Innovative Ways To Expand Your Customer Base For Your Start-Up
Successfully starting a business and building it to retain a small but loyal customer base is the first step in making your start-up great. Customer is king. This phrase rings true for any business. To successfully grow a business to the potential it can grow to, a start-up has to expand its customer base as much as it can. Start-up advisors have many ways to advise entrepreneurs as to how to go about this. Being a start-up advisor in Mumbai myself, I feel it’s important to inform and educate you on the innovative ways one can expand their customer base for their start-up.
Growing a customer base is not an easy-going task. There are several questions entrepreneurs must ask themselves before formulating a plan to target a demographic. Questions such as: will the product or service I’m trying to sell appeal to the niche market I am catering to? What is the age group of the demographic I am trying to appeal to? Is there scope for better sales if I change the age demographic I want to cater to? Etc. These are just some questions that one must introspect on. Once you take note of these questions, then you can go about looking for ways to expand your customer base.
Online Marketing Strategies
- Optimising your website
Your website is sometimes a potential customer’s first exposure to your business. As such it needs to be in proper shape and working condition. Make sure that your website is optimised and easy to navigate. It should be mobile friendly because everyone accesses websites through their phone now. All the information on the website should be updated regularly with the contact information displayed on every page.
SEO (search engine optimisation) for your website is something that has to be done. It will help increase visibility on search engines like Google and as such increase traffic onto your website. This will also help increase your customer base. Make sure to use target keywords on your website so that it will attract your target audience.
- Social Media
Social media is a very important aspect of increasing your customer base. In many cases, social media will either make or break your start-up. Any business advisor worth their salt will implore a start-up founder to get on social media platforms like Linkedln, Instagram, Facebook etc. It helps share your content with your target audience as well as help increase viewership and followers. Make sure that your content resonates with your audience at the same time making it pleasing to the eye. Updating and sharing content regularly is key. At the same time, do not update so often that you end up spamming your followers’ because that will lead to them unfollowing you. It’s important to find that middle ground.
- Loyalty Programs
As important as it is to get new customers and consumers into your start-up, it’s equally important to retain them. Customer retention can be hard but is extremely beneficial to the company. This can be done in many ways. One way is through loyalty programs. Offering discounts, loyalty cards, reward programs etc. to loyal customers will guarantee that they will come back to purchase your product or service. You can provide exclusive products or coupons to registered customers. Loyalty points can also help provide customers with discounts.
Loyalty programs are known to attract newer customers as well because they see the rewards as an added benefit. These programs are very helpful in terms of customer acquisition.
- Using your existing network
The existing network that you have built up over the years is the best way to acquire customers in the start-up phase of your company. Word of mouth is pivotal in this aspect and it will go a long way if applied correctly. It’s important that while tapping into your immediate network, you don’t forget the niche population you are catering to. So keep that in mind while leveraging your network.
To Sum Up
Building up a customer base definitely takes time. However, with hard work, dedication and persistence it will surely work out. Don’t be hesitant to look for more innovative ways to expand your start-up. Who knows what hasn’t worked for other start-ups may just work out for you. Be positive and be thorough with your research.
Further for any newly formed start-up, the best way to decide if it requires an angel investor or additional start-up funding is by having a complete business plan. Your business plan should also include a One-Page Business Plan. I have developed a one-page business plan for all start-up founders and entrepreneurs. This business plan helps you ideate what you would like to achieve the following year as well as the activities you are willing to give up. It helps you to understand the shortcomings of the previous year as well.
About Devansh Lakhani
Director of Lakhani Financial Services, and a Chartered Accountant, he helps start-ups raise funds from his network of investors. He guides and advises start-ups to scale up by providing efficient sales, marketing, team building, and business management strategies. He has executed fundraising by block deals on the stock exchange and conducted IPOs and right issues on the SME platform to the tune of over Rs. 50 Crore. He is currently working with start-ups from various sectors to help them channelize their business models and investments.