Revving Up Customer Demand

Today’s consumers have a world of choices, both online and in bricks-and-mortar establishments, and you can never assume that they know how you can benefit them unless you tell them. Doing it right requires strategy, timing, and a fair amount of media savvy. Here are a few tips from some successful small businesses that know how to generate demand and boost sales:

Investment in market research pays off. Use surveys, online reviews and comments in social media, and conversations with focus groups to point you in the direction your customers want you to go. While you’re at it, remember that consumers trust other consumers. Make sure to highlight customer reviews in your marketing materials, as nearly four-fifths of all American online shoppers ages 18-64 look at reviews before buying.

Offer a good deal to attract new customers, but target specific items rather than discounting your entire list. Retail management software can assist you in identifying the best candidates from your inventory. Be clear about the terms of a deal to avoid misunderstandings later.

When you do hear from a dissatisfied customer, have your staff address the issue quickly and honestly, and follow up to make sure the customer has been satisfied. It’s always better to meet complaints head-on than to see negative comments proliferate on social media.

Create an elite club for loyal shoppers, and offer them perks as rewards. For example, a restaurant can give customers who buy 10 sandwiches an 11th one free. Communicate with these customers regularly, using high-quality content, to keep them engaged.

If times are hard, don’t cut back on marketing. Successful entrepreneurs know that, counterintuitively, tough economic times may be a signal to undertake even more marketing, to keep customers’ lessened buying power focused on you. Just remember to keep your emphasis on the customer and how your company can help him or her solve a problem or make life better.