How to Grow Your Customer Base

Written by neatly.io on 14th June 2019

Growing your customer base with digital marketing can prove challenging regardless of your business phase. This is typically a problem for new businesses just starting out, but can still affect established organizations reaching stagnation when it comes to acquiring new customers. Finding new, enthusiastic customers can really grow your community and function as cheerleaders for your business.

Here are six proven ways to grow your customer base through digital marketing methods. Different strategies will work best for different businesses and industries, so be sure to consider these carefully and select the mix that works best for you.

Delight in data

What do you know about your customers? You need to know about your prospective customers to best attract them. Chances are you have some data, even if you don’t have a website yet. Useful data includes information like average lifetime purchase value, time between purchases, and how your customers found you. You may even have a competent data analyst or another professional on your team to help with this piece of the marketing puzzle. Datafication, an act performed by data analysts, is a value-driven process to collect and catalogue data. When large amounts of this data can apply to marketing and sales strategies, it’s called “big data.”

Using your website, you can find and analyze more data. Here’s the best part: your most valuable tool is free. It’s called Google Analytics. Using this, you can learn about your visitors’ ages, website habits, locations, time zones, operating systems (or mobile access) and other demographics.

Once you know who is looking at you, you can use that data as fuel to construct, refine and execute your marketing plans. Most importantly, collecting data will help you analyze the results of each campaign, determining whether it was a success. Using Google Analytics, you can even track your results in real time, allowing you to make changes while a campaign is still active.

Appreciate affinities

Google Analytics also reveals information about affinities. Affinities are hobbies and interests that your website browsers enjoy. For example, if your website viewers tend to enjoy comic books and their movie adaptations, you might be able to weave something thematically “superhero” into your marketing campaigns.

Given that they love superheroes, this could resonate with them. Affinities allow you to speak your customers’ language. Additionally, affinities can clue you in on your customers’ needs and desires, informing product or service development. The bond you create by sharing an affinity is irreplaceable.

Rely on referrals

One of the easiest and most reliable ways to grow your customer base involves referrals. Ready to rake them in? Ask a loyal segment of your customers to recommend you to their friends and associates. Provide both the existing customer and the new customer a discount or complimentary item.

If your customers publicly recommend you, ask if you may use their testimonial to generate further trust on your website. You can also ask customers to kindly review your business on Facebook, Yelp, and Google. Don’t forget to request reviews on industry-specific sites as well.

Dabble in drip marketing practices

How do you use your email marketing list? If you’re only advertising sales and special events, you’re doing it wrong. Your email subscribers aren’t only there to learn more about your business; they have interests (as we talked about with affinities) and want to learn more about your topic or industry in a wider sense.

Even if each newsletter doesn’t result in a buy, you’ll foster a positive connection and remain at the forefront of your customers’ minds with weekly email updates. It’s like a faucet, and that’s why this strategy is called drip marketing. Every now and then, the faucet drips, but ultimately, a pool forms below. That represents the customer finally making a buying decision.

Exercise empathy

People don’t like unfeeling brands. If your brand doesn’t have heart, it may as well be a cold mega-corporation. Instead, humanize your marketing efforts by empathizing with your customers’ pain points. They want emotional content that makes them feel something positive. In a specific comparison of advertisements that performed well, 31% used emotional content to drive a marketing message, versus 16% which used rational content.

If you sell insurance, start with a point of empathy about how difficult it can be for consumers to understand the details of potential insurance policies. Once your potential customer feels like you’re on their team, they’ll be more likely to commit.

Increase inbound efforts

One of the most cost-efficient ways to gain customers is to get them to come to you. Online, the best way to do that involves inbound content marketing. You create useful, informative, evergreen (continually relevant) content using best SEO (search engine optimization) practices. When the customer realizes you’re an expert on that subject they looked up on Google, they’ll hopefully be moved to contact you. If your content tells a moving story, even better.

Like your newsletters, your inbound content should end with a call to action, asking the prospective customer could do something. Your CTA might invite them to sign up for your newsletter, call you or check out more blog posts. Your CTA content should depend upon what stage of the buy journey your reader occupies at the time.

If it’s an intro post and your product is expensive, you might be better off asking them to sign up to your email newsletter. If it’s an advanced topic aimed at people who are shopping around for a particular product, go for the hard sell.

Using these strategies, you can better find, attract, and engage your customers to help grow your business. At different points, each of these strategies may become more or less helpful or relevant. Don’t forget to use your instincts, follow the data, and stick with what works.