As a business owner, you should always be on the hunt for new customers and seeking methods to bring them to your door. If you are not consistently looking for opportunities to build your customer base, your business could fall off of the growth track. There are lots of ways to reach your prospects. I offer you these tips that will help you keep your business out in front of your target customers:
Start using one new social media site. If you have been spending all of your time on Facebook, it might be time to branch out to Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or LinkedIn. It all depends on whom you are targeting for business. Figure out where your best target customers spend time online, and go become part of the conversation, too. Share generously and remember content is your currency. Go for the relationship, not the sale right away.
Do more face-to-face networking. It might be surprising, but old fashioned in-person networking still works well. Why? Because people do business with people they know. Your goal at any networking event should be to develop five quality contacts. Don't be one of those drive-by networkers trying to give your business card to everyone. Arrive at the event on time for the reception, and have a plan for who you want to meet. Keep in mind, everyone is worth your time. If you build a relationship with someone, you can quite possibly turn them into a customer or a referral. You never know who they know or who their brother is in business.
Consider using one of the daily deals sites. Using Groupon or Livingsocial is a great way to cultivate qualified leads for a small business. Think of a valuable, but low cost upsell to make the deal work a little better for you financially. Customers don't usually balk at a $15-$25 foot scrub upgrade with their massage coupon. The cut you will pay to the website service should be considered part of your monthly marketing budget.
Activate Your Unpaid Sales Force. Send out an e-mail blast to your existing customer base asking for referral and offer a 10 percent or higher commission on any business that is closed. You also want to make sure that your most recent clients hear from with within two weeks of making a purchase. Use the opportunity to check in and make sure they were happy with the service and use the opportunity to ask them for a recommendation on LinkedIn or Yelp depending on what kind of business you have. Be sure to include the link, if you make them search for it they will not do it. People do not have time.
Create a free download offer on your website. Create a special report, white paper, product sample, or a free evaluation so that you can build up your email marketing list. Social media is great, but e-mail converts better than any other form of customer communication. It is also a great way to educate a new customer or demonstrate your expertise.
Give a Free Speech. Organizations are always looking for speakers who do not charge, especially because experts like me charge thousands. I have done my fair share of free speeches and you would be amazed how often I get paid business from them after the fact. You will want to make sure that you only speak in front of audiences of target customers otherwise it could be a waste of time. Always prepare a great leave behind that tells people how to hire you and have special offer at a free speech to upsell attendee your products and services.
Craft a "Fan" Only Special. An exclusive promotion for people who visit your website to grab a special code for a discount or free item makes them feel like they've won a prize. Promote it through your e-mail contacts and social media accounts with the purpose of building more website traffic. If you can, purchase Facebook or LinkedIn advertising to help successfully drive your project.
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This post originally appeared on Succeed As Your Own Boss.
Can you share some tips on how to build your small business customer base?