how to find the shoppers other businesses are ignoring

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In the highly competitive business world, it’s easy to see the situation as a zero-sum game. In that pessimistic worldview, the only way to win is to make sure your competitors all lose, but there is more to customer acquisition than that.

The reality is that there are always underserved segments of the buying population. There are always niches that no one, not even your fiercest competitors, is paying attention to. If you want to grow your market share and build your profits, you do not have to play a zero-sum game, all you have to do is find those hidden buyers.

Think About the Problems Your Business Addresses

No business, no matter how competent, will ever be able to reach everyone or serve the needs of every buyer. Some level of specialization is perfectly normal, so start by focusing on your strengths and thinking about what your business does best.

If you have been in business for some time, you no doubt know where your strengths and weaknesses lie. This level of introspection is a basic part of doing business, but it never hurts to readdress this exercise.

Look for Underserved Populations

If you want to drive your customer acquisition strategy forward, uncovering populations you have not been reaching is always a good place to start. Seeking out those underserved niches can be remarkably effective, especially if your competitors are not doing the same.

There are many ways to look for those underserved populations and hidden customers. If you have demographic profiles in place, you can look for the gaps, maybe your website is a hit with teenagers but not thirty-somethings. Perhaps your visitors are heavily male or female. Uncovering those imbalances is a key underpinning of finding the customers who have been slipping away right under your nose.

Work on Ways to Reach Them

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Now that you know whom you have been reaching, and whom you have been missing, it is time to work on outreach. The nature of the outreach will depend on the demographics of the missing customers, and it can be highly customized to meet the needs of your business and its customers.

If your business is not reaching the elderly, you may want to make your website more mobile-friendly to capture older buyers who carry smartphones but do not own computers. You may even want to set up a toll-free number so customers can reach out the old-fashioned way, a blast from the past but still, a good way to gain new customers. 

Assess Your Success

Reaching underserved niches and capturing customers others have missed is a long-term project, one that will take some time to develop. You cannot expect a flood of customers immediately, but if you are doing what you set out to do, you should see a steady rise in sales and customers.

It’s important to assess your success as you move along, running demographic profiles, scrutinizing traffic to your website, and surveying your customer to glean additional information. Over time, you should get a feel for what works and what does not, making your future customer acquisition efforts more effective.

Customer acquisition is a vital part of doing business, and it can be an expensive undertaking. If you aim to reduce expenses while driving down costs, seeking out the underserved is always a good place to start. Now that you know the ins and outs of this non-zero-sum game, you can work to beat the competition and serve the underserved.

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