You’ve attracted your initial customers and have built up a good customer base. Well done. In Part 1, we looked at ways to increase sales to those customers and keep them coming back for more.
But to grow your business, you will need to keep customer numbers growing – and you can’t just sit back and expect that to happen by simply sticking to the methods you’ve already used. Different approaches will be required to attract new customers who aren’t your prime target audience or weren’t reached –and/or convinced – by your initial advertising.
The best thing about this approach is that it harnesses the power of your existing customers and turns them into your sales team.
Send all your customers referral vouchers or codes to give to friends, family and colleagues. Whether you want to set these up as online referral links or simple provide codes that are used at point of purchase is up to you – but to increase the chance of the codes being passed on, ensure you set things up so that both the referrer and referee get a perk, such as a 10% discount, a free gift or money off.
If you don’t have the time to distribute flyers or the money to employ someone to do so, investigate schemes to pay for the inclusion of your flyer in local directories, magazines and newspapers or in parcels from other companies. You could also consider running adverts on the website of other companies offering complementary services or products to those you provide, or strike a mutual referral/advertising agreement with one or more other companies.
You may have already used introductory deals to attract your initial customers, but don’t stop now; make sure they are something you offer regularly or full-time. If possible, change the nature of the offer occasionally or provide a choice of introductory offer to widen the appeal.
For instance, if you run fitness classes, don’t just offer a special deal on the first Pilates or aerobics class; offer 3 session deals too, or discounted 1-month passes that allow people to try a variety of classes. Gift vouchers can be a great way to attract new converts too.
Tackling New Markets
Think about where your established customers come from and what they’re buying. Is there an obvious type of customer you’re not yet managing to access? How could you lure them in?
Think about their income and interests. Perhaps it’s a case of offering something a little different or repackaging what you offer. Maybe you could offer budget and/or luxury options and products? It’s possible, though, that you’re not accessing these customers because you’re just not advertising in the right ways and places to get their attention…
Advertising in New Ways and Places
Hopefully, you know that you should regularly measure the success of any advertising campaigns you run so that you’re not wasting time and money on something that’s bringing you little or no return. But even if your current advertising campaigns are doing well, that doesn’t mean they’re targeting all your potential customers.
Consider trying new advertising media – newspapers, magazines, flyers, direct mail, email, social media, radio, TV, posters, billboards, shop windows, Yellow Pages/Thomson local, print and online directories, notice boards or even the appointment cards of your local hairdresser, doctor or dentist. Experiment with new ways of advertising too: giveaways, competitions, sponsorship, special shopping evenings for locals/emergency services/NHS employees, raffles, donations to raffles or events others are holding, talks (on your own premises or to local groups), workshops – these can all be great ways of grabbing the attention of whole new markets.
So go on – be bold. Try a new strategy to chase down those new customers and add them to your faithful flock!
In Part 3, we’ll look at how franchises and business friendships can help your business expand and flourish.
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