Whether you’re an established business with many employees, or just starting out on your own, it’s important to always keep attracting new customers. Attracting new customers isn’t just a lot of work; it can also be costly. Statistics show that 30 percent of businesses fail within two years, and 50 percent with in five. New customers can cost hundreds of dollars to acquire — including time, marketing, work gone into pitches and various meetings.

There are however, many good tricks of the trade to get customers on board. And then keep them for years to come. Here are the top five secrets to attract new customers to your business.

The price is right

When it comes down to it, price is one of the biggest factors that helps drive interest in a product — and keep a customer coming back. Knowing your price means doing your research first. You need to get to know who your customers are and what they’re willing to pay. By really targeting your audience and understanding their needs and price point, you’ll be more likely to get the results you’re looking for.

Vikas Shah, the CEO of Manchester-based textiles trader Swiscot Group says: “One of the most common mistakes SMEs make is that they take a far too generic approach. Producing literature and blasting it out to potential customers won’t work, even if your product is standardised.

“You have to know who your customer is and reason they will buy,” he adds. “Do your research and find out who, in reality, is the decision maker.”

A part of doing your research is knowing who your competition is. By getting a clear overview of the marketplace, you can get a grasp on what products may be similar — and how you can differentiate the ones you sell. Your price can, of course, be a selling point in itself. If you can offer a competitive price compared to others, you’re more likely to keep your customers loyal — and even attract new ones who are looking for a better deal.

What’s on offer

Enticing customers with a good offer is a tried and trusted way of attracting new customers to your business. From free bingo bonuses offers, to two-for-one deals, everyone likes getting something a little special. Giving freebies might not seem like the best way to go when starting out with a new business — but once a customer has tried something they like, they’ll likely be happy to pay for it the next time.

Another great idea is to try offering your services for free in exchange for a customer’s testimonial. Testimonials are a really effective way to grow your clientele. People are more inclined to go with brands or businesses that other people trust; word of mouth can be your best friend when starting out.

Consider setting up a customer referral programme, offering discounts in products or services for customers sending others your way. Just remember not to give away too much, or spend more time on things than you can afford!

Keep up the quality

The quality of your product or service is incredibly important to get right from the start. If a new customer is unhappy with what they’re paying for, they’re not going to want to return. And acquiring more customers is much, much more expensive than keeping the old ones happy. Jason Reis, owner and lead programmer for Fhlex Corp suggests that you “provide value and and establish yourself as having an in-depth understanding of the problems they are looking to solve.”

Making sure you’ve got the quality of your product or service to a high standard will set you apart from the competition and help build that word-of-mouth marketing you’ll need to rely on — whether you’re 5 months, or 5 years into building your business. Customers are also much more willing to pay more for the peace of mind of a quality product that isn’t going to cause them problems, or need to be replaced, later down the line.

Reliability — and responsiveness to problems

Of course, it’s important to make sure that whatever you’re offering your customers is reliable — either as a service or as a product. But mistakes can happen, and problems aren’t uncommon. What’s important is how you respond should an issue ever arise in a way both efficient and effective for your customer.

The key to properly responding to issues is to be entirely transparent and honest with your customers. Acknowledge the fault, and explain how you’ll work to solve it. Once you’ve followed through with what you’ve promised, be sure to follow up. Communication in this instance, is very much key. Many customers will be understanding and appreciate the good quality of service — even if there’s been an error.

Build partnerships

It might seem counterintuitive — but networking and building relationships with your competition and other businesses is a fantastic way to build your own.

Evan Powell, co-founder of Key Transitions says: “We form strategic alliances with businesses related to but not directly competing in our space who care refer us customers. If we are not able to send customers in their direction, we figure out a way to be beneficial, whether that be by helping get their kid an internship or donating to causes they care about.”

Getting to know others in your industry, and creating meaningful connections, is just another way to spread word of mouth — and who knows, some of those businesses may just become customers themselves.

Creating loyalty for the long run

By getting your price right, building partnerships, having great offers and creating a quality product that’s reliable, you’ll be on track to attract new customers and build a sustainable company that lasts.