How can I attract and engage new customers?

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So you've defined your target audience and what products and services you can offer. You want to promote your business in a way that actually brings in customers. Let's start by dividing your promotion into what's called direct and indirect advertising:

Direct and Indirect Advertising

Direct Advertising

Direct Advertising involves cold-calling and interacting with people in your target audience online before they have contacted you.

You can also place adverts in front of the target audience.  Companies pay directly for these.  On TV, Radio, newspapers, magazine you see adverts every day. On social media, it is far easier to find out what the interests and demographics of an individual are.   Social media websites offer advertisers options to target their users by geographical location, gender, age, interests and what they have liked or interacted with before.

This is an example of setting the target audience for a Facebook advert promoting an event in Derby:

List of settings for who will see an advert on Facebook, including location and interests.

It shows the list of settings for who will see an advert on Facebook, including their location, age-range and interests. This is the prediction of how many would see this advert:

Predictions for an advert on Facebook

But which social media platforms should you advertise on? Discover how to match your target audience to the right social media: How to choose the right social media to support your business needs

Indirect Marketing

Indirect marketing is not directly selling anything but communicating and interacting to build up trust and customer loyalty.  This has become a big part of relationship marketing on social media because it is built on social interactions between real people.

For example, ASOS post on their social media in a chatty way to engage their customers and to make them feel connected with the business. They are excellent at hitting the right note that fashion-conscious young people like and many of their customers interact with ASOS's funny posts.
List of settings for who will see an advert on Facebook, including location and interests.

This BBC guide may help you: Spreading the word: How to promote your online business

Not sure how much time to spend on direct and indirect marketing? Use these links to gain more in-depth understanding and then apply them to your business:

Engaging Customers

drawing of a smiling woman sitting with a coffeeEngagement is very powerful. You can even turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business. Modern customers prefer to research on their own, rather than being pitched to directly. In their book 'Inbound Marketing' Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah explained that:

  • outbound marketing - contacting potential customers and sending them messages about your brand. This is like direct marketing, above.

should give way to

  • inbound marketing - displaying helpful content in a way that encourages interaction - this starts with indirect marketing as explained above, and then following through with an excellent service.

Halligan and Shah suggest three stages:

  1. Attract. Bring in the right people.
  2. Engage. Help these people with their pain points and goals so they are more likely to buy from you.
  3. Delight. Go above and beyond for them. Help them find success with your product.

How do you actually do this?  Start by choosing the content you would like to see if you were them.  Discover more in their guide: What Is the Inbound Methodology?

Delight your customers!

a smiling female customer with three new handbags over her shoulderProvide excellent customer service using digital services to:

Find out how in the Customer Service section of our knowledge base.

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