We’re going to paint a couple of pictures for you.
First picture: let’s say you have a new business. You know this new business is a great idea and it is founded on principles that you really believe in. The right customers will believe in it, too. You have the budget laid out and according to the numbers, this could be a recipe for success.
Its web page is solid, you have the employees, your target market has been identified and you are ready to launch. The only problem is that you do not actually have any customers yet. How do you access them?
Second picture: you run an established business. You are respected in the market, you are proud of how far you have come from when you just began and your workforce is happy and growing constantly. Your customers and clients are more than satisfied with what you offer.
Your revenue is growing and your profits are steady. Now, you have a new product that is going to boost that revenue and profit and really take your business to the next level. The product has been tested and is on the path to seriously take off. But how will you increase sales for the new product in a market that is already so used to what you currently offer?
Don’t worry. We are here to provide you with 10 surprisingly easy strategies to grow your customer base. Whether you have an emerging company or an existing one that needs help marketing your new product or service, we have 10 solutions that are sure to lead you to victory.
Here, we break down what a customer base is, what it is specifically for you, why it matters, and who to target. Then, we can give you 10 simple ways to grow it.
What is Your Customer Base?
Before we go any further, you have to truly have a firm understanding of what a customer base is.
A customer base is the group of people who regularly engage in what your company is selling, either through purchasing your products or using your services. They are the cluster of consumers who financially matter the most to you as a business because they repeatedly and directly participate in your business’s success by using your products and services.
The rest of the definition of a customer base varies based on what industry you are in as an organization. It can either be a group of people or a target audience based on a buyer persona.
Having a customer base does not mean you can just identify them, know that you have them, and then sit back and relax while the universe and fate take care of the rest.
For business owners, a huge obstacle to overcome is maintaining and retaining customers.
Luckily, today you have the Internet to take advantage of online marketing for customer and client growth and retention. Before the advent of online sales, others were not so lucky. They had to rely on in-person market research and keep up their hopes that they could engage with customers who showed up at their brick-and-mortar stores.
But it can definitely hold true that it is still just as difficult to engage with customers online and end with closing a sale. This is especially true when you realize just how much anyone market has grown and all of the resultant options that customers now have when using online services for a product or service.
There is also a subsection within your customer base called an installed customer base. The installed customer base is made up of customers who are currently engaging in your sales process by using your products or services. This group stands out from the rest and should be treated as such.
How do you get the customer base, to begin with? How do you retain them? Read on for more insight.
Why is it Important to Build a Customer Base?
Like we just said, it can be tricky to sell a customer on what you have to give. There are a lot more readily available tools online than there might have been in the past. But there are just as many, if not more, online companies to compete with.
Some potential buyers even feel like the modern customer service experience is lacking.
In fact, you have probably heard some people grumbling that “customer service just is not what it used to be,” or “I remember when companies actually cared whether or not I was satisfied.”
There really can be credence in those complaints.
By identifying and building your customer base, you can realize the value each and every customer brings to the table.
Do not overlook the value of seeking out a customer and then maintaining a relationship with them.
According to Hubspot, a 5 percent uptake in customer retention can result in a 75 percent uptake in customer lifetime value. Essentially, you get more bang for your buck from a customer who knows and trusts your brand than from customers who come and go.
Who Makes Up Your Customer Base?
What market do you appeal to the most? Who relies on you to deliver the results they want and so desperately need as a consumer?
Targeting these audiences will lead to brand cohesiveness throughout your customer support department, marketing department, and sales team. That cohesiveness leads to a stronger customer experience and more likelihood that they will come back to you, again and again, for the product they need.
Let’s go back to that installed customer base.
Once you know who those people are that comprise your installed customer base, you can specifically market to them to show them you acknowledge their presence as a loyal customer and want to reciprocate that feeling of loyalty.
So how do you do that? In this next section, we give you key strategies to ensure that both your installed and general customer base can be attracted to your business enough to continue seeking out your goods and services.
Strategies to Grow Your Customer Base
Some of these might be strategies you are already aware of but have just overlooked after getting too comfortable with where you currently stand within your market. Some of them might be completely new concepts. Regardless, they all have a significant impact on your success in customer and client base growth and retention.
Provide an Excellent Customer Experience
As an integral part of your business, no matter what your role may be and no matter if it fluctuates regularly, you already know that your sales department and marketing team are imperative to company success. But you should in no way overlook the value of your customer service team.
They are at the front lines of providing a great customer experience and creating those relationships that lead to organization-wide success.
Hubspot also references data that tells us that 60 percent of buyers cut ties with a company after a poor customer experience.
Stop viewing conversations with dissatisfied customers as a burden. Instead, look at it as an opportunity for growth. A lot of customers and clients just want someone who can empathize with why they are upset, hear them out and fix the problem.
A timely response to these constructive conversations can seriously cut down the effort spent on recon. They will then know that you value their time and concerns and will come back to you over and over again.
Know Your Prospects and Customers
It is an irrefutable fact that customers want a personalized experience. It shows that you are a user-friendly organization that uses individualized tools to better serve them.
You might use an external resource or tool or you may even have a customer service team equipped to personally reach out to customers after they purchase your product or service to make sure that they know what your buyer wants and needs.
Are your customers equipped with enough information to even use your goods, to begin with? If not, this usually ends in frustration for the customer and product abandonment.
Another great way to ensure that your customers are happy and satisfied is by including an easy-to-read user manual or explicit verbiage on the packaging of your product about how to use what you are selling.
Your customer service department should always be ready to answer questions as they arise. This leads to more knowledge on the back end of specific customer needs.
Maximize the Use of Your Network
Maximizing the use of your network is especially helpful for retention rates.
Customer success programs help you to achieve this. They are tools that work with your team and directly impact how functional a product or service is for your customers.
By using these programs, you can keep track of how easy or difficult your product is to use per each individual consumer. Through analysis using these tools, your customer service team can foreshadow if there might be a customer issue with said product and tackle the problem before it becomes a serious obstacle.
Identify a problem on your end before a customer does. Use tools available within your network to save time and resources that you would otherwise use to correct the problem.
Use Your Referral Programs
Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer or potential buyer. Would you trust a new business or their new offer immediately? To them, probably not, because their goal is usually to boost sales at whatever cost to the customer.
You can avoid this sort of consumer doubt by using your referral programs.
They have a much higher chance of trusting in you when you capitalize on these programs through customer advocates who offer testimonials and referrals to your prospective customers. Brightlocal conducted a consumer review study that showed that 91 percent of consumers trust these types of reviews as much as recommendations from people they know.
If you are a rapidly growing business, customer needs overwhelm your customer service department.
If you do not want to continue hiring an excess of workers, you can partner with external and online platforms to ensure that your existing employees can still deliver great customer service in a timely manner.
For example, some of these tools direct customer service requests equally throughout the department to lessen the individual load of requests that might sit on one employee’s shoulders. This increases work output and productivity and allow for your customer base to remain satisfied with your service efforts.
Take Advantage of Your Social Media Platforms
Taking advantage of your social media platforms to engage and retain your customer base means less money spent on other, traditional marketing methods.
Additionally, social media uses a formula to cater directly to what each user wants and basically lands them in your lap. This way, you do not waste department time and budget on potential sales that lead nowhere.
The typical customer is also already on the social media platform when they see an ad for your company, so they will not feel like you are wasting their time with a cold call or unsolicited email. You can make the experience fun for them by also incorporating gamification into a link originating from a social media platform.
Offer Free Trials
An excellent way to engage a customer is by offering something free. It is a pretty universal truth that everyone loves free stuff, so why not direct that truth to benefit your company?
You can choose what sort of freebie to offer, like an eBook or browser extension. But one of the best freebies is a free trial to access your content that would otherwise require a subscription or one-time payment.
With a glance at all that your service can offer, users often find themselves wanting more after the time limit on the trial expires. Again, this strategy means you do not seek out uninterested customers and drive them away. Instead, you target a market that wants what you offer.
Collect User and Customer Feedback
User and customer feedback is frequently overlooked, but it provides you with information that you already have and do not have to seek out elsewhere.
It shows you both your strengths and weaknesses and thus a detailed look at where to improve to further satisfy your customer base. It also shows you what your customers care about the most in your organization so you can base future goods or services on clear-cut evidence.
Utilize Web Accessibility
Is your web page accessible to everyone in your target audience or are there barriers holding you back from reaching some consumers?
A large number of people interested in what you sell limit themselves with browser extensions or other features. Once you understand where the accessibility limit is, you can improve your sales strategy.
Optimize Your Customer Loyalty Program
When you have a loyal customer base, you want to do everything in your power to retain them. How are you going about doing just that?
If your customer loyalty program is inadequate, you risk running promotions without any solid reward and falling behind the competition. But when you prioritize this to reach your customer outreach and retention goals, you can thrive.
Tiered loyalty programs, for example, are a satisfying way to engage customers in buying from your business through a rewards system that increases as they move up the tiers.
You are valuable as a business regardless of where you stand in the marketplace. But to succeed, you need to employ strategies to grow and keep up with that growth. If you have read through these strategies and our other blog posts and see room for improvement, do not hesitate to book a 20-minute call with us today to figure out how we can serve you even more.