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he first two years are critical for a small business, setting the stage for success or failure. Much of your ability to expand your customer base comes down to knowing your target market and having a compelling value proposition. You need to solve problems that others can't address or don't see.
Once you know who you're trying to serve and how your product or service addresses their pain points, you need to know how to reach them. That's where sales tactics come in. From marketing to events to networking, expanding your customer base is essential for increasing sales and turning your venture into a success.
Utilizing effective marketing channels
There are plenty of ways to reach your ideal prospect and make sales. Whether your customer is more likely to be online or offline, you have an array of options for reaching them.
Your website is a medium to professionally showcase your products and services. It's an essential platform to gain potential customers and have investors take you seriously.
As you build, redesign, or enhance your website, consider implementing the following strategies:
- Architecture: Make it easy to navigate and understandable, with plenty of opportunity to drive traffic to your product pages.
- SEO: Engage in search engine optimization (SEO) strategies to gain visibility in online searches results and reach a wider audience.
- Content: Publish engaging, informational content on your website that you think your customers will benefit from.
- Social media: Promote your goods and services on social media to drive traffic back to your website.
- Conversion: Make sure your website visitors have a pathway to sign up for your product or service, learn more about your offering, or receive marketing emails.
Content marketing should be a key part of your online marketing strategy, as it enables you to entice and educate potential customers about your offering. Options for content include the following:
- Eye-catching memes (that avoid coming across as out-of-touch)
- How-to videos demonstrating your product or service
- Testimonials from satisfied customers
- A business blog promoting your brand in your voice
- Q&A videos to promote your expertise
- Webinars demonstrating solutions to a problem your customers are trying to solve
Connecting with potential customers offline is also an integral part of the sales process. One way to do this is to network at industry events such as conferences, trade shows and community gatherings.
When representing your company to others, humanize your brand to make people care about what you have to offer them. Tell your story in a way that is authentic to you. One way to do that is to answer these questions when interacting with others:
- What have you overcome to get to this point?
- What problem do you want to solve and why does it matter to you?
- Who are the people who helped you along the way?
- Why do your customers matter to you, and which of their stories can you share?
The way you engage and the vulnerability you share will give people a better understanding of your mission, values, expertise, and offerings.
Advertising your business via offline channels can also provide excellent returns. Consider the following options:
- TV and radio ads
- Coverage in local publications such as newspapers or business journals
- Flyers, brochures, and posters
- Direct mail with a promotional offer
Implementing customer referral programs
Your current customers are often the most loyal and effective salespeople for your business. Set up a rewards program, a limited-time offer, or a discount code and ask your clientele to refer people they know. You should also encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and testimonials.
Engaging your customers to help promote your product or service can be as beneficial for your customer as it is for your business. Tier your rewards program so that the more a customer brings you business, the more it benefits them — and everyone wins.
Providing exceptional customer service
Being there for your customers when they have questions or need support is essential to growing a business. They need to know that they can count on you for prompt assistance, no matter their issue. When you find yourself on the receiving end of an angry phone call, it's an opportunity to turn things around by spending the time and effort to make things right for the customer.
Companies that go the extra mile to exceed customers' expectations are known for doing so. Some ways to set yourself apart from competitors include the following:
- Quality over quantity: Customers appreciate it if things take a little longer to get done, especially if speed means errors.
- Be proactive: If you can anticipate your customers’ needs and check in regularly, they’ll know you care about their wellbeing.
- Offer “frequent flyer miles”: Reward returning customers with discounts or other perks as a thank you for loyal business.
- Communicate and own up to mistakes: The last thing anyone wants to hear are deflections. If your business made a mistake, own up to it. More importantly, provide details on the steps you’ll take to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
There's great wisdom in the saying that people may not remember your name or what you told them, but they will remember how you made them feel.
Partnering with complementary businesses
Other businesses that share your target audience can be potential allies. Companies that serve a similar market can work together to cross-promote each other's products and services using several different techniques:
- Offering bundled deals and other exclusive packages
- Pooling resources to combine marketing strategies
- Helping each other manage risk
- Expanding your realms of expertise
- Accessing new customers
- Reducing expenses to earn more on each sale
For example, two brick-and-mortar businesses that sit next door to one another can partner up to:
- Offer joint discounts – spending money at one business could earn you a free coffee at the other
- Buy joint ad space
- Throw an event meant to bring new business to both businesses
Building community with complementary businesses can open new doors that otherwise would remain closed.
Hosting events or workshops
Gathering prospects in a room for a shared event or activity can be a powerful way to connect and develop awareness about your products and services. Some options include the following:
- Organize an educational event: Conferences, seminars, and hands-on workshops are excellent ways to continue networking with like-minded individuals.
- Host an entertaining event: A contest is a great way to drum up excitement. Have the contest relate to your brand and encourage the community to submit entries showing off local spirit. Alternatively, host a charity event where a certain percentage of sales goes toward local donations. This is an excellent way to build goodwill – and more often than not, people will come out because they’ll see their money is going toward causes they support.
In-person events don't need to be expensive or time-consuming to organize. Use a free space to host, such as a public library or a recreational center. Contact your local newspaper, library, or even chamber of commerce to help get the word out.
Additionally, technology has made it easy for far-flung people to come together as a community. Hosting online events such as Q&A sessions, webinars, or contests are excellent ways to drive business and spread the word about what you offer.
Leveraging influencer marketing
Influencers are building an online presence on social media platforms. They share ideas about their interests, aspects of life they want to change, current trends and events, and more. You can partner with them by sponsoring a portion of their content or pursuing collaborations.
Get to know the influencers you choose to work with. Ensure your values align to avoid possible friction down the line. This way, you won’t have to worry about backtracking in case of scandal or the partnership going south.
Once you're ready, set goals for your influencer campaigns and measure their results. De-brief with the influencer once a campaign is over and determine if it was a success. Identify opportunities for improvement if another campaign is a possibility down the line.
Expand your customer base today
Getting out there and introducing yourself and your business to the people you want to reach is critical to your success. Customers and prospective investors want to know you and what you stand for. They also want to know that if they invest in your business, it will in turn invest in them.
Once you know who you are, whom you aim to serve, and how you'll solve their problem, the secret to effective marketing is having as many levers to pull as possible. Stay true to your mission, be nimble, and stay open to feedback.
You want every aspect of your business seamlessly working to promote your company and your values. The more your company can navigate the ups and downs associated with expanding your customer base, the better-equipped you will be to keep moving forward.
Novo Platform Inc. strives to provide accurate information but cannot guarantee that this content is correct, complete, or up-to-date. This page is for informational purposes only and is not financial or legal advice nor an endorsement of any third-party products or services. All products and services are presented without warranty. Novo Platform Inc. does not provide any financial or legal advice, and you should consult your own financial, legal, or tax advisors.
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