Congratulations! You took the risk and stepped out on your own. You are the boss—you provide first-rate services, you find and manage your customers, you make sure bills are paid, invoices sent, problems solved, employees hired and trained and much more. In other words, your spinning plates add up quickly. Often, the struggles of keeping all these plates spinning can be overwhelming, making the idea of expansion or growth feel daunting, if not impossible. But isn’t growth the idea? No business dream includes the words, “…and I’ll have 6 loyal customers and never need more.” So let’s stack some of those plates and start planning for the growth of your business!
If you’ve been on our blog site before, you’ve heard this statement—delegate, delegate, delegate! Are there plates spinning that your employees or an app/automated system could help with? Evaluate your daily task list, look closely at those management tasks you dislike or that take up lots of time. Accountants, organizations such as the SBA (Small Business Administration) and software solutions can all help share the load. For more ideas on how to delegate, check out 5 Tips for Increasing Productivity.
Ahhhhh, some of those plates are stacked and you have…time! Let’s reinvest some of that time back into your business with proactive strategies for marketing your services. It’s time to increase those 6 loyal customers to 20 and growing. The following will help you invest your time wisely in marketing your business.
There are two types of customers in your marketing world—existing customers, those that use or have used your services or products and new customers, everyone else you want to walk through your door or use your business.
Develop a target audience by looking at your existing customer data and planning for new customers. Knowing age-range, gender, interests, most commonly purchased items, how often s/he uses your business helps build a marketing campaign relevant to your existing and new customer base. Knowing who you are reaching out to allows for more focused and successful marketing strategies. So let’s delve more deeply.
Engage Existing Customers:
82% of small business owners said that loyal customers were the main way they grow their business (Constant Contact)
Your existing customers are a great way to grow your business quickly. Not only are they great advocates of your business, they are more likely to upgrade services and purchase from you again. So how do you build loyalty with your current customers?
- Use your data! This allows you to personalize emails, create sale packages or opportunities and customize offers for the most successful services or items. These can be done in-store or through an online store option.
- Build relationships. Help your current customers know how special they are. Consider offering returning customer discounts, hosting special events that only customers are invited to attend, or early alerts for new products or services you are selling. This comes with the added benefit of building customer referrals. These relationships often lead customers to rave about your products or services to others, thus increasing your new customer base as well!
- Stay in touch. Reaching out to customers post-purchase helps your business stay fresh in their minds. For large services such as construction or lawn care, contacting the customer a few weeks after completion of the project will help you answer any questions, solve any problems and optimally, sell more. For smaller services, use of online sales software can assist with automated and personalized invoices, as well as targeted emails and reminders.
For more strategies and ideas for engaging your existing customers, check out 7 Ideas for Marketing to Existing Customers.
Attracting New Customers:
58% of Americans perform online research about the products and services that they are considering purchasing. (Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project)
Getting your brand out there and marketing your services to your target audience is important. Some have already found you, but how will you reach the rest? Your customer data definitely helps you focus in on your desired customer base. Now what to do with that data to turn data into customers?
- Develop a marketing plan. Taking your data and translating it into action requires planning. Sitting down and laying out your goals, how you think you might best reach your audience, and how you will know if it’s working or not is essential. Fear not! Check out Your marketing plan, a clear, simple template you can print.
- Promote your services. You’ll need to think about this step as you create your marketing plan. What systems are you using currently – print ads, mailings, a website, email, social media?
- If you do not have a website for your company yet, that should be your first order of business. Just look at the statistic above! There are plenty of free and low-cost options for setting up a website so don’t waste another minute! Include interactive elements (button links to a shopping cart, short quizzes) to keep your customers engaged.
- Using personalized emails to a targeted list is still a great way to get business heading your way. The more engaging, the better. Let your future customers know about specials, sales, new merchandise, or new accessibility (for example online payments or an online store). Include a link to your website!
- Create a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. These are free and a great way to reach customers today. While they are great resources for marketing your product, they can be overwhelming. Don’t worry, there’s an app for that! Hootsuite or Sprout Social are great social media management tools. Empower your employees to advocate for your business by sharing content on their personal social-media profiles. Here are 3 apps that can assist you in getting the word out: Dynamic Signal, SoAmpli, EveryoneSocial.
- Reach out to your happy customers. A happy customer is a positive referral and a new customer waiting to contact you. Nurture these positive relationships and reach out to those happy customers for a testimonial. Adding customer testimonials to your website and social media sites helps build trust in your business.
- Be true to yourself and your vision. There are many great ideas out there for marketing your products, and new ideas pop up every day. For example, in The Fastest Way to Find New Customers, a plan for building host relationships with already established businesses is clearly laid out. However, all plans require that you have a solid understanding of your business goals and stay true to your vision. Make sure not to stretch yourself too thin and that you are checking-in on progress with your current marketing strategies before trying something new.
Alright, we went from spinning plates, to stacking them, to adding more plates! Customers are the inspiration for your business. They drive what you do every day. Engaging those customers to increase your business and getting in contact with more people who want what you offer is a win-win. This plate is worth spinning!
Remember, it’s okay to ask for help. Check into resources offered by organizations that specialize in small business management and success.
Learn more ways that PaySimple can help you collect and use your customer data to retain customers, accept online payments to improve your cash flow and market your services with the new online store.