They say the hardest part of owning a business is getting started. So what's the second hardest? Finding customers and keeping them. While having a strong customer base is a necessity, the 'how' can sometimes be a head-scratcher. Here are some tips to get you started.
Identify Your Base
Who is your product or service meant for? Don't just answer in general terms; responding 'everyone' or 'middle-aged women' won't be specific enough to help you capture your audience's attention. Create buyer personas that add specificity and nuance to your target clientele. Use competitive research to identify the types of people your competitors are already targeting, and decide whether or not their target customers overlap with yours. By creating persona templates to identify potential customers, you can better understand your target base's daily habits, behaviors, and needs.
Create Value and Instill Trust
In order to gain your customer's patronage, they need to trust you. One way to earn your customer's trust is by creating value for them—no strings attached. Whether it's writing helpful content for your target audience, offering humor or advice, or introducing free resources and tools, creating valuable content is an essential way to keep customers interested in your business without them risking anything. Providing a wealth of free knowledge and resources is an easy way to establish your business as an authority in your industry; it's also a great way to show your customers that you care.
Once you've started gaining customers, eventually your business will need to scale. You'll be faced with decisions regarding what to prioritize and what to forget. As you make these decisions, you may encounter tough or demanding customers who don't necessarily fit in with your goals. Whether that means being late with payments or simply asking for more than you can give, eventually you will need to decide whether they're worth the baggage. Once you've established your business and feel comfortable, it's okay to say no to those outside of your ideal personas. Doing so will help you better focus on your target base.
Practice Great Customer Service
Of course, the best way to spread the word about your business is by maintaining a positive reputation. Offering a stellar customer experience from start to finish makes retaining customers easy. It also reinforces the customer trust you've worked so hard to establish. Help.com's multichannel live chat and help desk is a great solution for keeping track of your customers' needs as you build and grow your business.