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Every business depends on its customers in order to succeed and expand. Having customers are the lifeline for all businesses big and small but for start-ups as this post will underscore, customers come first before anything else. For start-up businesses, new entrepreneurs and small businesses in need of a wider as well as more loyal customer base, this post will provide you with 7 key points for you to grow and maintain a strong loyal customer base!
1. Make Your Service Coincide With Their Interests/Needs!
To grow and incite a base of loyal customers who keep coming back it is important that your business coincides with one or more of their interests and/or primary needs! Your product doesn’t have to be fancy, cutting edge or anything special but it does have to meet their interests and/or personal needs just like Starbucks meets its customers need for their daily coffee/refreshments! Keeping this in mind as well as the advice of Dale Carnegie in Chapter/Point 8 of his book “How To Win Friends And Influence People” to “Talk In Terms Of The Other Person’s Interests” make sure that your business, its product/service or aspects of your business successfully meets one or more of customers’ needs and interests!
2. Make It Personal!
It is widely said that business is and should be business not to be taken personally. However, in order to grow and gain a loyal customer base it is in your best interest to make business with customers personal! So when dealing with customers especially as a smaller business, make it a point to reach out to your customers on a personal and regular basis to know them well. Once you know your customers well, you will know their needs, wants and other important character elements through making business personal that your business can better serve these same customers. As people are loyal and interested in someone who cares about and takes interest in them, the same will be applicable for your customers’ loyalty and interest in your business!
3. Make Them Excited!
The key to success as a business with customers is to have something about your brand or business environment that excites customers and makes them enthusiastic to consume your product/do business with you! All successful businesses from Starbucks to McDonalds and the movies get customers fired up to consume their products and so can you! So make easy adjustments to elements of your business like brand (i.e. logo and/or what your business is associated with), product (is it something your customers need, benefit from and/or really enjoy?) or business environment (i.e. appealing aspects like comfy, relaxed, festive, roomy) in a manner these elements stand out and entice/draw customers to regularly frequent your business!
4. Do Them Favours!
Customers love to do business with and consume the products of businesses that do them favours! As customers wonder “What’s In It For Me?” tailor your business to have it give your customer a certain personal benefit/s or favours as a result of them doing business with you. Such favours can involve you endorsing and promoting your customers’ business ventures, giving them three-month free subscription, free passes to something fun (i.e. movies), discounts and the like in return for them doing business with you. As a result of providing customers with favours/perks that benefit them personally, your business will gain an increase of customers who are eager to regularly consume your products and do business with you!
5. Use World Of Mouth over Tech!
When running a small not widely known business relying solely on technology for marketing such as Social Media, advertisements or Smartphone Apps may not have the same stimulating effects on customers as well established business attempts at tech marketing do. Plus you may not have a large amount of money to spend on eye catching and slick methods of tech marketing. Hence, to show credibility when starting off, be transparent, build personal and business trust, foster human to human connection, stimulate an emotional response in customers and reach customers in ways technology cannot (at least not yet, when potential customers are still strangers) using the word of mouth approach in which you personally convey news of your product and business to customers on a human to human level connects with you to numerous prospects on a personal level. Word of mouth marketing, effectively lays the foundations for these prospects eventually becoming customers of your business!
6. Make sure you truly need them!
While all these points are sure-fire ways for your business to gain and maintain customers, there is one more question that you need to consider in order to better the prospects for your business’ success. This question is “Do I and my business truly need this customer?”
As a business customer relationship is a two way street meaning your customers should truly need and benefit/help your business (just as you need customers and help meet their needs. Remember, your customers’ words about your business to the wider community hold more merit than your own!) whether or not you truly need prospects as customers depends on these five factors:
A) How loyal are they to your business and product/?
B) Are they truly excited about your business and what it has to offer them?
C) Do they eagerly promote your product and business to their friends and loved Ones?
D) Do they endorse/support your business and its product/s over your competitors?
E) Do they regularly frequent your business and constantly use your business’ products?
If the answer to all these five questions is a definite yes then congratulations as your business has wonderful customers but if they answer is a no or so/so then you need to consider finding a different set of more dedicated customers who can truly help and through using/endorsing your product/s promote your business to the wider community!
7. Exalt Them!
After you’ve secured a loyal and eager base of customers the question is how you and your business can keep these customers loyal and eager? The answer is to exalt your customers by valuing them and making them feel special! Exalting your customers by expressing love/loyalty for them, in featuring customers in your promotional material (i.e. posters, commercials in which your customers visually appear and videos featuring individual customer/s talking in their own words), making your most loyal customers brand ambassadors who take a more active and professional role in your business’ marketing/promotional activities are just some ways your customers can feel special by doing business with you. As people love to feel special and talk about themselves, if your business allows your customers to feel special and talk about themselves they will in turn love doing and continue doing business with you!