Once entrepreneurs have correctly identified whom their target customers are, it's time to get down to work attracting them to your business.

This part of the process involves thinking deeply about the best ways to offer content that creates interest. You need to find out where prospects are most likely to come in contact with your brand and also be receptive to your brand's messaging.

But there's a lot more to attracting customers than that. Let's take a look at five must-know ways to attract customers.

1. Think about location

There might be more to this than you suspect. Location is critical both online and in person. For example, are prospects gathered on a particular social media platform? Or to take that a level deeper, are there regional Facebook groups packed with people who would love to know about the product you offer? If you're selling a new breed of hiking boot, for example, there are local hiking clubs all over the globe to target.

Shifting to offline, do prospects attend local business events? Are they members of a local community or work in the neighborhood? You sometimes need to get out of the office and find the prospects.

2. Focus on problems

If we stick with the hiking boot example, don't focus on why your boots are great, but rather understand the problems hikers have with the boots on their feet now.

The key here is to write about the problems that exist in the minds of prospective customers. That's a shift in mentality from the old-school way of doing business, but it's absolutely critical for success. You don't need to be a marketer of your product as much as a marketer of the solutions or benefits your product offers.

3. Figure out what you're known for

Understand what you are best known for, and then share it in every way you can.

For example, a local Italian restaurant could focus on fresh seafood and let that guide their unique identity in several ways. It could hold an event showcasing the fresh fish, capture video, and even explain how challenging it is to have that fresh seafood every day. In the meantime, that restaurant is setting itself apart from every other Italian food joint in town. They are solving the problem of: Where can I get fresh seafood?

4. Don't hold information back

This is a very hard thing to overcome for a lot of entrepreneurs and small businesses--especially folks like lawyers or mortgage brokers, who sometimes tend to be very quiet and very competitive.

But it's extremely counterproductive when you don't tell the world what your company does. If you're researching local lawyers to set up your family's first will, wouldn't you love to go to their website and see robust library of information and perhaps a Q&A explaining the process of setting up a will? Wouldn't you want to see upfront what it might cost, possible alternative offerings and more? Wouldn't it be great as a consumer to have all this information before ever making a call?

Prospects are craving information to make purchasing decisions. In fact, RetailNext, a comprehensive in-store analytics company cites 72 percent of young shoppers research online before purchasing. This trend is only increasing as more turn to online reviews and research to determine where to spend their dollars. Give prospects what they want, and they're a lot more likely to reward you with their business.

5. Be personal and authentic

This speaks to No. 4 above, and it couldn't be more simple. People want to do business with others they know, like and trust.

If your brand voice is personal and authentic, that will shine through when a prospect starts interacting directly with a person at the company. There won't be any surprises or any secrets.

In the end, for entrepreneurs to attract the right customers to their business, they need a combination of old-fashioned legwork and dedicated actions that speak to the problems of potential customers and how that aligns with what you offer.

Finding that balance right away isn't easy, but sticking to it will lead to more consistent sales and happier customers.

Published on: Mar 31, 2016