As all small business owners should know – you can never stop looking for new customers. In fact, as you read this right now, your main competitors are probably working on a few potential clients – possibly some of yours.
You see, business is all about getting the biggest share of the market. It will often result in pitching battles and development of strategies designed to steal clients from rivals. It’s all part of the game, and if you want to survive, you’re going to have to start playing.
With this in mind, we have put together a broad range of tactics you can employ if you want to grow your market share. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in; the concepts will ring true for any business. Let’s get started right away.
#1: Stay true to your current Customers
The vast majority of clients will not have any loyalty to a business if they feel they can get better value elsewhere. Your job, then, is never to give them an excuse to leave you. Make sure you keep your customer service levels up to the highest standards possible. Offer regular customers special deals – perhaps contact them on their birthday or the festive season. Always respond to them as fast as possible and don’t give them an opportunity to try their luck with someone else. It’s not good enough to say you will call them back tomorrow – by that stage; they will have already found a solution to their problem.
#2: Listen to your Customers
Make sure you have a channel open for listening to your clients. Social media is the ideal place for this, as regular interaction can also expose your brand to a wider audience. The point is, customers are more likely to feel like they have some ownership in your company if they can get involved. That might be a suggestion about a product or an idea for your marketing department. Your customers make your business what it is – so listen well, and often. Not only will it protect your business from customer theft by a rival, but it will also increase your potential market share. If you use an idea from a client, they are going to make a big noise about it. And others will be interested to get involved, too.
#3: Always Innovate
Are you embracing new technology? If so, make sure you are taking your customers with you on your journey. If not, it might be time to invest in some innovation as you will lose customers to those that already do. There are an array of things you can do with technology for your business, no matter what industry you serve. You might look into software development to create bespoke products for your customer’s needs. You could investigate mobile apps to help solve their problems. Investing in innovation will keep you relevant, and prevent your business from failing once the winds of change arrive. And they will – it’s guaranteed.
#4: Hook up with Complementary Services
Look around your local business community for companies that offer complementary services to yours. Approach them, develop a relationship with them, and see how you get along. If you can strike a deal, it can have a huge benefit for the pair of you. For example, a web designer might approach a copywriter to help them provide a better package for their clients. The copywriter can now offer design services to match their content and sales copy. Plus, each business can now tap into the other’s markets. There might be scope for new projects with old customers, and there will always be potential for joint efforts in the future.
#5: Be Flexible
The world is a different place than it was even ten years ago. The simple fact is that there are no real set times for doing anything these days. People work all kinds of hours, over weekends, and 9-5 jobs are becoming less common. It means that a considerable amount of people are looking for services during unusual hours. If your competitors are still running 9-5, that gives you a fantastic opportunity to grab some of their customers.
#6: Buy out the Competition
If you have the budget, consider buying out the competition. It gives you instant access to their entire customer base, as well as extra staff. You need to be careful, of course – make sure you run due diligence on any business you intend to buy. But in essence, it’s an excellent way to expand and grow beyond your current means. If any rival business starts to struggle, there is little they will be able to do if you try and take over.
#7: Identify Competitor’s Weaknesses
Of course, the vast majority of your opponents will never be available to buy. So how do you attract their customers? The first step is to profile all of the competition – from major companies to other local firms. Draw up a list of their strengths and, most importantly, their weaknesses. Once you see where they are letting their customers down, you can think of better ways of doing things. Contrast those differences and make it clear how you operate on all your marketing channels. Once their customers see what you have to offer, it is likely you will turn their heads.
#8: Reach out to old Customers
People won’t necessarily make a conscious decision to leave you and buy from a rival. Most of the time, it just happens. You have to understand that consumers don’t sit around the house thinking how great your company is. They buy a product, go home, and then they forget in the vast majority of cases. It’s up to you, then, to relight the fires and make sure they come back again. Always reach out to old customers that you haven’t seen for a while. Keep them in the loop with an email newsletter or something similar. Try and tempt them back with offers and discounts. You can even ask them a few questions – what made them go elsewhere? Keep your customer database in order and always go back to use it for reference. Acquiring new customers can be expensive – rekindling old relationships is far cheaper.