Growing Your Customer Base Organically

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Growing Your Customer Base Organically

Your first customers were likely “low hanging fruit” - folks you already knew and who were eager to do business with you. There was automatic trust in you, due to that existing relationship. To expand your business, you need to widen your base of prospects from your easily reached network of family, friends and acquaintances to a larger audience that isn’t as familiar with you and your offerings.

Marketing a business can be a daunting undertaking. Deciding who to reach out to - and how - can seem like a monumental hurdle. You want your message to land upon receptive eyes and ears without sounding inauthentic or pushy. The best way to achieve this balance is to aim for an organic marketing implementation. Rather than casting a wide, general net to snare prospects, build your marketing strategy upon those you already serve. There’s powerful mojo in your existing customer relationships; it will behoove you to utilize it in expanding your customer base.

Customer Referrals

Let your satisfied existing customers help you locate more potential customers. Word of mouth in the form of referrals is a highly effective means of convincing new customers to try you out. Referrals provide contextual feedback, so they reflect directly on you and your offerings.

Collecting referrals needn’t be stressful or awkward for you. Make it standard practice to ask your customers if they know anyone who might be interested in doing business with you. Make it as easy as possible for them to follow through. A survey may help them pinpoint precisely where they think your business shines, rather than expecting them to express their opinions in writing. Offering customers a discount or gift when someone they referred buys from you is a good motivator. There are a growing number of online companies that can help you easily use tools to collect reviews from customers electronically as well. The power of online reviews is that they can help potential customers decide to do business with you when they search for goods and services. A high customer rating can be a very influential selling point.

Reach out to Previous Customers

Another “new” source of customers are&hellip your old customers. Interactions that leave customers with a pleasant taste in their mouths are priceless. And as you know, there’s little more valuable in marketing than the established sense of trust a satisfied customer brings with them. It’s easier (and more cost-effective) to retain customers than to attract new ones, so draw upon your sales archives. Select those who’ve done business with you in the past but whom you haven’t heard from in a while. Instead of writing them off, concluding that they “just weren’t that into you,” take the chance of reaching out to them anew. There are any number of reasons they’ve been scarce:

  • Changes in life circumstances (they had a baby, a child went off to college, they’re caring for an aging parent; they’ve downsized, changed careers, no longer wear office wear, replaced the thing you repaired&hellip). Any of these types of changes could mean that a customer doesn’t need what they used to from you anymore. But maybe they need something else that they didn’t know you offered. You should learn more about their current circumstances.
  • Changes in economic status (they lost a job, met a financial hardship, got a more lucrative position&hellip). These types of changes could impact a customer’s willingness to do business with you. They could be financially strapped and unable to afford what you offer, or they could have upgraded to something they don’t think you offer. Check in with them to make sure they know all the ways you can serve them.
  • They plain forgot about you (life happens and you simply fell off their radar). By reaching out, you may be able to rekindle the flame and serve these customers once again. At the very least, you’ll have been refreshed in their memory.

Draw Like-Minded People to You

Your knowledge as an expert in your field is a tremendously powerful tool. Leverage your knowledge as marketing by offering it to others. Create a free webinar or course for the like-minded or those who are interested in your particular area of expertise. In it, demonstrate your professional proficiency. Once they see the benefit for themselves, they’ll be much more inclined to purchase your offering, be it a more in-depth program, a product you produce or a solution you provide. This is a highly customized form of marketing that you can offer among your existing and previous customers - and encourage them to share within their networks.

Marketing doesn’t have to be an overwhelming, foreign process. It can develop organically out of the professional relationships you’ve already cultivated. It’ll feel less like advertising and more like building a professional network.

How can you market your business organically?

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