6 Steps A Small Business Can Take To Grow Their Customer Base

Getting a small business up and running takes a lot of time and energy, but that’s just the beginning. To make all that effort worthwhile you have to maintain your business, keep your existing customers coming back, and grow your customer base.

This can be a challenge, but with the right approach, any small business can help swell their customer numbers and their profits. Here are six steps that any small business can take to get new clients through the door.

Promote Your Brand

Marketing takes many forms. For your business to be successful, you should be using social media and online marketing strategies to drive traffic to your website and promote your products and deals. This type of advertising is excellent for promoting a seasonal sale or new product line, but how do you promote your brand and generate interest in your business?

Branded merchandising has been used by businesses big and small to promote their brand. It is simple, cost-effective, and both existing and potential customers respond well. Something as simple as a branded pen can help create a sale, and the further you go the more successful this strategy is.

Many businesses like to include a free branded gift or two with orders. This is a welcome surprise for their customers and a nice gesture to thank them for their order. 

You can turn a happy customer into a walking billboard advertising your business with a branded t-shirt. Bolt Printing specializes in custom t-shirts at wholesale prices, meaning you can purchase in bulk. They can print any design or logo on quality shirts that you can send to customers as a gift or even sell in-store and online.

Know Your Audience

It is easier to grow your customer base if you know where to look for new customers and who to target. Since you started your small business, you should have generated a lot of data and experience you can use to help identify who to market to. 

Try to create a profile of the type of customer you want. This should be similar to some of the customers you already have and who spend money with you regularly. The more you learn about your existing customer base, the better you will be able to find new customers. 

If you operate online and have a customer account system for users to log in to, then you may have some incredibly valuable data at your fingertips. By analyzing your customer database, you may notice trends that will point you in the right direction.

The people who spend the most with your company may be women in their 40s, for example. Whichever customer profile is responsible for a lot of your sales, finding others like them will be very worthwhile. You can target your marketing or merchandising towards these people to increase the chances of success and new customers.

Work With Your Existing Customers

There is a very old saying; make new friends but keep the old, for one is silver but the other is gold. Your existing customers should never be neglected when you are making a push for new business, in fact, they can be the key to rapidly expanding your customer base.

You can work with your customers in a marketing campaign to bring in new ones. A referral program is a highly effective way to expand your customer base. You can offer your existing customers a discount or free gift for referring a friend or relative to your business. 

A clever strategy is to offer both a gift and a deal if they both complete a purchase. This gets you a two-for-one sale for the business and gets you a new customer on board.

Nothing gets new customers through the door like a referral from a friend or relative that is happy with your service. This may happen naturally, but some targeted marketing and some tempting deals can help grease the wheels and get your customers talking to their friends, encouraging them to give your business a try.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work

There is a whole community of businesses around you, and they are all trying to do what you are doing; grow their customer base to increase their profits. It is possible to team up with them, providing they are not competitors and create opportunities for new customers together. 

You can even join up on marketing campaigns and advertising drives. This is really effective if your business is located in a shopping district or strip mall. You can all work together to create a tempting retail destination that offers savvy shoppers a variety of products and services all in the same place.

Putting on a group sales event and promoting it to all the businesses existing customers is a clever way to expand your base. Your existing customers could become new customers to a neighboring business and vice versa. Everybody wins, including the customers who now have a group of small businesses they can rely on for quality goods and excellent customer service.

All the businesses can share the costs too, making it a high-value way to increase your customer base. If you are putting on an event, involve a local food truck to help keep people in the area for longer. You can even get local radio involved.

Make Customer Service Your Focus

To push for organic customer referrals, where your existing customers begin to promote your business to other people without prompting or a special deal, you need to concentrate on customer service. 

Even if a customer has a problem with a product, or was left unhappy or underwhelmed with a purchase, the way their issue is dealt with can leave them feeling pleased with your company and eager to recommend it to others. By training staff on customer service and setting a standard for them to reach during customer interactions, you can help increase customer satisfaction which will help to grow your customer base.

Nothing spreads faster than a bad review. An unhappy customer will share their experience with more people than a happy one. Even if your push to grow your customer base is successful, without adequate customer care and service you may lose them quickly and lose existing customers. 

Before you begin a marketing drive or start targeting new customers, make sure you and your staff are on top of customer service and satisfaction.

Generate Likes, Shares, And Follows

Many businesses are using social media as a way to advertise their products and services, and this can be incredibly effective. 

Social media apps are great for targeting local customers, as they know where people are based and what services they search for regularly. This is only the tip of the social media iceberg, however.

The businesses that have had the most success on apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are the ones that engage with customers outside of marketing drives and ads. Social media management is a growing trend for businesses big and small. 

Friendly and helpful posts generate likes and shares and put your brand on the screens of thousands of local people who are potential customers. Use your business social media the way you would you own. 

Communicate and share and be fun and witty. This will generate new followers, which may one day become new customers.

It takes work, but anyone can grow their customer base and their business with these simple steps. Don’t get left behind by the competition and start building up your base today.

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.