staff is dedicated to catering to the customer. Creating positive impressions for your customer leads to more word-of-mouth referrals that can help your business grow. On the other hand, customers who have negative experiences are quick to tell their friends, and that can quickly tarnish your brand.

Beyond creating a positive experience, it’s helpful to create a customer referral program. Providing personalized coupons or promo codes can help entice your customers to refer your business to their friends and family. Or you could offer an exclusive sale that’s designed for friends and family of your customers and employees. If you want to cast a wider net, you might consider offering a group deal through a company like Groupon that specializes in those services.

Provide incentives for new customers

Sometimes you have to provide extra incentive to get new customers inside your store who otherwise might not be interested in your business. Providing door crasher prizes, time specific contests or unique sales can bring attention to your store and bring in new customers. Sure – some people might only come to your store for the prize or to enter the contest, but your great products and positive customer experience should lead to new customers as well.

Sales are always an option worth exploring. After all, price sensitivity is one of the main influencers for shoppers. Offering a sale that isn’t the same as traditional sales days can make you stand out from the crowd. For example, instead of offering a ‘spring sale’ or ‘Boxing Day deals’, you might want to have a sale in honour of your 1-year anniversary or something else unique that’s tied to your business or product.

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information.