Your business is going well, and has been for some time. You’ve got money to spare and you’re starting to think it’s time to spend some of it on growing your business. But how? In this series, we’ll look at some of the ways you can expand your business safely and successfully.
Great Ways to Grow Your Business, Part 1: Increase Sales to Your Regular Customers
Your ability to increase sales to your existing customers will depend a lot on the nature of your business. Obviously, if you sell central heating boilers then you can only expect tradespeople or construction companies to be regular customers. Householders who buy from you directly are (hopefully!) unlikely to need another new boiler from you for quite some time.
But for many businesses, it’s worth paying just as much attention to maintaining or increasing sales to regular customers as it is to attracting new ones.
Think about how you follow up sales
Do you just put customers on a mailing list and send them out your standard promotional mail shot every so often? Why this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, think about how you could target customers more specifically and engage them more. You could:
Produced focussed mail shots that promote a certain group of products or services they’re likely to be most interested in, based on what they purchased or used
Send them an email checking whether they’re happy with their purchase/service
Invite them to write a review of fill in a detailed survey (the chance to win a prize or the promise of a discount voucher will make these more appealing)
Ask them to give the product or service a star rating
Send out feedback forms (these should be simple and quick to complete)
It’s worth considering adding flash sales, discount codes, free delivery offers or free gift offers to some or all of your mails.
Beware overloading customers with promotional emails, because this will tempt them to hit that ‘unsubscribe’ button – then you’ve lost contact for good. On that note, it’s always worth having a few subscription options, so that customers can choose the frequency or type of emails they receive.
Think about the 3Rs: Rewards, Retention and Referrals
Reward loyal customers with special offers, points, prizes and gifts – and beware being seen to offer the best deals only to new customers, or as part of an introductory package. Writing Magazine recently caused something of a Twitter-spat by offering yearly subscriptions for less than half price on Black Friday. Regular subscribers were quick to complain out that they got no incentives or rewards for their loyalty at all (and had been told they couldn’t renew their subscription on Black Friday to use the offer).
Take notice of any feedback that comes your way, be it via your own feedback systems or blog comments, or external forums or review sites. Use what you learn to offer more of what the customers want, and to assess what additional lines or services you could add to your offering. Keep customers interested; they’ll soon get bored with same old, same old.
Issue existing customers with referral codes to give friends, family and colleagues, and ensure that the code instigates perks for both the existing and the new customer when it’s used.
So, now you’ve gained a few business growth tips on how to keep on selling to your regular customers, you’re all set for Part 2: Attracting New Customers.
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