One of the biggest challenges for a startup is getting those first customers who believe in your business. Most consumers aren’t comfortable being early adopters, that is customers who invest their time and money in something they’re unfamiliar with. So in order to attract more people to your business, here are some steps to take to make yourself more marketable.

Focus on one specific offering

Many business owners think they’ll be more attractive if they have a wide product offering. Wrong. When you try to do too much, you dilute your brand, which unintentionally confuses your prospects with what it is exactly that you do.  It’s best to focus on one vertical, and execute on it fully.  This will allow you to iterate quickly, getting you closer to a more refined product. And if you have an outstanding product or service, your customers will undoubtedly tell other people about the great experience they’ve had.

Know your target customer base

Marketing your product or service to everyone simply isn’t practical and it certainly isn’t effective.  Therefore in order to know your customer base, you must create buyer personas.  Buyer personas force you to focus on your ideal clients, learn their wants and needs, and use that information to attract them.  If you don’t know who your perfect client is and what they want, how can you expect to sell anything to them?  These personas will make it possible for you to create a targeted sales and marketing plan with tailored content and outreach strategies to bring these ideal customers in.

Get comfortable with social media

You can try to fight it but social media and your business’s online presence are here to stay. Use these channels to tell people about your business before you even have a chance to speak with them.  As a small business, you must put time into your online brand. If you do this well, you will reap the biggest reward: inbound leads.  However, you must also manage your online reputation.  This means acknowledging negative reviews instead of simply deleting them.  When people have a bad experience, they will tell the world.  Perception is everything.

Under promise, over deliver

Your worst nightmare is probably delivering a negative customer experience.  While it is impossible to say it won’t happen, there are ways to make them happen less.  Talk to every  client to truly understand what their expectations are.  If you know what they are expecting, it is easier to not only meet their needs, but to also exceed them.  One of the best feelings in the world is hearing a client rave about what you’ve done for them; so why not make that happen as often as possible?  

Have integrity

It is easy to fall into the trap of saying “yes” to everything your customers want (even if you don’t actually offer it) just to make a sale.  But being a “yes man” should be avoided at all costs.  When you’re talking to a customer, always know what they expect and what you can provide.  If your service offering truly doesn’t align with their their needs, tell them that.  You will be surprised at how far a little honesty will go.  While you may lose that deal, it doesn’t mean that they will not come to you again in the future because they know you are honest.  We’ve all dealt with shady sales people, don’t be that guy.

While it’s intimidating being the new kid in town, rest assured that there are ways to get people to notice you. If you treat your customers the way you want to be treated, you’ll be surprised how quickly they’ll come flocking to your business.