Going from an idea to a profitable business is a long journey and one of the most important factors is building up a decent customer base. It can be quite challenging to find ways to attract new customers when you have limited resources, which startups most often do. As a small business owner, you have to figure out who your customer base is, and even more importantly, which of their problems can your products/services solve. In this article, we’ll try to highlight some of the tips you can use if you’re looking to build a customer base which will help you expand your business.
Focus on Your Niche
Many startups get tempted by the huge market believing in the many opportunities that it offers. What they fail to recognize is the sheer number of competitors on every corner, and becoming decent in many fields is still worse than becoming the best in a single field. This is why you should start small and try to determine your highly specialized niche. Not only will this grant you some time to identify your early adopters, but you’ll also be able to test your products in the niche market and adjust accordingly.
By specifically targeting a certain group you’re not only lowering the number of your competitors, but you’re also doing it on a budget because it’s much easier to research a smaller market and create a strategy that will work for it.
Customer referrals have to be one of the best ways of increasing your current customer base. All you need to do is offer some benefits to the existing customers who are willing to bring more customers to try your products. It’s also a good idea to reveal these benefits to the users even before they sign up. Payoneer’s referral program, for example, grants 25$ to both the existing user and the candidate. This way the candidate will immediately know the benefits of referring your site to another person and will probably bring you another customer sooner rather than later. You should also consider running a social-network referral program as well, by offering benefits in exchange for likes and shares.
Invest in Customer Support
This one’s dead simple. You can’t pay for an honest recommendation, and they are usually more valuable than any other form of advertising. Word of mouth is extremely potent when it comes to attracting new customers, especially when you’re new to the market.
A great way to create that feeling in your existing customers is to have an excellent customer support. Be available for all their issues by implementing a live chat and try to solve any of their problems. Users don’t like to worry, and having a reputation for awesome customer support can help you immensely. It worked for the largest companies, so why shouldn’t it for you?
Expand Your Offer
Once you’ve built a name in your niche and fulfilled the needs of your existing customers, you may feel that it’s time to take your offer further ahead – and you may be right. The key is to take small steps at a time, always upgrading on the existing base.
You don’t want to go from selling cat litter to water filters. Amazon started by selling books and once it conquered the market it moved onto CDs and DVDs, which is exactly what you want to try to do (although not exactly with the same products).
Optimize Your Website
We’re living in the time when being visible in search engine rankings is the difference between success and demise. Not only will SEO bring you more traffic, but it will also improve your clickthrough and conversion rates.
SEO should start with web design itself, which will ensure that your website is optimized for mobile device searches, which make about 60% of all searches on the internet today. The more your website is user-friendly, the better you’ll rank – so make sure that your website is fast and that you offer high-quality content to your visitors.
Small business growth is directly influenced by expanding your customer base, so if you can’t do it the chances are your business is going to stagnate. There’s no magic formula for this, though, but you should learn with time to test out the new things and find out what will work for your business. The online market is changing from day to day basis, so it’s really important to stay in touch with current trends if you really want to build a notable customer base.