Moving forward with your business means experimenting with new strategies to grow. With that in mind, business development — identifying new customer bases and building relationships — should be a top priority. To help you out, we’ve put together five ideas for finding new customers to grow your business.
1. Tap into your social media following.
Whether you’re looking for a new dentist or a new restaurant, it’s human nature to ask people you know for suggestions. We trust our friends, family, neighbours and coworkers to steer us in the right direction and give us honest advice.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networking platforms make it easier than ever for people to crowdsource and share suggestions. Mobilize your followers to spread your message by adding a call to action at the end of every post such as “share this” or “tag a friend.”
2. Be transparent.
Globally, consumers are looking for more than great products and services — they want to support companies they believe in.
With increasingly savvy customers, you may consider sharing the following about your business: where your products are made and who is making them, how the items are packaged and transported, and any charitable organizations you support.
Post these bits of information on your site and promote then through social media, advertising or in media coverage (if and when applicable) so potential customers understand your mission and can feel good about supporting you.
3. Launch a referral program.
Loyal customers are precious assets, so cultivate those relationships and reward them for referring people in their network. There are a lot of options for doing this, ranging from simple to sophisticated.
You might offer referral links that customers can send to friends. Then, when the new customer makes a purchase, they, along with the referrer, receive a discount.
You could also start a brand ambassador program that gives your best customers and biggest fans early or free access to new products or services, or rewards them for attracting new business.
4. Create a UGC marketing campaign.
User-generated content, or UGC, is content (like social media posts and online reviews) that consumers produce to share their feelings and opinions about products, services and businesses.
Research shows that consumers — especially millennials — check UGC before making purchases and often trust it more than traditional media. This makes UGC a pretty powerful tool that businesses can leverage in their marketing efforts.
Encourage your customers to share their experience with your product or service, and find creative ways to use the material to help promote your product on social media or on a “What our customers say about us” page on your website. Just make sure you’re aware of any legal requirements that might apply to sharing your customers’ UGC before you use it.
5. Team up with other businesses.
Whether you own a brick-and-mortar business, an online operation or a combination of the two, joining forces with like-minded companies is a stellar way to broaden your reach and maximize your marketing efforts.
If you own a clothing boutique, think about partnering with a local spa and restaurant for a giveaway package that includes a gift card, services and a meal. Online registration for the giveaway could include an opt-in for email marketing lists, so your business can reach the customers who sign up through your partnering organizations.
There are no limits to the options, but before you propose (or agree to join) a multibusiness marketing promotion, make sure that it’s guaranteed to expand your audience.