~by Brooke Chaplan~
Business expansions that are predominantly driven by paid advertising and other expensive services from third-party providers tend to be unsustainable. They may give you the clients and profits you need in the short term, but it’s only a matter of time before expenses overrun profits. Organically growing your customer base may take longer than their paid counterparts, but it’s definitely a more worthwhile path to pursue.
Here are a few ways to grow your customer base in an authentic and organic way.
1. Treat Your Sales Team Right
Putting more representatives on your store’s floors and out on the streets drives growth for your customer base and overall business. This is especially true for markets that have a number of sales and distribution channels, such as insurance providers. Instead of trying to cut costs by keeping your workforce small, resist this urge and add more sellers to your market. In some cases, you don’t even need to increase the headcount. Rather, you can redeploy your existing workforce and hone their sales and marketing skills through better training programs and better processes from the management’s end. Redeploying your existing manpower produces nearly immediate payoff compared to the average six months of training needed for new hires.
2. Be Active on Social Networking Sites
If you’re in the market to look for new sales channels to invest your resources in, social networking sites are the place to be. Despite being relatively nascent to other traditional and more established sales channels, social networking platforms are free of charge and have a steadily increasing user base for themselves, which means you get potential worldwide exposure for your brand. If you do not currently sell your products or services online, social media is a great way to start the expansion to the digital marketplace without taking on too much risk. To make the transition more successful, learn about technology through established schools.
3. Focus on Building a Brand
Customers are, without a doubt, an important part of your business. Without a consistent stream of customers, sales will diminish, leaving you with no capital to operate. On the same note, it’s unwise to obsess over how you can win customers on a day-to-day basis. It makes you look desperate and someone to be taken advantage of in a cut-throat world. Instead, focus on building your business into a brand that people can relate to and see themselves using.
4. Have a Product Worth Marketing
If your business doesn’t have anything worth marketing, then it can be an absolute nightmare to get the loyal customers that you need to succeed. Produce something of value for them and have confidence that it will enrich their lives. Too many businesses miss this mark and become solely focused on getting just one more sale. While sales are important, providing value is, hands down, the best way to grow your business. The word of mouth alone from positive reviews and satisfied customers can skyrocket your business to the next level.
Being able to maintain your existing customers while finding new ones consistently will be a key differentiator between you and the rest of the herd that’s chosen to grow their business through artificial, unsustainable sales and marketing practices.
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.