It's true that loyal customers are great.
It's true that repeat customers are great.
Neither of those occur without new customers.
Even if you have the most loyal customer ever, they're eventually going to die and you're back to the beginning...looking for new customers.
Every customer eventually churns. Obviously you want a product that fosters loyalty and repeat purchasing, but not at the expense of customer acquisition.
When it comes to acquisition, finding low-cost marketing channels that bring in steady streams of new customers is critical to business success.
Here are a few timeless ways to build those pipelines. None are necessarily easy, but they are simple if you put in the long-term work.
I'm not necessarily a fan of the word "stunt" in this case. But I think it gets the job done. Maybe a better term would be "unusual act" or "attention getting act".
And there are all kinds of stunts. Some good. Some not. Occasionally a great one that is easy to do that gets a lot of positive attention.
I was listening to a Tony Robbins podcast the other day and he told an example of a great stunt. About three decades ago he had a friend that wanted to get into the real estate game.
One day serendipity intervened and the garbage workers union in the neighborhood went on strike. For weeks garbage was piling up on curbs. Tony and his friend devised a plan for the friend to rent trucks and trailers and pick up all the trash.
The neighborhood was thrilled. Eventually word got around that Tony's friend had done it. Within two years he was the #1 realtor in the neighborhood. Every time somebody wanted to sell their house they called this guy.
It cost him $4,000 to rent the equipment and haul garbage to the dump. Certainly not chump change, but I don't know a businessperson that wouldn't spend $4,000 for that kind of growth.
2. Content Marketing
You can google "content marketing tips" and similar keywords and get all kinds of tactics, strategies and that kind of thing.
I'll try to keep it simple.
If you're struggling to create content the first step is a realization. It's realizing that content marketing is about attention. Attention that lets your customers know that you exist.
And it's long-term. It's not big bangs. Small, incremental steps that build over time like compounding interest in the bank.
The next step is to do either, or, or both of two things:
Question and answer is finding questions your audience is asking and providing the best answer you can. Simple. Don't overcomplicate it.
Documenting is documenting what you do. Start to finish. Publishing it like a behind the scenes type of thing that also teaches and entertains.
The next step is to do it with video, audio or text. Or any combination.
For example, I follow a golf instructor on Instagram and YouTube. Actually, I follow two. They do a mix of Q&A and documenting. Sometimes they take a question and provide a tip. Other times they document a lesson they give a student.
3. Targeted Outreach
This is cold outreach. Calling. Emailing. Door-to-door. Direct messaging on Instagram. It's knowing what you want. It's identifying why you want to do it. It's identifying the right person. Then it's about creating a relationship from scratch with that person.
And it's usually a long-term play.
One of my favorite examples is Jerry Weintraub. He was a Hollywood manager. Some may call him a schemer, but he did targeted outreach. He would look a gap in an area of entertainment. He would identify an entertainer that could fill the gap and he would work to build a relationship.
For example, Jerry had an idea to cut costs of booking concerts across the US. He needed an entertainer with the clout to make it work. He targeted Elvis. But not Elvis directly. He targeted Elvis's manager.
He called the manager. "No".
He called the next day. "No".
He called everyday for a year. Somedays making his pitch. Some days just bs-ing with the guy.
Finally, the manager gave in and booked the tour for Elvis. It was a smashing success. Other artists took notice including Frank Sinatra.
Jerry Weintraub formulated a plan and didn't stop until he made it work.
4. Influencer Relationships
Who influencers your customers.
Let's say you're a dentist. Your target audience is probably moms. Maybe even potential moms. Or new moms. If you can snag a mom as a customer you know you get the entire family and you get them for life.
Who influences potential or new moms?
It could be any number of people...
Alpha moms that have strong opinions about products and services.
Bosses at the local businesses where moms work.
Local artists with large followings on Instagram.
Find those influencers and give them free product. Win over the influencers and win over your target customers.
More on free product in a bit...
5. Lowering Your Costs
Lots of businesses talk about increasing their costs. They blame inflation. They blame a lot of things.
I'm a believer that the most successful businesses are always looking to lower costs.
Now, they may also be looking to add things to their products and services. Maybe they raise costs a little, but they add a lot.
The iPhone is like this. It costs about $999. That's not cheap and the price hasn't been coming down, but each time a new one is released there are 10x the features in it.
Think back to 1997. Think of how amazing an iPhone would have been. $999 seems incredibly cheap. People paid $999 for a computer so they could play solitaire and send email and talk on AIM.
The world improves everyday. Costs naturally go down. Everything works toward zero. That's why Amazon is winning at nearly everything. They always look to lower costs no matter what.
And the great thing is that the lowest price and the most value for anything almost always wins long-term. It might be the most critical of all low-cost marketing strategies.
6. Free Product
If you're looking for attention the cheapest form of marketing may be to give away your product.
Let's say your product costs $100. That's the price a customer pays. For you, the cost is $50. The other $50 is profit.
So, you could spend $100 for Facebook Ads, which is a great investment. But you could also give away two products that will cost you $100, but to your audience, you're giving away $200.
This is also a test of how much you believe in what you're doing...
New customers are the lifeblood of your business. You should always be thinking of ways to get new customers. The tips above are timeless. They work for just about any business. They're simple in concept, but not easy in practice. The biggest reason they're not easy is because they're long-term efforts. And most people don't have the patience. Do you?