We all want to grow our business; after all isn’t that what it is all about? But how do we do that? We increase our customers of course! There are two key ways to increase your customers:
- Focus on Existing Customers, and
- Find New Customers
Below we will examine simple but effective strategies to reach both types of customers, to ensure that you will set your business up for success!
Focus on Existing Customers
TIP #1 TARGET YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS
By identifying the customers who generate the most profit for your business or who have the most potential for additional sales, you can generate ways to actively engage them with your products or services. For example you could look at building a loyalty program. Whether this involves a system with points or loyalty cards, it is a great way to encourage more frequent purchases, by offering specials and promotions to “members” and also track your customers’ buying habits with the data you collect.
TIP #2 RESEARCH WHAT ELSE YOU CAN SELL
Whether you conduct online surveys or ask customers directly it is invaluable to discover what other products or services they might be interested in. For example, if you own a convenience store, ask staff to informally question customers at the checkout and to take note of what else they would like to be able to purchase. You can then explore the feasibility of adding some of these offerings. Not only will your customers feel more valued and heard, it is also a way to create new profit opportunities.
TIP #3 CREATE A CUSTOMER DATABASE
Collecting customer data such as email addresses, phone numbers and post codes enables you to not only learn a great deal about your customers, but also contact them with special offers, new items or useful information. For example, if you had your own taxi business, you could email discounted fares to customers at slower times of the year.
It is also a great way to track which products customers are purchasing to enable you to cross-sell relevant products to them as well. For example if a customer is consistently purchasing chocolate, they may be interested in the new range of hot chocolates you have just launched in store.
TIP #4 TRAIN YOUR STAFF
Ensuring your business has friendly and helpful staff is a no brainer, but it is also important to ensure they are across the process of sales conversion too. Train your staff by running in-house sales sessions or employ a head sales consultant to coach staff members one-on-one.
Another aspect to staff training is to educate your staff to effectively up-sell. For example, if you operated an adventure tourism business with multiple activities you could offer bonuses to staff for selling certain products or increasing the average sale. Through ensuring your staff are well trained and focused, you are more likely to deliver a stand out customer experience, which means you are more likely to see those customers return to your business again and again.
TIP #5 BUILD A SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY
Having a platform to engage with your customers has never been more important. Start a Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter profile (whichever is most relevant to your business) and consistently post engaging and relevant content highlighting your business, its product range and its customers to increase the profile of your business and your brand.
BONUS TIP: REVIEW YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
It is important to regularly review and updated your business plan to reflect anything that has recently changed in the business or the market. This is also a great opportunity to check your progress and growth and allow for any necessary adjustments.
Find New Customers
TIP #1 USE DIRECT MARKETING
While direct marketing can be tricky it can also be very effective. Make sure you measure the response rates to each area of your direct marketing campaign, whether it be email advertising, direct mail, or online click-throughs. Continuously evaluate this and invest more of your marketing budget into what gets your business results.
Take your direct marketing one step further by creating an introductory offer for new customers only. Sacrifice your regular profits to gain loyal customers that will buy again on a regular basis. Again, continuously track and evaluate which offers are resonating with which customers so you can re-evaluate and adjust as you need to.
TIP #2 GENERATE WORD OF MOUTH
Building up positive word of mouth is key for effective business. Encourage referrals by getting testimonials from customers, encourage regulars to refer their friends or family to your business with discount codes, speak at events, encourage influencer collaborations on social media and networking inside chambers or business associations. For example, if you own a travel agency that offers escorted tours to Europe, get feedback from your customers and ask to use some of their quotes on your website.
TIP #3 GET SEARCHING
When most customers need something these days they whip out their phone or computer and search for it. So how do you capitalise on this? Search engine optimisation (SEO) will help increase your website’s traffic leading to a growth in your customer base. It can take a little time to set up, but we promise you it is worth it! By determining your site’s keywords and phrases it helps attract the right traffic and customers for your business. If this still feels a bit tricky, and your cash flow allows for it, you could consider paying for search engine marketing (SEM) to help guide you through it.
Another way to increase your online presence (if applicable), is to list your business on the most popular online directories, such as Yelp. Alternatively, use these resources to uncover potential new customers (especially through industry directories).
TIP #4 BUILD AN ONLINE PRESENCE
Using social media platforms such as Instagram allows you to visually tell the story of your business and its offerings through engaging images and videos. These highly engaging platforms allow potential customers to interact with your brand, product or service and increase your chances of reaching further followers and customers through the platforms tried and tested algorithms.
If your customers are after more in depth information, you could keep your content fresh and updated by writing regular blogs (informal content posted online in a chronological order) about your business, your people, and successful case studies. Regular blog content can also be important for increasing your SEO and driving traffic to your website.
TIP #5 BUILD YOUR NETWORK
Through running demonstrations, workshops or events to showcase your business to existing or new customers you have the opportunity to interact with new customers face to face and also give them a hands on feel for your product or service. For example, if you’re a martial arts instructor going it alone, create a series of workshops to show potential clients the skills and benefits of learning through you.
Another opportunity would be to attend networking events or join associations or groups with like-minded business individuals to help foster relationships and contacts within your industry. These contacts could then help you reach new customers through cross-collaborations in products, promotions and events.
BONUS TIP: CREATE A TARGETED MARKETING PLAN
As with most things it is better to go in with a specific marketing plan or strategy. So the same could be said when you are targeting new customer segments. Develop a precise marketing plan to build awareness and encourage purchases. For example, if you’re targeting truck drivers, create a billboard theme that plays on words and back that up with occasional radio adverts.
By effectively targeting both the existing and new markets you are giving yourself the best possible chance to increase your business reach and maximize business growth. The above strategies are a fantastic place to start if you need a little inspiration in either area and are sure to see you set your business up for success.