The last few years have been unpredictable for the oil and gas industry. The coronavirus pandemic saw oil demand suddenly slump before rebounding at a break-neck pace as economies reopened. Meanwhile, the business environment became increasingly hostile for fossil fuel companies amid activist investors and legal challenges, and with tighter regulations on the horizon.
In 2019, over 17 million people spent an estimated £800m in small businesses on the day.
Of course, 2020 has been a year like no other and smaller business will be acutely aware of the challenges they face in enticing customers to come out and spend their money.
If you are worried about getting customers through the door, we have put together a few tips on how to attract customers to your small business.
Identify your target consumer baseWhile larger stores are able to appeal to a wide market, with a range of different products to cater to almost all customers, this is not really an option for smaller businesses however, and they will need to ensure they identify their ideal customer.
As a small business you will want to leverage your niche and do your best to appeal to those buyers within that niche.
This can be done by demonstrating an in-depth knowledge of your product, but also by understanding possible pain points, and priorities of your customers.
Nicole Beckett, president of Premier Content Source:
‘Have a crystal clear picture in your head of exactly who you're targeting. Think about what makes those types of people happy, sad, scared, relieved, and then think about how you can make their lives a little easier.’
Only once you have ensured your key demographic is happy should you look to reach out and attract more diverse customers.
Attract customers through savvy marketingAttracting new customers can be a costly endeavour, with it costing roughly five times more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones.
While traditionally it can be difficult to get consumers to actually change their shopping habits, the coronavirus pandemic has turned retail on its head and this may offer the perfect opportunity to expand your consumer base.
A tried and tested method of attracting consumers is to offer new customers discounts and promotions. Against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty, consumers will be looking to maximise value and these sorts of incentives are likely to be particularly attractive to customers right now.
These offers could also be extended to existing customers in return for referrals. Existing customers are a great source for finding new customers, but you will need to be pro-active in securing referrals.
You should also consider investing in some advertising, both traditional and online. The pandemic has a number of larger companies reducing their usual advertising campaigns and you may find that you can pick up a bargain as a result.
Also be sure to leverage the incredible reach of social media platforms when promoting your small business.
While social media has always been a great and low-cost marketing method for small businesses, during the coronavirus pandemic it has become a vital tool for staying connected with customers and keeping them updated on any changes to your hours or product availability.
Promote your value as a small businessSmall businesses, particularly those in retail often make up the beating heart of the local community, pumping some much-needed character and charm into a town or neighbourhood.
And in 2020, as we all adjust to a new way of life, these community bonds are more important than ever, and if leveraged correctly can help elevate the value of your business to consumers.
Let your customers know that you are ready to support them through this difficult time, and utilise your agility as a small business to identify and adapt to the needs of your community on the fly and provide additional resources or services where they will be needed most.
This may be through offering your most vulnerable customers home deliveries, extended opening hours or providing discounts for essential workers, proving your business is a vital part of the community is sure to win customer loyalty.
While the coronavirus pandemic may have overshadowed everything else this year, don’t forget to also promote your eco-credentials as a small business.
Smaller businesses are often more sustainable than their larger counterparts, with handmade or locally sourced goods, your products will generally have a shorter manufacturer-to-consumer journey, and promotion of this will generally lead consumers to be more willing to pay a premium over purchasing an equivalent at a big brand store.
Seek partnershipsSmall business by their very nature will struggle to compete with their larger rivals on their own, which is why you shouldn’t try and go it alone. Plenty of other small businesses are in a similar boat, and teaming up with those which offer complementary services can build a partnership that is worth far more than the sum of its parts.
For instance, if your business sells skin care products then partnering with local beauty salons would generate considerable synergy, driving new business to both companies for very little cost.
Nurturing these relationships also encourages small businesses to support one another in other ways as well, such as sharing tips on local developments.
Remember a targeted focus on promoting local business will likely drive up the appeal of the local shopping district, in turn attracting more consumers to spend their money within the area. This effect is a net benefit for the whole community and can be sold as such to potential partners and the local authority.
There’s no avoiding that 2020 has been a difficult year for small businesses, and that we’ve all been forced to adapt, but with the right mindset and a little luck, 2021 could still see your business continue to attract new customers and grow.
If you have FX requirements we can help you maximise your returns and protect your profit. Get in touch with our team on [email protected] or call +44 (0) 20 7847 9400.