One of the biggest challenges that a small business owner faces is their ability to attract--and then retain--their customers. Building a solid customer base and keeping them happy is the foundation on which you will be basing your future growth on, so it is necessary to spend some time developing strategies for client base growth and retention. What will YOU do to stand out above the crowd?
Finding one way of attracting and enticing customers is not enough anymore. In an increasingly competitive world where e-commerce dominates, you must be willing to diversify your marketing and customer service techniques to remain fresh and relevant to your audience. Here are some things you can do to differentiate your rockstar wares from those of your competitors:
Form Key Partnerships. Find other vendors that are willing to form partnerships to maximize your profits. For instance, a makeup company might join forces with a travel products business to create a line of makeup products that are specially designed for people who travel frequently. These two businesses would be mutually beneficial to one another; finding someone who can enhance your product offerings while selling theirs is one way to attract new customers and grow your audience exponentially.
Improve Customer Experience. In order to attract and retain your customers, you must be willing to do what is necessary to provide a better customer service and higher value than your competitors. You must do it consistently, time and again, and you must remind your customers why you continue to exceed their expectations better than anyone else in your market niche. The difference is in the details--follow up correspondence, freebies, additional products and services to complement already purchased items--what are you willing to do to set yourself apart and provide the best possible service?
Connect With Social Media. Everyone who is anyone is now using social media channels as a means of marketing their business and connecting with their customers. Social media outlets make you more approachable, more relevant, and more real. They allow for almost instant communication between you and potential customers, and they allow you almost effortless marketing as you create postings that you use to connect to an increasingly growing audience of media savvy users.
Protect And Develop Your Brand. Think about the image that you want to create of yourself online, and make your logos, images, and text consistent with the image that you want to convey to your customers. Inconsistencies and poorly developed content are indicators to customers that you don’t have what it takes to provide quality service to them; make sure that your mission, vision, and personality are evident in all of your online interactions with customers.
Respond Quickly To Negative Feedback---And Fix It! Showing that you care about customer concerns and reaching out quickly to respond to negative feedback and complaints is one way to ensure that you are in it to serve the individual. If something needs to be corrected between you and a customer in order to ensure satisfaction, by all means, fix those issues. Be polite and considerate in your dealings with customers, and the numbers of those who are still resistant to mending fences will pale in comparison to the scores of people who foster relationships with you because of your quality customer service.
Invest In Quality Marketing Strategies. A business has to spend money to make money--but you must invest wisely. Hire a professional to monitor your social media presence and roll out new postings regularly. Employ the services of a qualified and talented writer to create fantastic web content for you that will drive you higher in search rankings. Visibility equals credibility on the internet; make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck by creating content that leads to sales.
Assess And Adjust. Any good business owner knows that regular monitoring of current systems and the ability to make changes to stay relevant is the key to continued growth and success. Sending out customer satisfaction surveys, spending money on product development and testing, and developing new products with customer vision and desire in mind are all keys to lasting growth and continued success.
Think of your growing business as a living entity--you as head of operations are responsible for the growth and care of all aspects of your organization. Committing to learn and grow yourself is an essential part of your success plan; stay positive throughout your journey, and embrace every opportunity you are presented with to learn and grow. If you treat each customer as you would want to be treated yourself in all business transactions, you will ensure that their loyalty--and your business--will grow.