You should always think about expanding and growing your customer base. You can increase sales by bringing more customers to your business day in, day out.
Small businesses – particularly home-based or service-based ones – have a tough time trying to expand their customer bases. So, here are a few surprising ideas that work a lot better than you initially think:
1. Create a Google My Business page
Go to Google My Business, and follow the steps to set up your own page. Why are you doing this? Well, it can help put your small business on the map!
No, literally, it will put your small business on Google Maps for everyone to see. This is crucial for local businesses that depend on customers visiting their premises. When people look for businesses around their location, they will now see your company as one of the results.
Essentially, we’re dealing with local SEO here. But, this act alone can make your business visible to loads of people who probably never saw it before.
Thus, there’s a chance to gain more traffic, leading to more customers.
2. Reply to negative reviews
Let’s be honest, negative reviews are never good for your business. All it takes is one bad review to put someone off. But, you can use negative reviews to turn something bad into something more positive.
All you need to do is reply to any negative reviews you get – and do this publicly. Address any concerns in the review, and talk about how you’ll look to improve on them in the future.
Sometimes, a negative review is a big fat lie that makes your company look bad. For example, someone complaining about how they were treated, when the reality is they were a very rude customer.
So, replying to negative reviews can also help clear the air and let people see a more balanced view of certain situations.
Consumers love it when businesses respond to negativity. Not only can it clear things up, but it also shows that you care about improving your business.
There might be a negative review about an aspect of your service, but your reply shows other consumers that you’ve now fixed it. As such, they’re more inclined to actually visit your business despite the negative review.
3. Get a virtual terminal
A virtual terminal is a new way for you to accept payments from customers. Instantly, this can help you widen your customer base. Online businesses can use them, and so can regular retail companies.
There are plenty of intricacies to understand about virtual terminals, and you can learn more here if you need some extra information.
For now, we’ll give you the shortened definition; a virtual payment system that lets you accept credit card payments without needing the card itself.
In essence, it’s like when you buy something online with your card. You don’t actually need the card, just as long as you remember all the card details.
By having something like this, you offer a new way for people to pay. The more payment options on offer, the more likely it is that someone will choose to be your customer.
This is particularly beneficial for small businesses that usually only accept cash payments. You now give people another option, which will attract more customers.
They know that they don’t have to go to the effort of finding a cash point to take some money out. You’ve made your customer’s life easier and this will help you drive more people to your business.
4. Retain your customers
The big mistake with customer base expansion is assuming you need to focus on new customers. Granted, that’s pretty much all we’ve spoken about so far! It’s definitely essential, but you also need to think about retention.
Realistically, your customer base can’t grow if you just make one-off sales. You put too much pressure on gaining new customers as you must match your sales figures and then improve on them.
Things are made easier when you have repeat customers. This helps you grow your customer base as you have a core group of customers that stay with you for a long time.
Add new ones to this – and make them loyal – and your base will gradually grow.
So, work on customer retention techniques like loyalty programs, ongoing discounts, and exclusive incentives for people who keep coming back to you.
Like we said in the introduction, an expanding customer base helps you make more sales. You must bring in some new customers, but also try and retain your existing ones.
What surprising ways have you found to expand your customer base? As a Digital Entrepreneur, I’m very excited about the way I’ll be expanding my customer base next year – via Virtual Summits. Watch this space. 🙂