No matter what business you operate, whether it’s selling 3D printed parts or 16-wheeler trucks, all businesses have one thing in common – they need customers. A steadily increasing customer base is key to survival and, eventually, success in the business world. Without customers, your monthly sales and revenues will suffer. And as most inexperienced and panicking businesses will do, you’ll try to remedy the situation by spending more on leads and marketing efforts. While this may work temporarily, expensive customer retention efforts are not exactly the hallmark of a promising business. Here are five ways to increase your customer base without taking on more costs:
Learn Your Target Audience Better
Most business owners and entrepreneurs fail to dive deep enough to know their target audience. They do a quick Google search on whether or not there is demand and interest for a particular product/service. If there is, they simply leave it at that and start marketing and manufacturing in large scales. But to know your target audience is to gain a deeper insight on what behaviors and characteristics they possess. You can’t be selling a $10,000 watch to a customer who only has a $500 budget for such accessories. You need to know as much about your target consumer as possible in order to tailor your product offerings, price point, and marketing strategies accordingly. Use tools, such as Google Trends and eCommerce analytics systems, to simplify the process of finding usable data and deciphering its meaning.
Expand Your Marketing Channels
Limiting your marketing channel to purely social media or organic word of mouth can affect your capacity to scale your business. There is only so many people in one location or demographic that you can reach with one marketing channel until you eventually run out. Use other means of reaching leads and customers, such as email marketing, YouTube tutorials, affiliate marketing, billboards, and business cards. The more widespread your brand is, the easier it’ll be for people to pick it up, remember it, and possibly buy from you when the time comes they need the product/service you’re offering.
Keep Your Site Content Relevant
Your business’ official website and any linked blogs will serve as the point of contact for many of your potential customers. You don’t want them stumbling upon a poorly designed website with dead links, unresponsive buttons, and outdated information. Make sure to regularly post on your website to keep content fresh and informative. This offers a twofold advantage – one being that it can attract new leads and two being it can improve your page ranking in search engines. Either hire an in-house employee to manage your website for you or work with a third-party marketing agency.
The life of an entrepreneur doesn’t stop after 5 PM. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to put in the extra hours. Devote your every waking hour in networking and spreading your name. Hand out business cards to people you meet in the streets, be active in forums and message boards, and attend seminars and conventions. Networking doesn’t just help you get more leads, it also helps get you the feedback you need to tailor your operations.
Maintain Excellent Customer Support
It’s always cheaper to retain an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one, according to a report by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, 6 to 7 times more expensive to be precise. Building and maintaining high levels of customer support can encourage your existing customer base to stay with you rather than jump ship. Offer your customers different ways of reaching you in case they have any concerns. Another way to establish a high standard of customer service is by offering a one-time refund policy for when customers accidentally incur charges on their account.
Keep in mind that no strategy will increase your customer base tenfold overnight. Instead, aim for smaller increases over time.
by: Sia Hasan