Every company needs new customers in order to grow. But a business can’t lose focus from keeping the valued customers it already has. This is particularly true for small business owners who know just how difficult it can be to bring customers through the door.
While you want to be creative and invent new strategies to make your products and services look enticing, you’ll need to strike a balance between bringing in new customers and retaining your loyal ones. There are plenty of innovative ways to attract people’s attention, but keeping it is another story. If you’re a small business owner with limited time and resources, focus on these three areas of lead generation and customer retention:
Examine your customer list
Determine who on your customer or client list is coming back and who is giving you the most business. Is there a way that you can work better for them? Once you figure out what draws those customers back, you can determine some ways to bring in new customers based on that information.
But remember, it’s all about finding the middle ground. You want your marketing strategy to be interesting and informative to new prospects, but you also want to make sure your loyal customers are happy and promoting you to their networks. If you apply the Pareto Principle to your business, you presume that 80 percent of your revenue is generated by 20 percent of your customer base. That means, your success is largely dependent on the loyalty of your existing customers.
Harness your social media power
Is your small business on social media? If it isn’t, it should be. You know customer retention is crucial to the survival of your business, and should also know you can’t do it without building solid relationships. Those relationships are a two-way street. Social media is a great place for customers to connect with your brand and for your brand to connect with them.
Here are some ways to reach new customers and strengthen your relationship with old ones through social media:
- Run a paid advertisement on Facebook
- Have an Instagram sale
- Run a contest on Twitter
- Use Google+ to build new connections
When using social media to connect with your customers, you must be an attentive listener. While providing contests and giveaways is a nice way to attract customers, show off your brand, and build your following, you also need to focus on customer satisfaction. This means answering every question you receive, acknowledging comments, and engaging in conversations with customers.
Generate new products and services
Expanding your offering is an effective way to bring in new customers. While you may be hesitant to take on more debt to support innovation, remaining competitive should be a priority for any business and there are smart ways to finance your efforts.
Short term business loans are a fast and easy way to get cash in hand when you need it for things such as financing a new growth opportunity. Short term loans can cover project costs that will be recouped in a few months, bridging a seasonal sales slowdown, or even purchasing inventory at a great price. There are no restrictions on how you can use the funds.
Remember that in addition to helping you generate new products and services to attract and retain customers, using short term financing can help you improve your credit history and score, build a thicker credit profile, and help you qualify for different types of financing down the road. The key is to be smart about calculating the return on investment for your business before you take on this type of financing.
Check back next month for part 5 of our series, How Smart Financing Can Solve Big Problems for Small Businesses, where we’ll talk about effective time management tricks for your small business.
Want to catch up on the previous article in the series? Read on for Tips For Staying Passionate and Avoiding Burnout.
No matter the size, the time in business, or the industry, every small business faces a myriad of challenges daily. Access to capital is arguably the biggest roadblock to every business owner’s ability to address these pains and problems. This 5-part series pinpoints some of the most common bumps in the road for small business owners as well as smart, effective solutions for navigating these challenges. Learn how to deal with hiring frustrations, cash flow woes, business owner burnout, customer retention issues, and time management struggles, as well as how to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to accessing the funds you’ll need to face these issues head on.