6 Zero-Cost Ways to Win Business From Your Competition

6 Zero-Cost Ways to Win Business From Your Competition

Tightening the purse strings? It doesn't mean you can't still win new customers...

By Daniel Kidd

Get your product approved

Expert reviews and recommendations from respected consumer advice sources can be a powerful way of attracting new customers in some markets, but it’s not always an important factor.

For example, for a technical product targeted at an affluent, professional audience, expert product approval may well be the number one factor influencing customer choice. For a different product or customer base, however, it may not be a factor at all.

The key is to know your customers. If you ask your customers what attracted them to your business and how they found out about you, you will gain an incredibly useful insight into how to attract new customers away from competitors.

In most market, simple customer reviews will be your strongest weapon in the fight for market share. If your customers love you and shout about you, it’s an excellent endorsement. If you can, use an online review tool such as Trustpilot to get customers to leave feedback that allows other potential users to verify your quality.

Get your ethical head on

An ethical dimension to your product can be powerful in attracting customers, but only if they consider it important.

The motivations affecting customer choice can be very complex and varied, and differ between sectors, businesses, market segments and products. For some customers, price is more important, for some it’s quality or choice, and others will go for the most convenient or quickest option. Into this mix, ethical factors can be important, such as fair trade, environmental impact and energy efficiency.

The best and easiest way to know what’s important to your potential customers is through market research. Ask your existing customers what influenced their choice and that will give you the key to attracting new customers.

Give something back

Some businesses have a strong charitable dimension. This can be a great way to enhance the reputation of your company and encourage customers away from your competitors.

A large business, for example, might use charitable work to create a friendly and generous image. A smaller business, or local branch, might choose to support a local charity in order to establish the trust of customers within their community.

However, the precise importance of this approach very much depends on your potential customers and how much value they place on charitable work. It also depends on the image you wish to create for your business. Good market research will help you to establish this.

Have a spring clean

The look of your business is vital in persuading your competitor’s customers to give you a try.

The look of your business encompasses your name, logo, branding, marketing and website – as well as the appearance of your storefront and employees. Your look can convey and imply a huge amount of information about your business, such as your professionalism, quality, friendliness and values. It can help to instil confidence in your brand and products.

However, customers know that looks can be deceiving. That’s why, once you’ve enticed a customer to give you a try, it’s essential to follow through with quality products, good prices and excellent customer service.

Make it easy to pay

Convenience and simplicity can be very attractive to customers. If you can make purchases quicker, easier or simpler in any way, this is likely to help you draw customers away from your less flexible competitors. However, this will vary across different industries. It’s important to research and understand your customer base so that you know what’s important to them.

Customers are willing to pay a premium for convenience, so offering credit accounts or accepting bit coins might be just what your customers are looking for. However, quality and customer service might be even more important to them. Offering a range of payment options can be useful, but it’s unlikely to be your most important tool.

Get feedback

Customer feedback provides valuable and useful information that could help you beat your competitors.

If you ask your customers the right questions and listen to their answers, they can tell you practically all you need to know. They can tell you how important quality is compared to price, enabling you to strike the right balance between the two. They can tell you how they heard about your business, enabling you to focus your marketing strategy more effectively. They can tell you what new products or features would get them excited, so you’ll know where to focus your next development, gaining a vital lead over the competition.