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Tips: 10 ways to grow your customer base

By James Wanzala | Published Wed, July 11th 2018 at 11:27, Updated July 11th 2018 at 11:32 GMT +3
Nikki Summers, Regional Director for Sage in East Africa.(Courtesy)

Customers are essential to your business success - the more you have, the more sales and profit you are likely to make.

Your focus and time should be split between keeping existing customers happy so that they keep coming back and identifying opportunities to attract new customers.But this is easier said than done; if it were as easy as it sounds, not many enterprises would close down as they are now. Business is tough and you just might have to scour the earth for clients to remain afloat. But exactly how do you do it?

Hustle met up with Nikki Summers, Regional Director for Sage in East Africa and she gave some tips on how to net those valued customers.

1. Get Social

There were more than 6.7 million social media users in Kenya in 2017, up 31 per cent from 2016, and growing. Advertising your business on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter is a great way to keep your existing customers engaged and to tell potential customers about your offerings. When you use social media to drive customers back to your website, it can also help to improve your search rankings and, therefore, your organic growth.

2. Let them try before they buy

They say tasting is believing. People love free stuff. If you own a bakery, invite passers-by into your store to experience the smells and sample some treats. The experience might be enough to convince them to buy a whole cake. Delight customers with no-strings-attached experiences and there’s a good chance you’ll convert them into paying customers. But try to get something in return, like an email address for your marketing database.

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3. Get personal

Use data and analytics to get to know your customers personally. This way, you can tailor your products and services to their needs, adding value to their lives by breaking through the clutter. Remember that you’re dealing with people, so acknowledge them, respect them and stay humble.

4. Network

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth and referrals in organically growing your business. Authenticity, relationships and trust are powerful currencies in today’s over-saturated markets. Attend networking events and trade expos in your area. Join your local chamber of commerce. Get out there and meet new people.

5. Partner up

Form strategic alliances with businesses that offer complementary products or services to instantly access a new audience. If you offer a device repair service, consider partnering with a company that sells accessories, for example.

6. Showcase your expertise

If your expertise can solve a problem for customers or help them do something faster, why not give it to them for free? Set up a YouTube channel for your bakery, share baking tips and tricks, and take your audience behind the scenes into your kitchen. People are naturally curious and want to know how things work. Show them and you’ll have a captive audience, ready to buy.

7. Expand your product range

Add a product to your service, or a service to your product. For example, hairdressers can sell haircare products, and soap retailers can offer soap-making workshops. Consider offering low, mid and high-end versions of your product to attract a range of customers.

8. Offer micro-services

In today’s sharing economy, people are hesitant to lock themselves into long-term contracts or to make large financial commitments. If possible, unbundle your services into smaller chunks that your customers can choose from. The benefit of this approach is that it’s easier to scale and you reduce your risk exposure.

9. Make it easy to say yes

People are naturally averse to risk; we don’t want to get hurt or lose money. Make it easy for us to do business with you by removing any financial, psychological or emotional risk, offering a variety of options and accepting numerous payment methods, like cards, EFT and mobile payments. A cloud-based accounting solution can automate this for you.

10.  Research and adapt

Know what the trends are in your industry, what’s changed and what’s coming next. Then adapt to those changes. Don’t be afraid to try something new, like engaging with your customers on a different platform or evolving your product to meet changing customer needs.

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. By continuously generating leads and retaining your existing customers, you can easily scale up your business and diversify into new markets.

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