It’s the simplest business common sense: More customers mean more sales. Many small businesses reach a point where their customer base and sales stagnate, and they find it difficult to figure out how to spur new sales growth. This often occurs if your small business targets a niche market. However, even niche markets can be expanded with the proper efforts in marketing.
Examine your Business
The first step in figuring out the best way to move toward expanding your customer base is to examine every aspect of your business, looking to see areas of your operation where you could make some changes to draw in new customers. For example, if you operate a retail business, take a look at your in-store staff. Do all of your store employees basically share the same demographic profile? Diversifying your in-store staff in terms of age, sex, race, and cultural background can help to draw in a correspondingly more diverse, larger range of customers. Check your marketing for diverse images as well, such as photos on your website, social media posts, and in your advertising.
Make a Public Relations Push
Getting your company spotlighted in a positive way by the media is great free advertising. Broad media coverage, which may also be picked up and shared elsewhere, such as across social media outlets, can help to strengthen customer relationships and enhance your brand image with existing customers, and it’s also an excellent avenue for expanding your reach to potential customers who may not even be aware of your business. You don’t have to wait for the media to come to you. You can reach out to them with a phone call or an email asking if they’d be interested in doing an interview or a story about your company. Many media outlets are eagerly looking for news material to fill their broadcasts, so there’s a good chance that you’ll find at least one or two outlets that will be interested. It helps if you can offer them a ready-made story line when you contact them. Consider suggesting stories on a new or recently introduced product your company makes, notable achievements such as opening a new store location or reaching your one millionth sale, or an interview with an especially talented or interesting employee on your team.
Employ a Total Marketing Effort
One way to expand your customer base is to expand the number of channels you’re marketing your products through. Check your sales and marketing campaigns to make sure you’re taking advantage of every possible marketing avenue. Many small businesses that enjoy initial success with one or two marketing efforts tend to neglect implementing other techniques. One method of reaching new customers that often gets ignored is cold calling. Making cold calls is an effective way of soliciting new customers. Don’t miss out on opportunities for referrals, since word-of-mouth advertising is still one of the easiest ways to attract new customers. Another possible area for expanded marketing is trade shows or other networking events. Broadening and diversifying your customer base is important, because having a small customer base leaves your business more vulnerable to sudden changes in the marketplace. Examine your business to see how you can increase your marketplace reach and diversify the appeal of your business.