Small business owners often become too reliant on one or two big customers and overlook the essential work of generating new clients. Being dependent on only a few customers can deal a threatening blow to your business if things go wrong. For instance, if one of those customers decides to use another vendor, or if they go out of business, then you risk losing that customer and also losing a lot of your business.
If losing a major customer would leave your business exposed, force cost-cutting measures or otherwise send you into panic mode, it's time to diversify or expand your customer base. The more diverse your client list, the easier it can be to generate new revenue possibilities. Here are 10 tips to attract new clientele so you won’t have to keep all of your eggs in one customer’s basket.
Scale Your PR Efforts
Getting attention from the media is like receiving free publicity, as it allows you to reach not only your current audience, but also those who might have never heard of you or your company/brand. So if you are planning a special event, a sale or a new product launch, send press releases to all relevant media houses so you can capture their attention and increase visibility to a larger network of consumers.
Ask for Referrals and Testimonials
This is one of the best ways to get the word out about your company and build credibility. Ask your current customers to refer you to those who might be interested in your products or services. And if your website doesn't already feature client testimonials, go ahead and request those as well. Highlighting how your firm has helped key customers can also allow you to attract new clients.
Expand into New Sectors
Try to market and sell your existing products and services to new customers in different niches, segments or geographical locations, outside your current operations. For instance, if you are a beverage company operating in the hospitality sector, try targeting customers in the office, leisure, commercial or even retail sectors.
If your company is well established, you might be able to expand overseas to tap into an international audience and gain exposure in global markets. However, establishing global reach requires due diligence and a deep understanding of the new markets. So seek to understand the local communities, their values and how they conduct business. Also, try to understand their culture and lifestyle, as well as the business proposition and associated logistics.
Try Cold Calling
Cold calling may sound outdated because some people tend to hang up on cold calls, but you may find a select few who are willing to listen to your pitch. And even if the response rate is, say, five percent, that five percent a day over several days and weeks might add up to 10, 20, 50 or 100 new clients.
Develop Strategic Partnerships
A strategic partnership can help your company create a new product or service, raise its brand profile, get exposure to a new target market, expand geographically and provide other benefits as well. These associations can benefit companies at almost any stage of growth, as they can help with a range of activities, from R&D or marketing of products to product licensing or co-delivery of services.
Focus on Networking
Networking is one of the most effective ways to build your client list. Attending industry events allows you to learn about your competitors and pursue experts from your industry whose guidance could help improve your sales prospects. However, while you cultivate industry connections, don’t forget to also build personal connections, which can ultimately lead to sales.
Convert Your Virtual Audience into a Real One
In the current scenario, most businesses need a robust social media strategy to survive economically. So, depending on your industry, build a presence for your company on several platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Once that’s done, engage with your followers frequently by providing them with relevant, value-added content in the form of blogs, videos, chats, webinars, infographics and the like. This will help you increase your conversion rates, and can allow you to turn your online audience into real customers over time.
Expand your Offerings
A good way to attract a new demographic is to diversify your products and services. This makes you appeal to more people who can later become loyal customers. However, product diversification should take into account operational effectiveness, which means you should have the proper resources, processes and teams to handle the diversification. Alternately, you could accomplish this by working in partnership with another business.
Embrace Your Competition
It’s not always necessary to fight your competitors in order to succeed in business. Rather, working together can often be much more lucrative. For instance, by allowing your competitors access to your network of supporters and members, and vice-versa, you might see several fruitful results including attendance at local events and exhibitions, increased web traffic and so on. Remember, by helping your competitor, you might get the support of a much larger network.