A growing customer base is critical to any thriving business. Industry research points out multiple elements to include in your overall marketing strategy to reach these gains. By doing so, you increase your ability to not only attract your target market but also encourage new customers to convert, and ensure you retain them.

In a challenging and oversaturated marketplace, this presents businesses of any size willing to take a risk and think unconventionally with a prime opportunity to draw in new customers.

Here are four uncommon ways to help new customers discover your business:

1. Create unique content that truly adds value

By now you’ve heard the phrase so often it’s become cliché, but yes: Content is King. Though everyone is creating it, not all businesses are producing content with significant added value. And that is the difference in success.

Always remember, project the voice of the customer with your words. When creating content for your website or blog, ask yourself ‘Does this help the reader learn something?’. If the answer is no, start over until you strike the right balance between your brand identity and what your potential customers are looking for.

Launching a new product line soon? Post a short Slideshare presentation that outlines it for your target market in greater detail.

Write e-books for each subject area featured in your business then allow people to download it in exchange for providing their email address. You’ll be offering great content while building your list. It’s a win-win.

2. Share your expertise on info swap forums

Question-and-answer hubs like Quora and Ask.com have transitioned from being platforms for novice conversations to valued forums where knowledgeable participants can make a name for themselves offering thorough, in-depth (free!) advice.

To get started, log in and complete a search of the topics being discussed within your industry. From there, try commenting on any that have few or no responses. You’ll be able to gain more visibility, and it’ll show you can tackle a range of questions, further proving your expertise.

Sites like these are typically supportive of inter-business promotion so definitely add links to your social media handles and website details in your post signature.

3. Give your brand a major overhaul

You’ve built it, but they’re still not coming? It may be time to undergo a brand refresh.

But before you call your graphic designer to get started on that new logo and website template, consider that this process often goes much deeper. You will likely need to tackle a variety of issues and resolve them to improve overall communications for your business.

On the positive side, this process will afford you the opportunity to re-evaluate your brand identity and decide whether you should reposition your business entirely within the market to capture an unforeseen key customer market.

Incorporate useful marketing theory tools such as SWOT Analysis and The Brand Wheel in your initial analysis to gain a stronger understanding of where the essence of your brand is now and where it should go.

4. Actively seek referrals from current customers

Before tweets and news feeds, there was word-of-mouth marketing, and it played a significant role in business growth. Even though it usually now takes the form of online reviews and rankings, simply put: Consumers are easily influenced by the opinions of others.

One benefit of referrals is that it eases the vetting process for a business. It offers a built-in ‘middle man’ who can advocate for your brand on a personalized, non-sales pitch level.

Begin this part of your journey by reaching out to 5-10 loyal customers with a referral incentive such as a unique promotional gift or discount off a new product. In exchange, ask if they can send you at least one hot lead from their network.

To make the process run a bit smoother, be sure also to create a simple resource that includes some basic information about your business that your advocates can easily pass along to any new prospective customers.