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You need new customers and you need them now!

by Tim Rimington | March 7, 2012

Back in the day, traditional bricks and mortar retailers did it tough when it came to building their customer base. The most obvious form of driving foot traffic to a new shop was through print advertising. Depending on the industry, print was expensive but nonetheless a necessity. I'm also thinking the 80s here; no Internet.

Beyond print there were more expensive options such as radio and television but for small retailers, both were virtually off limits due to cost. Even a small slot on radio late at night cost many thousands of dollars and the return wasn't typically sustained. Back then small retailers did it tough.

However, the stronger of the pack built solid relationships through sustained, awesome customer service. Back then, most retailers made the best of every single person who walked through their doors. Indeed, each customer was viewed as a potential customer for life, and if you didn't approach customers with that mindset then you weren't tapping their full potential. You see it a lot nowadays, and both Chris Sutton and I have written about it recently – few retailers treat their customers like potential, future taps of revenue! But I digress...

Let's sidestep customer service and assume that you have that area sorted. The customers that you do have, love you. They're loyal and they come back for more. But perhaps your numbers are standing still. Your costs are rising and the freight companies aren't as willing to come to the table as they did in years past.

But this "Internet thing" is still as much of a mystery to you as ever – you hear about its potential to drive NEW customers but you're not sure how to go about it. Those few occasions when you dropped a grand here and there on some form of marketing did little to bolster your bottom line. So then, what's the next step? You already have customers but you need new ones and you need them now!

Have you considered a paid click campaign via Google AdWords or Yahoo!? When you search for things via Google, for example, you'll notice a vertical right hand column of advertisements. Each one is small and succinct and each includes an effective call to action that, when clicked upon, leads the user to a landing page – typically a web page featuring the product or service being advertised. There are many, many online retailers who rely heavily on these ads to drive traffic to their stores. A modest investment each week can reap instant rewards if the campaign is put together thoughtfully.

So if you need new customers and you need them now, consider a sustained pay-per-click campaign. There's nothing sinister about them (as a client remarked to the contrary earlier this week); users click these ads every second of every day when searching for goods or services. When set up correctly, with all the pieces of the puzzle in their rightful place, pay-per-click could be just what your bottom line is looking for.

Next, I'll write about creating an effective pay-per-click campaign and how to add value to it by building product landing pages on your online shop.

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