The Power of Pain

Let’s talk about human nature for a second. If I were to offer you a succulent, moist, still warm-from-the-oven piece of triple chocolate cake…

…while simultaneously slamming my heel into your toes…

…which one would you notice?

Which one would you react to?

And which one would you still be thinking about tomorrow?

People will spend an enormous amount of time, money and energy to avoid pain. They’ll avoid confrontation with bosses, neighbors, spouses and kids to avoid emotional pain. They’ll take drugs to suppress physical pain.

Your job as a successful marketer – whether you like it or not – is to use this pain to help them find a solution.

Some might call this exploitation – digging around in the pain and agitating it to motivate people to take action. You’re making the pain worse before you finally prescribe the cure.

But it’s the pain that makes people take action. And if you can help people, then it’s your job to do it. And to help people, you’ve got to use the best method possible to motivate them to take action – which is aggravating the pain and making them feel it until they cry ‘uncle.’

I know what you’re thinking – you won’t make their pain worse to sell them the solution. Instead, you’ll motivate them with a positive picture of what their life will be like once they have the solution. Well, you’re half right. Understand this – Humans will do far more to avoid pain than to receive reward. They’ll run as fast as they can away from the stick, but they’ll creep up on the carrot and many times never even reach it.

Most people cannot clearly describe what they want, which is why they never get it. But they can tell you exactly what they don’t want. By rubbing their noses in what they’re trying to avoid, you momentarily make the pain worse until it’s unbearable. They want to take action now. They NEED to take action NOW.

And then you motivate them with the positive picture of all the benefits they’ll receive from doing this thing you want them to do. The niche doesn’t matter, either. Whether you’re selling software, information, washers and dryers or stocks and bonds, agitate the problem, then offer the solution.

Examples:

Software
– how much work are they having to do, and how much business are they missing because they don’t have your automated solution?

They’ve already wasted tons of time and lost a fortune. Their competitors are ahead of them, and soon their business will be on the scrap heap.

Unless… unless they grab your software now, because then they can get x benefit and y benefit and z benefit, etc.

Health Information
– they’re overweight, tired, catching colds and at risk for serious disease. From here, it only gets worse
– much worse. Sick, in pain, bed ridden, in the hospital, heart attacks and chemo and drugs and …

but wait. They can turn their health around, starting right now.

Washers and dryers

– think how much extra they’ve already paid in water bills because they don’t have energy efficient models.

Plus, the wear and tear to their clothes from inferior washers and overheating dryers, their shoddy appearance wearing these clothes, making a lousy first impression at work because of how bad their clothes look. But you can solve it all today…

Investments
– they’ve already lost a fortune by not using your services. Just look at the returns your clients have been getting, look at how much money they started with versus what they have today.

If only they had started with you sooner, all the time and money lost. But right now you have perhaps your best investment advice yet, but it’s a super hot market and timing is critical…

Okay, you get the idea. No matter what you’re selling, you can agitate the problem and then offer the solution.

Remember, in movies the hero doesn’t arrive to save the day until things look completely bleak and desperate and the cause is all but lost. Effective marketing is no different.

Why Every Business Should Be Linked In To LinkedIn

When it comes to internet marketing, most businesses have made the effort to try and have a presence on at least one of the popular Social Media sites: Facebook; Twitter; Pinterest; YouTube.

These sites are viewed as the ‘fun’ cousins of the Social Media world, the site everyone seems to want to play with. But are they the only networking opportunities worth using for businesses?

LinkedIn is a very well known but hugely under-rated and under-used avenue of opportunity. Most people view LinkedIn as the ‘stuffed shirt’ of networking, and it’s true that if you go to LinkedIn, you won’t find a video of someone falling down or a cute picture of a cat hanging on a washing line. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Each networking site attracts a different set of potential clients. and LinkedIn is no different. In fact you could even find yourself networking and promoting yourself to more important people to your business than you ever thought possible.

If you still need convincing of the power of LinkedIn, then take a few minutes to look through these reasons why your business should be on LinkedIn too:

 

LinkedInBusiness not Pleasure

Google any business or business person, and one of the first page entries in the search results will almost certainly be their LinkedIn profile (if they have one). These profile pages contain everything you want to know about the person or company, their products and services, and more.

So when creating your business profile on LinkedIn, it is vital to fill out and use every tool LinkedIn offers, including the customized ‘Products and Business’ section. This is a superb opportunity to create a stunningly professional yet informative section that can complement your website. In here, you can market your business and products with images, videos, detailed product descriptions, links to products on your website and more. What LinkedIn is really offering you is a virtual, digital brochure with tens of thousands of potential clients waiting to connect with you.

What alternative does a potential customer have if you don’t give them the information they are looking for yourself? Their only option is to go and look for the opinions of others in random blog entries and consumer forums, and you have no control over what is being said there, good or bad.

 

Engaging Conversations

An essential element of any network is not simply to attract people to your profile, but to engage with and retain your audience for the long term. But while contact between users on sites such as Facebook and Twitter revolves around relaxed social interaction, LinkedIn is a business-orientated network. So if you can’t post pictures of cute animals in amusing situations, how can you keep interest in your brand going?

a) Daily Status Update
LinkedIn has many useful features, but none are so easy to use as the ‘Status Update’. These status updates appear in the feeds of those who are following your business page AND in the feeds of other LinkedIn members who are networked to your followers. So by posting an update on a daily basis, you are expanding both the exposure of your brand to more potential customers and giving more people the opportunity to network with your business.

b) Use A Poll
Polls are a simple yet versatile way of gathering useful information from your followers while still keeping them engaged. You can find out all sorts of relevant information about your potential customers; what they would like to discuss in the group; information about the group members themselves. Or you can use them just as a way of starting the conversation.

c) Useful Feedback
As LinkedIn members are business people themselves, use the opportunity to gather useful and significant feedback. Asking questions which relate directly to your brand can get you some incredibly valuable insights into both how your brand is seen and in learning more about what your potential customers need and want from your products and services.

d) Raise Your Profile – Sponsor An Event
Event sponsorship offers the opportunity to meet your online contacts in person. Within LinkedIn, members of a network can see every single upcoming event other members of the same network are involved in.

You may think your events look so interesting that everyone will want to come to them. But you can’t rely on people falling over your event on LinkedIn and being curious enough to come along, because it doesn’t happen that often. You have to make it happen – so make sure to send out individual invites to the members of your network in plenty of time and then follow it up with a reminder shortly before the event is due to happen.

Don’t just sponsor marketing events either. Getting involved with a charity fundraiser shows others that your business is a caring organisation, concerned about others and not just interested in profit and sales. After the event, publish and send an update with the results of the evening, pictures of people having a good time and a few testimonials if possible.

 

Don’t Go It Alone – Join A Group

When first joining any network, it’s only natural to start to connect with the people that you know. But in business, you constantly need to be looking for opportunities to increase the number of people you can showcase your business to. LinkedIn is perfect for that.

As you accept invites from other LinkedIn members, your networking potential and business profile grows. You don’t have to be shy in extending invitations to other members to connect with you either, especially if you think they will complement your own services.

Remember, it’s not just one connection you are making. Connecting with other LinkedIn members also joins you to their network of
contacts, growing both your own associated network of contacts and the amount of potential traffic to your LinkedIn business page.

Groups are a great way to find and join like minded business people. Look to join various groups associated with aspects of your own business.

Once you have the confidence, you can take it further and create your own groups around different aspects of your business or industry.

Not only will you be increasing the number of business contacts you have, but you will be actively taking and spreading the knowledge and awareness of your brand throughout the LinkedIn business network.

Companies themselves can’t join a LinkedIn group but individuals can. You could, as the business owner, join yourself, but how much more impressive would it be to your fellow LinkedIn members if some of your employees actively represented your brand within the LinkedIn group discussions and enthusiastically engages others on behalf of your brand?

 

The Power of Recommendations

To a potential customer, nothing gives more confidence than to hear someone do more than just praise a product, but to give it an outright recommendation. It says more than ‘I am happy with it’; it says to someone, ‘You need to use this too. It is so fantastic I had to tell you about it’.

The ‘Recommendation’ is a unique feature which separates LinkedIn from other Social networking sites. On LinkedIn, these recommendations, made by both clients and colleagues, allow others to give your business and professionalism a glowing report.

At the same time, you can forge new networking connections and opportunities, recommending the services and products of other members of the LinkedIn network AND using those recommendations to build up your own brand loyalty.

How? By using the Recommendation yourself to generate a good positive connection with other LinkedIn members.

When looking to recommend someone else’s product or service, don’t just choose someone who seems to be impressive and then add a standard vague ‘this product is good’ comment. Customers won’t be impressed, and it will simply look like one business doing another business a favour.

You want your recommendations to have merit and value to your customer. You want them to be able to trust what you are telling them, and for it to build confidence in you and your brand, so they will turn to your expertise when they need a service or product, so choose your recommendations wisely. Find services and products potential customers will find useful.

The other positive result of saying good, encouraging and generally positive things about the products and services of other LinkedIn businesses is they are far more likely to say something similar about yours.

 

Get Found!

You want your LinkedIn profile to increase your visibility on the internet and contribute to your rankings in the search engine results. By adjusting some of your profile wording, you can improve the Search Engine Optimisation of your LinkedIn site.

Inside the ‘Websites’ section, adding keywords to the title descriptions found in the ‘Other’ section will increase your page’s visibility on the internet searches.

When starting to complete your LinkedIn profile, keep key industry keywords and buzz terms in mind.

Try to subtly add a few key search terms your customers may use when looking for your services, but don’t stuff your profile with them as search engines like Google and Bing can penalize your site if there is an overload of keywords.

Don’t overlook your URLs. When you join and create your LinkedIn profile and pages, LinkedIn automatically creates the URLs with random numbers not a name, but these links are customisable. Change it to something the search engines can pick up on – your name, job title or location. By being creative, you may even be able to get keywords in.

 

Statistical Analysis

Studying statistical data may not be everybody’s favourite task, but it gives an impression of how effective your LinkedIn profile is, and within LinkedIn you can get detailed facts and figures on who is visiting your page, how often (or, more worryingly, not) they come, how many times someone clicks through the ‘Product and Services’ tab, which members are following your page, and a whole wealth of other stats broken down into very useful information.

But there are even more targeted marketing opportunities available to businesses on LinkedIn.

The Admin of a business page can set up customized Product and Services pages.

This means when a visitor comes through to your page, the information shown to them will be tailored to them depending on things like: How local they are to your business; what business they are in; what position they hold in their company.

Being able to modify information in this way enables you to give other LinkedIn members more relevant business information about you.

 

Network Your Network

Maximising your brand exposure is an fundamental key in getting new followers, so the easier you can make it to follow you the better. LinkedIn has 2 easy ways to do this:

‘Follow Company’ Button
By putting this button on your site, it lets followers connect quickly, and they can then track your LinkedIn activity easily and conveniently from within their own LinkedIn profile. Once your followers have grown to a decent number, add the number of your followers onto this button.

‘Share’ Button
By adding this button to the articles and content in your LinkedIn pages, you show your page visitors that they can share articles from your site with their own followers.

By making your articles informative and useful to others, you encourage others to take your business knowledge and expertise to a much wider audience of potential customers.

 

Market To A Captive Audience

With a rapidly growing membership, with hundreds of millions of business professionals worldwide, it would be a criminal oversight not to consider marketing your business to such a captive audience inside LinkedIn.

Not only does LinkedIn offer its business users ad campaigns with a massive audience, the ads themselves are immensely flexible and customisable.

Available as Pay Per Click or Pay Per Impression, the ads can be tailored to an exact audience based on a specific customer demographic like the size of the company, the business area, and occupation, to name just a few factors.

These ads can also be shown on specific pages. So you could target profile pages, company and group pages, member’s inbox or message pages, and more.

This type of targeted approach helps in getting the relevant information to the right sector of your audience – your potential clients.

There is also a choice of Ad Type:

Display Ad – An ad that can be placed on the page in a range of shapes and sizes, rather like a classified newspaper ad.

Content Ad – An ad that lets you stream several types of contend in one organized packet – like video, Twitter, Status updates, etc.

Text Link Ad – A static html link to a specific page or place

Social Ad – Social ads are a highly targeted, highly efficient way to sign up fellow LinkedIn members and to encourage them to share messages and recommend products.

They encourage a particular course of action like the ‘Follow’, ‘Recommend’ or ‘Join Group’ ads.

 

Upgrade and Expand With Advanced Apps

Once you have a good work-ing knowledge of LinkedIn, it’s time to take your LinkedIn page to the next level with some of the many advanced applications that allow you to give your LinkedIn pages greater appeal and marketing power.

Here are just a few of the great Advanced apps available to use with LinkedIn:

SLIDESHARE
Rather than having a simple static photogallery of products or business statistics, you can really impress visitors with a professional and visually interesting slideshow presentation.

MY TRAVEL
This app lets you share all your future travel plans and trips with your network, so they can see not only where you are now but where you are going to be and when.

This gives people a great opportunity to arrange to meet up for different business events and functions.

BOX.NET
If you have something you’d like to share with your followers, why not make it downloadable? Box.net lets you share every-thing from photographs to portfolios, charts and presentations.

BLOG LINK
Linking your blog up to your LinkedIn page is so easy with Blog Link.

If you use WordPress, there are many specialist WordPress app or plug-ins that can do it for you simply and easily.

HUDDLE WORKSPACES
Collaborations can be notoriously tricky things.

Huddle Workspaces is designed to smooth out this rocky road. It lets you give different groups their own workspace, which means you can provide private remote access to documents that only they will see and have access to in their workspace.

TWEET
We couldn’t possibly forget the social network that many businesses use daily!

Tweets lets you access and use your Twitter account from inside LinkedIn.

Do you feel inspired to explore the world of LinkedIn?

Or have you previously registered but didn’t know about many of the features that we mentioned or have not had much success with it? If so, please contact us.

So many businesses have either not used LinkedIn to its full potential or they don’t understand.

As a result they are missing out on a lot of potential business and useful connections.

Why Surveys Are The Next Big Thing In Business

Admittedly, I know this title might provoke some head scratching at first: “SURVEYS?! How are boring old surveys going to all of a sudden become some major player in business?” And I’m so glad you asked.

Feedback-based marketing is nothing new. Everyone knows, or at least repeats, the mantra that ‘the customer is always right’ and that giving your customers exactly what they want is the key to the success of your business. It was true 50 years ago, and it’s still true today. That said, the growth you’re about to see from survey/feedback based business practices is due to the fact that new technology is vastly changing the ways we can and do interact with customers.

Traditionally, surveys have suffered from one of two shortcomings. The first, was that if you wanted to survey customers on the spot, or right after they had made a purchase in a brick and mortar store, you were likely going to have to use paper surveys. While you were collecting valuable realtime feedback, the tedium and cost of paper survey supplies and data entry was more than a little speedbump in keeping customer feedback a viable adjust-as-you-go business strategy.

More recently, we’ve had programs and websites which allow the creation of online surveys. These surveys can have their data indexed and organized in realtime, saving you hours or work and pay fishing through results. The downside was that there were no easy ways to execute these types of surveys when they were most needed (i.e. at a point of sale). Instead, customers would have to be emailed a link or asked to visit a website hours or even days later. At this point, the quality and accuracy of feedback and recall declines and you won’t get as good of insights as you could have.

Now, however, companies like Responster and Customerville have jumped on the rise of tablets and mobile phones to help bring the best of both worlds together. For your business, that looks like cross-platform surveys that are made to be integrated into touch and run on any device. Now, a business that invests in setting up a cheap iPad kiosk can all of a sudden be collecting helpful feedback from a large percentage of their customers within the first day.

Over time, it will become more apparent that the businesses who take advantage of platforms that allow them to better interact with and respond to customer feedback will perform better. Whereas the marketplace used to be largely dictated by what businesses told the public they needed in the past, we now exist in a consumer controlled world. The internet was the first wave of customer empowerment, social media overhauled it altogether, ensuring that customer complaints and suggestions could be heard around the world as soon as they were thought of, and now we’ve arrived at the third era. Mark my words, feedback is going to separate businesses more and more in the next few years, because no one is going to turn away from a brand that designs their product and service offerings in direct response to something that customer suggested 3 hours ago.

Choose the Right Social Media Platform with This Simple Question

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: when it comes to social media, you shouldn’t have a problem putting all of your eggs in one basket if you don’t have the time or budget for an extensive social media campaign. There’s nothing worse (in terms of social promotions and brand imaging) than putting social widgets on your website only to lead to malnourished, underwhelming social media sites.

The Importance of Updating Social Media

When a viewer gets to a neglected social media page, a few things happen. First, your lead might think you are out of business. They also might think they are in the wrong place. Third, they might just assume that you don’t care about your customers (or don’t care in general) and just write you off as an option for buying.

The bottom line? If you’re not going to update every one of your social media pages constantly, it’s better to cut your losses and just delete the accounts. Of course, social media is super-important, so a better option would be to delete all but one, but which one?

The One Question that Tells You Which Social Media is Right for You

The best way to figure out which social media platform should be your main focus is to ask yourself the following question: If I only had to use one social media platform for the rest of my life, which would it be? This might seem simplistic, but let’s look deeper into the question.

What is in a social media platform for you? Do you need pictures of your products to get visitors over to your affiliate sites? Is your marketing based on real-time actions? Are you a B2B or B2C marketer? In short: what drives customers to your site?

When you know what your audience is doing, you know what you need to do. For example, if you are an affiliate marketer for Amazon and your only social media presence is to share reviews, having a Facebook account set up where you can share links complete with pictures might be your best bet. On the other hand, if you only deal with flash sales online, Twitter will allow you to stay plugged into the pulse of your audience so you can reach them as it happens. Looking to land higher-ups in the company and sell them software? LinkedIn has the largest amount of professionals so that’s where you will want to be.

The key here is to recognize what each of the social media platforms means for your specific means of promotion. If you only want to pin up items that you are reviewing and then forget about them, Pinterest might be the way to go since you won’ t have to deal with answering questions from posters and commenters.

When You Have It, Run With It

Of course, if you can’t decide on which social media platform you’d choose if you could only choose one for the rest of your life, there’s a very simple option: look at your Google Analytics and see which social media sites are driving the most traffic to your websites. Then, take a serious look at how much time you’ve put into each of those sites.

Are you getting 20% of all your traffic from LinkedIn but only spending 5% of your time there? Then increasing your effort on LinkedIn might be a good strategy over focusing on another platform that brings in 30% of your traffic but takes up 85% of your time.

Growing Your Customer Base

Winning a new customer is far more expensive than selling more to your existing clients. Knowing who your best customers are can help you improve customer satisfaction and also help you sell more to those existing customers.

Gaining new clientele is one of the most difficult aspects of running a business, so it is important to retain and look after the ones you already have, and sell more to them, but at the same time still looking for new customers.

This guide explains how to get to know your customers and understand your market so you can increase sales and develop your business. It gives you details on how to use sales data, customer care systems and your databases to develop a strategy for keeping customers.

It also shows how to identify your most valuable customers, and how to maximize this value.


How to build your customer base

Every business needs a solid customer base in order to be successful. It’s important because customers provide you with revenue. Not only that, but they give you the essential feedback which helps you continually improve your offers and services, and they spread the word to other people about your business and what you do.

None of this happens by accident. Building a dependable customer base takes time and effort. If you want to build your business up on a solid foundation, you need to pay close attention to who your customers are and try to understand what motivates them to buy from you.


Who and where are your customers?

The very first step in building a customer base is to know: Who your customers are, and where you can find them. Once you have this information you can manage your customer relationships by engaging with them more effectively. This will have the effect of increasing sales to these existing customers as well as attracting new ones.


Customer profiling: What you should know about your customers

Knowing your customer’s key characteristics will help you decide where, when and how to communicate with them.

If you have been in business for a number of years, or you sell to a specific niche audience, no doubt you will already have a good idea about your customer’s general age, location and gender, but there is a lot more information that could be helpful to you.

For example:
• Do you know the websites your customers visit and what kind of publications they read?
• What other products and services do they buy?
• Why do they buy from you and when?
• What type of customer spends most with you?

If you have just a few customers you could add specific personal information to your customer profiles, such as a buyer’s particular interests.

If your customer base is large and diverse you need to segment them into groups that share similar characteristics and think about the best way to target each group.

Profiling customers this way enables you to better communicate with existing customers and target new customers more accurately. Getting this kind of information could be a simple matter of picking up a telephone and speaking to them. Or it might require a more formal approach such as running a survey in your newsletter or online survey program (we can help you with both of these if you don’t publish an online newsletter or don’t know how to create an online survey.


Why you should concentrate on looking after your most profitable customers

There is good reason to concentrate on looking after your most profitable customers: In general 80% of sales come from just 20% of your customers. Figures also prove it costs around 5 times more to get new customers as it does to sell to existing ones.

So it makes absolute perfect business sense to identify your most profitable customers. By making sure you provide them with excellent customer service, you are ensuring they will remain loyal and to maximize your profits.

Not only that, but they will be far more likely to recommend you to others. Your most profitable customers are the ones who will provide the foundation for the growth of your company. You can increase your profits further. Knowing the characteristics of these clients makes it easier for you to identify and target prospective customers who share similar characteristics.

Derek Williams, chief executive of The WOW! Awards for Customer Service, highlighted how important it was for businesses to identify profitable customers. He said: “The secret to growth is to have more customers of the type you want to have, to increase your average sale value and to get them to buy more often.”


Building good relationships with existing customers

Communication and good customer service is central to strengthening and building your customer base, but where do you start?

The golden rule of marketing is: Go where your customers are. You could have the greatest idea in the world, but you have to get people to see you. After all, you need to have customers before you start worrying about profits.

For the majority of small businesses, being visible today means having a presence on the internet.

It is well worth doing your homework to find out what channels you should be using to target your customers. A simple way is to ask your customers where they go online. It is also worth looking to see what your competitors are doing.


Continue to engage with your customers – even after the sale

A common trap many businesses fall into is they only communicating with customers to make a sale offer. Take time to engage and build a relationship with them first. That way, when your customers are ready to buy, they will think of you first.

There are so many ways that you can do this. For example, social media and email newsletters are excellent for maintaining regular contact. Many small business owners comment successfully to local media via a press release to build their profile. You can even use face-to-face networking as a very effective way of getting to know your customers.

Make it a rule to always offer something of value whenever you have contact with your customers. This could simply be answering questions about your products or services.

If you are a niche business, you probably already share your client’s passion for your product or service. Make sure that passion shines through.

 

Use Social Media

70% of Internet users use social media

36% of small businesses use Facebook to engage with customers

More than 1 in 3 social media users talk about brands online

1 in 3 small businesses sell online and made over 130bn sales in 2012

Acquiring new customers

When it comes to increasing the size of your customer base, the first people you should look to are your most loyal customers. They are your best salespeople because they are more likely to recommend your business to others.

However, if you take the time to learn about them through profiling and communication this will help to tell you who you should be targeting next. Ideally, you should aim to get more customers that are just like the best customers that you already have.

Customer loyalty: How to generate repeat business

It’s always a great feeling to get a sale and though one-off sales are fine, the chances are you will want every customer to buy from you again and again. The most obvious way to achieve this is to provide a good product or service at a good price, along with excellent customer service. It has never been more important to treat your customers well, since almost half of all consumers now put more importance on customer service since the start of the recession.

Customers love being valued and treated like VIPs. Many shoppers today will not stand for a poor retail experience.

An ‘Insites Study’ revealed 36% would not give a business a second chance if they didn’t feel it was up to scratch. 
But generating customer loyalty goes well beyond service at the point of sale.

“If you really want to stand out from your competition, build a community around your customer that adds value in a unique way,” says Derek Williams.

Take time to find out what customers really value about your business – and give it to them. Involve them in your business. You can even do this by letting them get involved in helping you develop new products and services.

There is always a market for anything that saves people time or money, makes their lives easier, or simpler or cheaper. When providing something like this, make sure your costs are very competitive and you are giving customers exactly what they want, rather than trying to tell them what you think they want. You have to be absolutely focused on delivering something of real value to them.


Targeting prospects

You will find that when you are marketing well to your existing customers, you will very quickly start to pick up new ones. To get to this stage, you will have had to learn not only who your customers are but where they are. You will also have discovered what they like about your product or services, when they buy and what communications channels they use.

You then use this exact same information to deliberately target fresh customers through offers and promotions and through generating referrals from existing customers.


How – and when – to run special offers and promotions

Potential customers are much more likely to take the plunge and buy from you if you offer good incentives for them to do so. The classic ‘Buy-one-get-one-free’ is great if you have unsold stock to shift.

However there are many other incentives you can use, and understanding customer preferences is crucial when making offers and promotions.

For example:
• Offering a product or service at a discounted rate when a customer buys a popular related product or service will increase your average sale value. 
• Selecting popular products as prizes for competitions and challenges will increase engagement and referrals, particularly online.

Getting the timing right is equally important. When do your customers most likely want to hear what you are offering? Seasonal sales and external events such as national holidays can offer good hooks for promotions. So, too, can the release of a new and improved product or service.

Don’t just do it randomly: Have a reason to make the offer and stress the value and benefits your customer will gain by taking this offer up.


Use your customers themselves to increase your customer base

Nobody knows the other players in the marketplace better than your existing customers so find ways to get your customers to promote what you do, such as a financial incentive in order to find you new business. Companies like Amazon do this very well by creating an affiliate program; individuals promote your products and get paid a commission on every sale.

Referrals are always a really effective way of getting new customers. 76% of consumers cite word of mouth as their main influence when deciding on which product to buy.

The internet makes it particularly easy for businesses to find get referrals because more than a third of social media users have talked about brands online, and four out of five online retailers reported increased sales after adding comment features on their websites and product pages.

If you are selling or marketing online it makes sense to enable ‘social sharing’ on your website landing pages. You can even ask customers to leave a testimonial if you advertize in online directories.

Your aim is to be certain that wherever new customers are likely to encounter you – online or offline – they are able to read something positive about your business that’s been said by another customer.

To encourage feedback offer customers incentive schemes to refer you. For example you could offer a discount when someone introduces a new customer or an invitation to a product launch. Some businesses now use group buying as a way of encouraging people to share discounts with friends and family on social media sites.

There is always something you can offer your customers as a reward for helping you grow your customer base.


Ten Steps to Growing Your Customer Base

1. Focus on the right customers. Just because you might have a small business don’t just think you can only sell to other small businesses. 
2. Stay connected with your customers. Engage with them. Build a solid relationship with them. The internet and social media marketing makes this extremely easy to do.
3. Offer extra value. Always try to over-deliver so your customers will stay loyal to you and keep coming back for more.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals and testimonials. 
5. Understand and address your customer’s key frustrations. 
6. Keep communicating with your customers. Don’t let them forget about you. You can do this via online newsletters, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook etc. Provide offers and information which may be of value to them. 
7. Make it your aim to get to know your customers. Find out as much as you can about them. Get to know their interests, their partners names, how many children they have, what pets they have, what car they drive etc.
8. Improve your customer service skills. This includes how you communicate with them, how you answer the phone to them and how you present yourself and your business. Whatever contact your customers have with you, it should always be a positive experience. 
9. Ask customers how you can do things better. No company is perfect but if you allow your customers to give you feedback you will keep them on side and loyal to your business.
10. Create forums or Facebook groups where customers can share information and ideas. Create a community for them to be a part of. It all helps with the engagement and keeping them loyal to you.

We have many more marketing ideas that will help to take your business to another level. To find out more about how we can help your company and give you a solid online marketing strategy please don’t hesitate to contact us.