Business owners are always looking for ways to grow their customer base. In addition to gaining new customers, they also focus on retaining ones because the probability of selling to an existing customer is
But even with modern technology, business owners still struggle to find effective ways to acquire new customers and retain them.
In this post, we’ll break down what a customer base is and provide tips on how your company can grow and retain its existing one.
It’s essential to identify your customer base because these people are incredibly valuable to your business. They buy your products the most and rely on your company to help them achieve their goals. Recognizing these customers will help your marketing, sales, and customer service teams build a productive relationship with your customer base.
Within your customer base is a subset of customers referred to as your installed customer base. These customers are at a specific point in the
For example, HubSpot’s customer base would be anyone who has purchased or used one of our
However, HubSpot’s installed base would only consist of the customers currently using HubSpot products in their day-to-day workflow. By highlighting this subsection of our customer base, we can personalize our marketing, sales, and customer service offers to fit the specific needs of our active users.
Now that you can identify your customer base and installed base, you’re probably wondering how to build, grow, and retain one. Let’s find out.
How to Build a Customer Base
Here are a few simple ways you can start building your customer base from the ground up.
1. Build brand awareness on social media.
You can quickly form connections with your audience on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and even run giveaways to attract more people.
2. Partner with other businesses.
If you’re a relatively new business with a barely existing customer base, partnering with other businesses is one sure way to build your customer base.
To make the partnership work, you need to offer something valuable in exchange for the wider customer base you’re trying to tap into.
For instance, if you sell portable cameras, you can run a
3. Run email marketing campaigns.
Email remains one of the most effective ways businesses can start building their customer base. Unlike social media, the people on your email list are already interested in your products and services.
Let’s now consider how to take your customer base to the next level.
How to Grow Your Customer Base
While marketing and sales teams play a significant role in attracting and engaging your customers, customer service teams grow and retain your customer base by creating a delightful
This effort keeps customers coming back for more, creating opportunities for
1. Provide excellent customer service.
This may seem obvious, but many companies fail to deliver exceptional customer service. In fact,
Customers expect perfection, and even one misstep by your company can result in churn.
Engaging with needy or unhappy customers shouldn’t be viewed as a chore, as your team should look at them as an opportunity to grow your customer base. Instead, respond swiftly to customer complaints to increase the chances of these customers purchasing your products again.
Customer service is also a significant influencer of customer retention.
2. Encourage customer advocacy.
It can be challenging to attract new customers to your business, especially when they’ve never heard of your product or service.
In addition, customers are skeptical of advertisements, and most won’t be swayed solely by your marketing efforts. Instead, they need to feel confident your company is aligned with and invested in their goals.
One of the best ways to build trust with new leads is to leverage your
BrightLocal research shows that
3. Create freemium offers.
Freemium offers are a great way to grab the attention of potential leads. With a freemium offer, companies give away something of value for free in exchange for customer information. The item given away can be as simple as a PDF download or more interactive, like a free prototype software.
For example, HubSpot offers a
This way, customers can get a taste of how useful HubSpot tools can be for their business. Then, HubSpot can analyze the product usage reports for these users and craft personalized customer service and sales offers based on the tools they use most.
4. Adopt customer service tools.
As you accumulate more customers, your customer service team must adapt to handle the increase in customer demand. One option your business has is to hire more reps to field service requests.
However, this route is less desirable because it’s expensive and time-consuming to complete. Instead, you can use
One tool you can integrate into your customer service team is a
5. Collect customer feedback.
If you’re running out of ideas for how to attract new customers, look at your customer feedback.
Positive feedback tells you what you’re doing well and what you should boast about to new leads. Negative feedback highlights where you need to improve and what needs to change to increase customer retention.
Keeping close tabs on your customer feedback gives you a better idea of what your customer base values most about your company.
Service feedback should be collected after a
There are many effective ways to collect customer feedback. For example, provide customers with surveys after a purchase or service interaction.
6. Create a customer success program.
Successful businesses understand that a
One effective customer retention tool is a
This can make all the difference in preventing customer churn, especially when you can remove pain points before customers even know they exist.
7. Consider web accessibility.
If you have a website, it’s essential to keep in mind that your brand is visible to anyone who has access to the internet, but not everyone uses the internet in the same way.
Some people need special features enabled on their computers to effectively use and access your site. If your site isn’t compatible with these programs, this audience can’t reach your content, meaning you’re missing out on opportunities to convert potential leads.
If you’re new to web accessibility, reviewing the
8. Optimize your customer loyalty program.
Your customer loyalty program is another valuable tool for customer retention and acquisition. It can keep your most loyal customers engaged with your brand’s promotional offers, and it can be a competitive advantage when customers compare your company to a competitor in your marketplace.
One way to optimize your customer loyalty program is by adopting a tiered membership structure. Tiers encourage customers to continue buying from your business and create a sense of community as they progress through each level of loyalty.
Each tier should have its special rewards, and the rewards should increase in value as customers move toward the highest tier. This is where your team can estimate
9. Gamify the customer experience.
Gamification is the process of adding playful elements to everyday tasks or procedures to make the process more enjoyable or engaging.
Businesses are now using gamification to attract new users by including gamified elements that enhance their customer experience. The idea is that customers will not only enjoy using the product, but they will want to keep using it because it’s similar to a hobby or game.
In the example below, we can see how HubSpot uses gamification for its
10. Personalize customer onboarding.
Once someone completes a purchase with your brand, the next few moments are critical to a customer’s journey.
If they struggle with using the product or understanding user training, they may abandon your product altogether and seek a more user-friendly alternative. In fact, according to
Your customer onboarding program can solve this problem by personalizing each user’s experiences. Rather than applying a one-size-fits-all approach, have your team reach out to your customers and see if you can identify their specific needs and goals.
If you’re offering a retail product, prominently display your customer support options on your packaging, so customers know exactly how to reach you if they have a question. Making your customer service team accessible to your customers is the key to providing reliable, real-time support.
Customer Base Examples
Now that you’ve learned how to build and grow a customer base, let’s consider some common examples of customer bases.
1. Loyal Customers
These are customers who have been buying from your business over time. They’ve come to love your products and services and would gladly promote your business to others.
Undoubtedly, it’s crucial to pay special attention to this group of customers. You can keep them satisfied by maintaining or improving the quality of your products and services. You can also start a
2. New Customers
New customers are those who recently purchased something from your store.
To turn new customers into recurring or loyal customers, a great start is to ensure they have all they need to succeed with the product or service they just purchased.
If you’re a product-based business, offer new customers manuals or guides that contain detailed information about using the products. And if you run a service-based business, you’ll need to create personalized onboarding experiences for these customers.
3. Potential Customers
Although these are not technically customers yet, it’s still vital to pay attention to them. People in this group are likely still investigating whether your products and services can alleviate their pain points.
You can cater to potential customers by creating freemium offers that give them a taste of your products and services.
4. Bargain/Discount Customers
These are neither new nor loyal customers. Instead, they only come around when you’re having a sale or running a promotion.
It pays not to focus too much on this customer base because they’ll jump ship immediately when another brand offers a bigger discount.
Time to Grow Your Customer Base
Growing and retaining your customer base isn’t a walk in the park. However, with the right channels and methods, you too can build a customer base that will guarantee consistent sales for your business.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
[yuzo id=820442 ]