A business cannot succeed without customers. To build a customer base, you must create a plan to gain, keep the Customer you have and continuously market to grow the base. If you only try to gain Customer when you first open the doors and in times when work is slow, you may find that it difficult to grow.
- Build partnerships with other businesses. By earning the trust of complementary businesses and becoming partners, you can refer new business to each other. For example, if you have a graphic design company, consider building a relationship with web design companies with whom you can collaborate, build a Customer base and, in return, offer referrals. In an article by Brad Sugars for “Entrepreneur,” he describes an unlikely partnership where a clothing store owner partnered with an auto dealership to offer free apparel to customers who purchased a specific car. When the customers entered the store to redeem the offer, they ended up purchasing additional merchandise, which helped the new retail business gain new Customer and earn more than $200,000 in sales.
- Expand beyond traditional advertisements. While print, radio and television ads are still effective, consider expanding your reach using the Internet and social media. Build a professional website for your business that provides information about your business, products, services, hours of operation and contact details. In addition, create social networking accounts for your business so you can reach new Customer and develop a following. Visit STARTWEB to start building now.
- Offer referral incentives. When establishing and growing your customer base, offer an incentive for your Customer to refer others to you. Incentives can include a discount on future products or services, gift certificates or a discount for the Customer and the individual referred.
- Target a specific Customer group or geographic area in direct mail services. Mail a solicitation that announces your new business and states reasons why the recipient should consider your products or services. For a call to action, offer the recipient a new Customer coupon or a new Customer discount for mentioning the flyer. This call to action can help you keep track of the effectiveness of this marketing method.