Your business started strong, but as time passes, you find that the same old marketing techniques you’ve been using no longer work to increase your customer base. Maybe you faithfully attend your BNI chapter meetings in hopes of reaping in referrals, but they’re just not rolling in. Or perhaps you started out with solid marketing practices, but as you got busy, they fell by the wayside, as did the growth of your business. How can you get yourself back in the groove, and improve your marketing techniques to attract new customers immediately? Fortunately, we’ve got some tips for improving your marketing plan to ensure that you’ll have as many customers as you can handle ASAP.
Examine Your Marketing Plan
Before you start adding new techniques, study your current marketing plan closely. (We’re going to assume that you’ve got one. If you don’t? Well, now’s a good time to create one.) Surely there are things that worked better than others; if, for example, you found that you generated some new customers after sending out an e-newsletter, perhaps you should do that on a regular basis. Take the techniques that are already working, and put them into more regular rotation. As you increase your customer base, be sure to regularly revisit your marketing plan; this will allow you to keep tabs on how each of the different aspects is performing, and you can tweak them to ensure that you’re getting the best performance possible.
Email Marketing Plan
- Email is a business’s best friend. It’s inexpensive, it’s efficient, and it’s very effective. Customers prefer to receive information about businesses via email, particularly if they’ve given the business their permission to be marketed to. (It’s best to grow your email list organically; purchasing email lists can get you into trouble in the long run.) If you send regular updates, special offers, and information about your services, you will be the first business that comes to mind should they ever need assistance in your field. Your business will be familiar to them.
- You can also use email to offer potential customers useful information. Utilize these emails to establish yourself as an authority in the eyes of your customers. Say, for example, a commercial cleaning company sends an email giving tips on how property managers can reduce expenses, helping them tighten up their budget. At the bottom of the email, the business can talk about their services, so that when the property manager decides to take the good advice offered, that business will be the first to come to mind.
- Email can be a useful tool for follow-up after a customer has utilized your services. You can ask them about their experience, and offer information about the many benefits of utilizing your services regularly. We have a client that does a lot of move out cleaning services. What they want is to convert them into an ongoing client for bi-monthly cleaning services at their new home. They have an email template that they used to send clients shortly after receiving their move out cleaning. But they aren’t using it consistently so they’re losing out on many opportunities to convert a one-time client into an ongoing client. This is a good way to convert a one-time customer into a regular client, without putting forth a great deal of effort on your part. It’s free, and it’s easy, so there’s no reason not to try it.
Facebook is Your Friend
Facebook has millions of users, so it just makes sense to harness its power to target users who would benefit from your services. Before you do anything else, you should create a Facebook fan page, which users can “like” to get information about you and your business. There’s even a feature that will allow you to fine-tune your audience, letting Facebook know where you’re located, the age range and gender of the people you believe would be most interested in your business, and some of the likes that they might have if they would be interested in your business.
Facebook ads are fairly inexpensive, and they’re not so invasive that they’re irritating to potential customers, unlike YouTube ads. (Here’s an excellent tutorial for setting them up.) You could create an ad that offered a discount on pre-holiday cleaning services, for example; this would pull Facebook users in, and, as a special bonus to you, you could also reap their emails when they click to receive the offer. The email addresses alone are worth the price of the ad!
Or, you could take a technique that might have worked in the past and tweak it for Facebook. For example, you might have had great success with ValPak coupons at one time, but now you find that they’re not working as well as they used to. It’s not surprising— people are spending more time online than ever before, and paper coupons seem to be going the way of the horse and buggy. ValPak is expensive, so you don’t want to waste your marketing money on an unsuccessful venture. On Facebook, you can select an even more targeted audience, ensuring that you’re paying to advertise to people who are excellent prospects and not those who have little interest in your services.
Here is an example of a print ValPak ad that could be tweaked for a Facebook advertising campaign. Those feet would sure get people’s attention as they’re scrolling through the news feed, don’t you think?
Word of Mouth Will Increase Your Customer Base
There’s no opinion more valuable to your potential customers than that of a friend or family member; therefore, you should make it your goal to encourage your satisfied customers to share their experiences with everyone they know. The best way to do this is to perform your services in an exemplary way; customers will happily spread the word about extraordinary customer service and excellent work.
Another good way to garner good word of mouth is to incentivize your existing customers to encourage their friends and family to use your services; offer a promotion in which existing customers are rewarded for every referral who is converted to a customer. For example, perhaps you could give the existing customer $20 off their next service for every referred customer. This isn’t going to break your bank, and it’s significant enough to make them want to take the time to talk your business up!
Perhaps there’s another business that goes hand-in-hand with yours, or whose services target a similar market to yours. It only makes sense for you to work together to promote each other’s businesses. Say, for example, you have a cleaning service, but you don’t deep clean carpets. Perhaps you could team up with a local carpet cleaning company. You could recommend them to clients whose carpets would benefit from a deep clean, and they could suggest that their customers contact you to maintain their freshly cleaned carpets. You could give your customers fliers promoting one another’s’ businesses, with special deals for those who use the other business’s services. Not only would you increase your customer base, but you could help another local business increase theirs as well. That’s a win-win for you both!
Hopefully, these techniques will help you increase your customer base quickly, without breaking your marketing budget. Keep updating your marketing plan, and you’ll soon be wondering how you can add more hours to the day to serve all of your new customers.