Guest Post by Megan Mosley
Customers are the life of any business. Therefore, achieving a healthy customer base is key.
Along with retaining current customers, many businesses find that generating new business is one of their biggest concerns.
Before we talk about tips for increasing your customer base, let’s quickly expand on what we’re talking about. We’re simply talking about lead generation.
In its simplest form, lead generation quite literally means the process for obtaining new leads (or a person/business you want to convert to a customer). Inbound and outbound marketing are typically used to create interest in the business or product.
Recently, it seems that lead generation depends more on inbound marketing practices that help convert leads into customers in their own time than outbound methods which can seem more gimmicky.
So, how can you expand your customer base to ensure a steady stream of customers?
This sounds like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many businesses fail to update their business profiles online. It may not seem like a big deal, but this can hinder your business, significantly.
When people look up your business or use keywords to locate a product like the one you offer, they expect to find current information.
If your business hours, location, phone number, etc. have changed, this should be updated immediately. If potential leads can’t contact you or have to do more than just a quick search, they will move on without hesitation.
Up to date and accurate profile information makes it easy for leads to do business with you.
Along with accurate information, people expect you to be available. This doesn’t mean you have to be present 24 hours a day, but rather give people options for reaching out to you.
Fortunately, chatbots, social media, email, phone all make it possible for people to contact you even when you’re off duty. Making yourself accessible leaves communication channels open so people can contact you on their time and via their preferred method.
This is the root of all good. You may be thinking, customer service is great for keeping existing customers satisfied, but how can that get leads through the door?
Your customer service is what will land you reviews, referrals, and good word of mouth, all of which help gain the attention of prospects. It’s up to you to find the right team to deliver. You have to be nice, attentive, and provide a good overall experience.
Even in niche markets, you will have competitors; it’s not just your product that is going to get people to choose you. According to Gartner, 64 percent of people find customer experience more important than price.
Numerous customer service statistics prove its importance. So if you want to expand your customer base, you may want to set a good customer service strategy in place.
Sharing insightful information can increase your customer base. You can share your knowledge with others via email marketing.
In fact, there are a ton of ways to use email to get leads. You may offer a newsletter of all your latest content, or even an ecourse.
By getting people to sign up for your email campaigns, even if they have never purchased your product, you have the ability to convert them down the line. Why? Because you’re establishing yourself within your niche, and building your relationship with them.
One of the important things you should do is get customer feedback. This is often neglected or overlooked, but it is really one of the best ways to get more customers.
A review can be the deciding factor in whether a customer chooses you or not. People rely on review sites, and if your business has reviews and your competitor doesn’t, you’ll likely find that more people will trust you and therefore choose you.
A Zendesk survey found the influence of positive reviews to be quite significant for business. Of the respondents, 90 percent mentioned that positive reviews had an influence in their buying decision. interestingly, 86 percent of the respondents said the same for negative reviews.
If you’re not getting reviews, take some time to reflect on why.
No matter what kind of business you have, content can draw people in. Whether you’re a lawn service giving tips and tricks for caring for a lawn, or an eCommerce clothing store providing style ideas. People may find you by first getting a hold of your content.
Blogs, whitepages, webinars, infographics, etc make you shareable too. Why? You’re able to share real advice which can be great for stepping up your social media profiles. Plus, a customer might be more willing to share content of yours when referring you to others.
Content marketing can help you increase your brand awareness. You will have the potential to bring in new leads and ultimately increase your customer base.
Most businesses are turning to automation to eliminate tedious tasks and to streamline their processes. Plus, they have seen an increase in lead quantity quality, so it’s a win all around.
In fact, as mentioned by Hubspot, those who use marketing automation tools have experienced a 451 percent increase in nurturing qualified leads.
With that increase, it’s pretty clear to see why automation has been an essential tool in building a customer base. Besides making life easier on the business, it also improves efficiency, whether that means outreach, data management, or even product delivery.
A referral is a huge compliment, and a great way for you to increase your customer base. Many businesses use referral marketing because it helps them produce quality leads, meaning ones that are likely to convert.
But why is that? Well, it’s simple. Referral programs work because they rely on a level of trust. Information, businesses, and products shared by a friend are trusted more than any ad you can put out yourself, which is why you need a referral program.
Nielsen has found that around 92 percent of people from various markets are more inclined to believe people from their own social circles. This is because people do not want to mislead friends, as that can affect their reputation.
Referral marketing taps into the world of word of mouth marketing. As a business you are using your customers to reach new circles of people that you may not have been able to reach otherwise.
As you can see, there are a variety of ways you can increase your customer base. You may want to test out a few, or maybe even all of them.
We will say that having updated business profiles, making yourself available, and providing good customer service are a few that you should implement no matter where you are in your business journey. Those are just good practices to have that will naturally result in increased customers.
Megan Mosley is a Marketing Specialist at Referral Rock, a referral marketing software, who believes every business has the potential to increase its word of mouth. When she’s not working, she enjoys sipping on coffee and hanging out with her dog, Mollie.