Customers are the lifeblood of any business. If you want to grow and find greater success in 2020, it needs to be by finding more customers. It’s people walking in through the door (or browsing your website) who provide the revenue that keeps your business afloat and in profit; it’s customers who are your biggest marketing engine, through word of mouth; and customers who have the potential to do the greatest harm to your business if you don’t keep their interests and point of view in mind.
Today we’re taking a look at how you can seek out more customers in the new year, and grow your businesses successfully and sustainably.
Find Out What They Think
The first thing you need to do, the foundation of all your other efforts needs to be getting hard data on your market. You’ll likely need to work with a specialist market research firm here, if only to extend the reach of your survey. Even if you’re an expert market researcher and data scientist, able to design surveys that get to the heart of what you need to know, you’re still only able to reach customers who’ve already shown their interest in your brand: people who’ve spent their money with you, signed up to your newsletter and marketing, chosen to walk through your doors or browse your website. As valuable (and gratifying) as it is to know why the people who have chosen your brand have done so, if you want more customers, you need to find out why the people who haven’t chosen your brand, haven’t done so yet.
A good market research company can give you an ongoing read on your brand strength and performance using brand tracker surveys – asking consumers to rate your brand on various qualities alongside your competitors, showing you how well recognised and thought of you are in comparison. They can also help you dig into specific issues: why did that marketing campaign perform less well than you expected (or better than you dreamed) or test some concepts to ensure your product development process is set on a firm foundation.
Maintaining Brand Consistency
One of the causalities of growth can be the consistency of your brand, which can have serious effects. Your brand gets its strength from the consistency with which you project the core values you want customers to associate with you. If your growth requires you to contradict some of those values (your image as a local, family business for example) it can do some damage to your brand, which can cost you customers.
Keeping your market research running can help you understand how your growth efforts are affecting your brand and correct your course if they are undermining its most important pillars. You can also plan in advance how you will communicate your plans to customers old and new, taking control of the narrative and ensuring they know why you’re making the decisions you are taking.