No matter what type of business an individual starts or runs, he or she will need to expand that enterprise’s customer base to succeed. The first step in growing a customer base is to offer a viable product or service that appeals to a broad enough target audience. The business owner will also need to provide those wares at fair prices. With that in mind, the following are the best ways to build a customer base.
Conduct Market Research
Whether a business owner does phone, internet, or in-person surveys, the objective is to determine what styles, flavors, sizes, or features customers want in certain products. The next step would be to make the necessary changes to meet those needs. Similarly, it pays to contact old customers and apprise them of changes to the product or service line. This could help win a certain percentage of them back.
Ask for Referrals
Current customers are always the best source for getting new customers, according to Forbes. Therefore, when a business owner acquires a new customer, he or she should ask the person for referrals. When getting referrals, always ask for the person’s name, address, and phone number. Create a form in advance for the customer to list the referrals.
Advertise on Social Media
Social media works exceptionally well when a business is launching a new product or running a new campaign, according to SuperOffice.com. That’s because a current customer can easily share a company’s ad or information to multiple friends.
Network With Others
Another great way to garner new customers is to network with other business owners or professionals. Start attending trade shows related to the business. Join the local Chamber of Commerce. Get to know some of the local businessmen and women before promoting any products or services. Most importantly, new business owners should always use a “How can I assist you?” approach to prospective clients they meet at these professional events, according to Forbes.
Start a Loyalty Program
A loyalty program should award customers for their expenditures or number of visits to a particular business, whether it’s a store, restaurant, or service company. Promote the loyalty program through ads or in-store merchandising signs. Get as much information about the customer as possible, including name, phone number, email, and home addresses. This gives a business more latitude on how to send specific promotions.
New and existing business owners will be surprised at how well some of these tactics work in building their customer bases. It also pays to build a strong customer service team to handle all questions and issues these new customers have.