build a customer base
Learn how to win new customers from these stalls

It does not have to be expensive to build a customer base and you do not need to know all there is to know about digital marketing. You can build a customer base through a few simple steps which will not consume too much of your time. The once thing you will really need to do is commit to providing the best service that you possibly can so that a customer never leaves dissatisfied.

1. Find the people who network regularly and provide them with your business card. If you can get someone to spread the word of your new business then this is the best way to build a customer base. Passing out business cards at the end of each sale or service will enable you to spread the word through reputation. Consider offering a referral bonus to anyone who gets you another customer.

2. Whenever you speak to a customer or communicate with them, ask them how they found out about your services. Try not to be pushy but it is important to know how people are finding out about you so that you can target your marketing. If no one responded to your newspaper advert then it probably isn’t worth doing again.

3. Utilise social media marketing to promote your business. If you offer a prize to one of the first 100 people who “˜like’ your Facebook page for example, you will be able to encourage an active participation in the page and build a communication base.

4. Place coupons with expiration dates in other businesses in the area to encourage customers to try your services. If you are based online then you can do this by hosting links to companies in return for a reciprocal service. This works best with companies similar to yours. If you run a wedding dress shop, for example, it would be sensible to link with wedding cake makers and venues.

5. Utilise frequent customer rewards. Having a loyalty card with 5-10 stamps on it will keep customers coming back to you even if it is slightly less convenient. This is demonstrated by coffee chains who manage to retain repeat customers through the use of loyalty cards despite the close proximity of many other cafes.

6. Target your advertising for the right age and demographic. If your target market is pensioners then it would be unwise to market with images of rock climbing for example. The marketing needs to appeal to those people that you wish to act on it.

7. Place coupons in the back of the telephone directory. This will almost certainly help to increase your customer base because a huge number of people will see it.

8. Advertise on your car. Your car is a tool which most people underutilise. If it is parked in a car park then you may as well make it work for you by plastering it with adverts. Always be sure to park correctly and neatly when doing this because your business cannot appear to be careless.

9. Mail Christmas Greetings or other celebrations with offers to your customers. Getting into the festive spirit will make you stand out from other businesses and customers will remember that they received a card from your company.

Image: crabchick / Flickr