Innovative Ways to Attract Customers

Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.” – Milan Kundera

Only attracting and retaining customers it seems is no longer enough to sustain a business. Simply because there is so much competition and prospects today are more inclined to believing the testimony of existing customers, and hence the current customers should be willing to create more customers for a company. Customers determine the success of a company today, and it is essential for a company to invest time, money, and effort into finding innovative ways to attract customers – both old and new. Obviously, there is a lot that companies can do to ensure that people are attracted towards their products and services, and ‘convert’ to long-term profitable customers. Providing top class customer service is one of the top ways to attract customers and ensure their continued patronage.

Managing new and old customers is a challenge for companies today, given the increasing number of competitors today. The older customers are capable of spending an increasing amount on a company and if they remain happy, they would be more likely to recommend a company to all those they know. Loyal customers who are also brand advocates are an indispensable asset today for any company. However, we know that loyalty today is ephemeral and fleeting, and hence companies must make sustained efforts and find innovative ways to attract customers on their own too. It is extremely tough to gain new customers – almost 10 to 12 times harder (as opposed to retaining customers), according to research. People have access to a great deal of information today and take their time before deciding on which company / brand to buy from – and even if they do buy once, there are no guarantees that they would do so again. To guarantee repeat buys and engagement is the onus of companies, who must put in place innovative ways to attract customers and keep them happy long-term.

The good news is that there are several ways to attract and retain customers – companies must be however, willing to do whatever it takes to amaze and impress them consistently. It would be prudent to show customers and prospects the benefits they would be missing, what they could get as compared to what they would be currently getting, and other such tactics that would prove to be innovative ways to attract customers. The kind of methods a company uses would depend on its business, the kind of customers it would currently have, and the customer base it seeks to attract. The idea is to delight and engage them to such an extent that your company would be the only one they would want to associate with, and your brand would be the only one they use in a specified segment.

For customers, ‘freebies’ are attractive. While this tactic should be used with restraint such that it is not perceived as an attempt to cover up for lack of value, it is extremely beneficial to get the attention of all kinds of customers. Providing a free service, or an app, for a limited period would show customers and prospects the value of the ‘product or service’, and help them to focus on the benefits. Once they can see value, they would be more grateful for the fact that it is free, albeit for a limited period – this ‘free period’ would actually translate to being the USP and people would be more amenable to buy it once the ‘freebie’ becomes payable. The challenge for a company would be to ensure that the offering remains high quality after it becomes payable, else customers would lose interest.

Offering free yet valuable and useful content online is one of the clever and innovative ways to attract customers. However, this content must only be a ‘prelude and trailer’ of what more your company can offer with regard to extremely beneficial and educative content that customers would yearn for and for which they would be willing to pay. It is a fact that knowledge is power and the more such ‘power’ customers can gain from a company, the more amenable they would be to start / continue their association with such a company.

Customers know they have the power to change ‘fortunes’ and guide the success of companies today. Companies must look towards forming associations with other companies that would have similar customers, in a bid to expand their own respective businesses. Launching or advertising new products together or marketing existing offerings in collaboration would be one of the innovative ways to attract customers and influence them to buying more from both companies involved. Very often, there could be products that customers may need to use simultaneously, and by offering them a combination of these products, companies would benefit from each the target customer segment of the other and boost the sales of their products. Of course, it would be essential to choose this ‘partnership’ carefully to ensure positive and non-competitive synergies.

We have mentioned before that customers are becoming more aware and conscious of their own and the role of others in social and environmental causes. They are more willing to associate with companies that contribute to such causes or help their customers with the causes they may be supporting. By sponsoring such good causes, a company can provide a massive boost to its image, thereby leading to increased revenue and profits. Customers would be more willing to associate with a socially responsible company, as it would seem better equipped to care for their needs in a better manner. Companies could also lend their names by way of sponsoring charitable and social events for good causes, in order to build a sound market reputation and create engaging relationships with existing and prospective customers.

As mentioned before, customers are eager to gain information – not just about companies and products, but want to find ways to make their lives easier and business more successful. Among the innovative ways to attract customers, it would be a smart move for companies to organize events such as seminars and or webinars for existing and prospective customers. Not only do such ‘events’ prove beneficial in helping customers know how the association with a company and the use of its products can better their lives, it also helps companies to share their vision and details about their offerings to their target audience without distractions. The entire focus of the attendees would remain on the company. Companies could also invite industry leaders and authority figures to speak at such events – people would be more inclined to attend such events in order to learn from the best. In addition, companies must leverage on the strengths of technology, and use social media and other networking sites to spread awareness of events / or conduct ‘events’ online – a cheaper and more convenient alternative.

Gift cards and coupons are like putting actual money in the hands of customers. They would be more inclined to use the ‘money’ (as opposed to letting it go waste), which in turn would inevitably make them end up spending a lot more than the value of these cards and coupons. When companies show value for their existing and prospective customers, they would be certain to respond.

As customers become smarter, more perceptive, and increasingly prudent with their spending, companies have no choice to get smarter and employ innovative ways to attract customers or lose them to competition. While conventional and traditional means of attracting them would still be relevant and effective, customers tend to move towards companies that seem more contemporary and matching pace with the dynamic needs and expectations of customers.

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