As a business owner, your business is moot without a steady flow of customers. According to a Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business survey, business owners pointed to attracting new business as one of their top concerns. If you’re like many business owners, you’re probably focused on growing your business in the upcoming year.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for our top tips on growing your business in the new year.
Harness the Power of Your Current Customer Base
Sometimes, the best way to find new customers is to look at the ones you already have. There’s so much power in your existing customer base. Not only can they be an amazing source of referral traffic, but they can also help guide your future marketing endeavors.
Consider some of the following tactics to harness the power in your customer base:
- Include links to your Yelp and Google Business profiles on your website, marketing emails, and social media
- Soliciting reviews from these sites is a no-no, but this tactic is totally legal. It’s kind of a “dangling carrot in front of a horse” situation. Customers often don’t think to review your business unless they’ve had a really bad experience, so placing your Yelp profile in front of their faces is a good reminder. Satisfied customers will see an easy way to help you out, and chances are that they’ll do so!
- Introduce a referral program with perks for each referral
- Chances are that each of your satisfied customers knows a network of potential customers for your business. They just need a little encouragement to introduce the two of you. And one thing’s for sure: people love a good deal. Offer your customers a discount for introducing you to a friend, or create an affiliate program that gives them a kickback for every customer they refer.
Don’t Neglect Your Social Media
Speaking of social media, when’s the last time you posted? While marketing guidance was once to make a profile on every social media site out there and blast them with information, times have changed. Figure out what social media channels your customers spend the most time on and create an authentic and robust presence.
Here are some examples of a fruitful social media presence for your business:
- If your customers tend to be 40 and up, make sure you’re on Facebook
- Build out a thorough business page on Facebook. If you want to be really successful, position yourself as a resource and expert in your field of business. Post interesting, pertinent information about your business and your field regularly. Share relevant articles and engage with followers in the comments. Post information about promotions and sales. Be sure to regularly check Facebook messages for questions potential customers may have about your business.
- For a millennial customer base, get active on Instagram
- Authenticity is the key to Instagram. While polished, catalog-ready photography may work well on your website, it’s not effective for Instagram. Post real photos of your business and your community. Be sure to use hashtags and location tagging to connect with new audiences. Plus, Instagram stories are a great way to show a behind the scenes peek at your business and connect with customers.
Put Your Best Feet Forward
The most important asset to your company probably isn’t what you think. It’s not your state-of-the-art equipment, optimized website, or perfect product. Your most important asset is your personnel.
Your employees are, in many ways, the face of your business. As a business owner, it’s probably quite unlikely that you interact face-to-face with customers. Your employees are your salespeople, your brand ambassadors, and your most valuable tool. As such, it’s vital to hire employees who will represent you well.
Ensure that your employees are the creme-de-la-creme with the following tactics:
- Thoroughly screen your employees with an online criminal background check
- While we’d love to believe that people are who they claim to be, some people are just really good liars. Thoroughly vet your employees prior to hiring using an online criminal background check to uncover any pertinent information they may have omitted.
- Treat your employees well
Happy employees are good employees. If you treat your employees well, they’re more likely to treat your business well in return. Pay your employees a competitive wage and consider flexible scheduling or office hours. Reward your employees for work well done. You’ll probably find they’ll reward you with hard work in return!