The mission of any business is to generate more business. This is great in theory but how do you put it into practise? We look at ways small businesses can generate more business.
If all of your time and focus is on generating new customers you could be missing ways to generate more business from your existing customers. Once a customer has bought from you and had a good experience they are likely to come back again, not only will they come back but they are more likely to recommend you to a friend. To secure the relationship that you are building with that customer it is important to keep reminding them and incentivising them to purchase your goods or services again. This is where data becomes important. If you keep a record of every customer’s phone number or email address you can (with their permission) send them special offers, exclusive discounts and newsletters. You should consider introducing a rewards system to reward loyalty. For every five times they use your business they could get a voucher or a free product. Lots of leading companies use reward systems very successfully so it is worth investigating a few. Look after your existing customers and they will reward you with their continued support.
How do you find new customers? It’s not like there is a specific place you can go to find them. New customers are really valuable as they become your future ‘existing customers’ but they are not always easy to come by. In a previous article we talked about how to raise your brand awareness and this is going to be key in reaching new markets. You will make much lighter work of your marketing efforts if you know who you are targeting. One key tip is to build an ‘avatar’ of your existing customers – not every single customer but the most common customer or the ‘ideal customer’. By knowing who that customer is and then targeting your efforts at that customer it will be much more effective.
Facebook advertising is a great example of where this is a really effective model.
- Imagine you are a beauty salon and your typical customer is between 25-34, interested in make-up and lives in a 20 mile radius of your premises.
- Then create a Facebook ad which consists of a strong, attractive image and a good engaging headline to target this exact demographic. Your budget is then spent advertising your business and services to someone who is likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
Potential future customers
You may not be able to draw these customers into your business right now but what about when they are in the market for your products or services further down the line. This is particularly relevant to a business like an estate agent. Estate agents will sell a house in a local area and whilst that house is on the market, and particularly when it becomes under offer, they will leaflet every house in the area – just in case anyone else is motivated by the sold sign. Removal companies also use a clever tactic to generate business. When a house goes on the market they will send a postal letter to that homeowner advertising their services.
There are so many potential ways to find new customers, grow your list of potential customers and to build the relationship with existing customers. Your next step should be to write a list of all the potential things you could do to generate more in each group of the above customer segments.