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4 Mistakes That Can Cost Businesses New Customers

Forbes Technology Council In order to gain new customers, businesses need to combine a solid marketing strategy with a memorable customer experience. As a specialist in new mover marketing, my company offers businesses an important tool to get new residents into their locations. Our new mover marketing program mails new movers a welcome package with proven offers to local businesses. The upscale gift encourages customers to visit businesses in their community before they form loyalties with competitors. While we specialize in getting customers in the door, the rest is up to the business. Over the years, I've had the opportunity to see businesses excel at capturing new customers, and I've witnessed some that failed to hit the mark. Here are four common mistakes that can cost your business new customers.

1. Failing to develop a unique selling proposition.

 You opened your doors to offer customers a service they couldn't obtain at other establishments. Whether it's your family's secret pizza recipe or your skill at providing a top-notch cut and color, your business has something that makes it stand out from the crowd. It's important to develop and market your unique selling proposition (USP) to gain a loyal following.

In addition to providing stellar service, your customers need a clear picture of why they need to become repeat visitors. In our digital world, customers have the opportunity to research businesses online to help decide where they are going to shop. Having a USP can allow your business to shine. To develop your business's USP, spend time taking a deep dive into the competition and determine your target customer demographic. Your USP should focus on what customers value and should offer a solution they can't dismiss. It should help put your business on the shortlist when people are deciding where to shop.

2. Making a bad first impression.

Customer service is key for any small business trying to build a loyal customer base. If a new customer comes into your business and doesn't feel welcome, it's game over. Proper employee training is key to ensuring your customer service is top-notch. It's vital that your employees listen to customer concerns and for you to give them the tools to handle problems.

Many companies across the country are having difficulties finding workers to fill roles. Offering performance-based incentives and a positive work environment are proving to be effective tools for keeping employees satisfied on the job and maximizing profits in the long run.

3. Neglecting your online presence. 

There are more than 294 million smartphone users in the United States. Americans spend an average of four to six hours per day on their smartphones, according to a survey published by Statista. Businesses need to make sure their websites provide current information. Failing to update your website with the correct hours, menus or services can be a detrimental mistake for small businesses. Thankfully, the majority of what needs to be kept current is able to be updated via smartphone by either the small business owner or a dedicated employee skilled in digital marketing.

In addition to staying on top of your website, small businesses need to employ a social media strategy. At least 68% of adults are active Facebook users, and 72% of U.S. adults use some form of social media, according to a report by the Pew Research Center. More than half of users check their social media accounts at least once per day. Engaging customers on social media should keep your business top of mind.

4. Forgetting to market to loyal customers. 

In the rush to find new customers, many small businesses neglect marketing to their existing, loyal customers. A survey referenced by the Small Business Administration revealed that marketers only spend 21% of their budget marketing to existing customers. With numbers like that, it's no wonder customers may feel neglected. It's essential to analyze your customer data to create a marketing plan that encourages customers to become repeat visitors. For example, my New Mover Marketing company designed its program to offer customers a second incentive after they visit a small business. The second mailing reminds new residents about the business and encourages them to return.

Loyal customers admire companies that listen to their reviews and provide innovative solutions that deliver value over time. Businesses can remedy this problem by offering special events and sales for existing programs and allowing existing customers to weigh in on new items or services you are considering launching.

Avoiding mistakes that prevent you from turning new customers into loyal patrons can help your business flourish and profits climb.

Forbes Technology Council Member Michael Plummer Jr.

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