Marketing tips to expand your customer base

There is a lot of work involved in running a small business, and owners can get so caught up in day-to-day operations that the task of attracting more customers and retaining existing ones may be put off or forgotten. Here are a few ideas on how small businesses can increase their customer base on a small marketing budget. 

 

Increase engagement with customers

Most people are aware that repeat business can be more important than trying to attract new clients or customers, as word-of-mouth reviews are powerful tools that can make or break a company in an instant.

With this in mind, it is vital that you show that you value your customers. One way you can do this is through loyalty programs, where customers are rewarded, perhaps through discounts or free gifts, for continuing to visit.

Another is encouraging customers to enter a competition for free products or services. This method works on a number of levels: the prize can be an opportunity to get rid of old stock or to promote new products, and by entering the competition, customers will be giving your business their contact details including email addresses - which can be used as a marketing tool.

Email is another cost-effective way to communicate with customers over traditional snail mail. In order for customers to feel valued, businesses need to make them feel valued - this can be done through an email that notifies customers of news or events ahead of the general public. This email can be used to promote new products or services, as well encourage customers to visit stores during periods of low activity or 'slow days'.

Maximise the value of your business card

Business name cards are one of the most common marketing items handed out by business owners and employees, which makes it easy for them to get lost in a pile of other similar cards.

To make a particular card stand out and really work for a company, businesses need to be creative. They can choose to produce cards that are shaped differently from the standard rectangle size, for instance, making them smaller (which also lowers the cost of printing the cards).

Business cards usually feature the company's name, logo and contact details, but you can also add a discount or special offer to the back of the card to make it more unique. This ensures that the card is not simply tossed aside, as it now has a 'dollar value' assigned to it. Since you're already giving the card out to prospective clients, why not maximise its value and use it as a marketing tool?

Advertise through your employees

If staff members are required to wear uniforms, you should make sure your business name and logo are large enough and clearly visible to customers. If employees are required to travel throughout the day to complete their jobs, you should consider placing the company's name and logo on the side of their car. If the cost is too much, businesses can be creative and opt for professional prints to be placed on car windows.

This option is cheaper as the print or sticker is not placed on the actual body of the car, and because it can easily be taken on and off, messages can be changed frequently. This can be an effective tool to communicate changes or special events to customers.

Form partnerships

Aside from traditional methods of advertising, business should look into working in partnership with other organisations. There are more than half a million charities and not-for-profit organisation in Australia and they are always on the lookout for more volunteers and input from businesses.

For example, businesses can volunteer to provide show bags for a charity event, and in return can market the business alongside the charitable organisation. Charities and not-for-profit organisations also hold a number of raffles and auctions throughout the year where business can promote themselves via the donation of products and or services.

Both these options also provide an opportunity for free advertising in the media, as businesses may be mentioned in relation to the charity or not-for-profit event. Businesses that align themselves with a philanthropic organisation not only increase their exposure in the public, but it also enhances their image in the eyes of customers for a relatively small price.

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