3 Types of Customers Your Small Business May Be Ignoring

by Gail Oliver, Small Business Marketing Consultant

I am amazed at how many people set up an online business and then quickly expect world domination, getting thousands of orders daily from customers in every part of the globe. The truth is, a successful business can get the majority of their customers from these three sources:

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1. Repeat Customers

We seem to always be on the hunt for new customers, but what is wrong with your old or current ones? Depending on the nature of your business, 30% or more of your sales should come from repeat customers. Plus, it is much easier to sell to a previous customer than it is to a new one.

Ways to get repeat customers:

  • Follow your customers on social media (so they follow you back)
  • Give your customers special offers and exclusives just for them
  • Reach out every now and then to your customers just to say hello, wish happy holidays, etc.
  • Ask your customers to join an email newsletter list
  • Listen to and try to meet their needs for new products or services

2. Referrals

Happy customers will recommend you to their friends and family. Referrals and word of mouth are typically the easy way to get a sale because the customer does all the work for you.

Ways to get referrals:

  • Ask – it is sometimes that simple. Nicely ask your customers to recommend you if they are happy with your product or service
  • Give an incentive, such as a free gift, free service or discount off of their next purchase for each referral
  • Send them a promo item (t-shirt, bag, pen) with your logo and url on it. When they use it, it acts like a referral
  • Throw a few business cards in with the product, they may pass them on

3. Your Local Market

Why are we such snobs when it comes to our local market? Buyers are buyers, and as I have told my clients many times, you will see that people want to support their local businesses, out of a sense of pride and because local businesses pay taxes and employ people.

Ways to get more local business:

  • Participate in and/or sponsor community charitable events
  • Form alliances with other, non-competitive businesses for cross promotion
  • Make friends with the local business writer at your newspaper to get press or provide needed quotes or sound bites on other local business news
  • Label your products, business cards, and marketing materials with “Proudly Boston-based” or “A San Francisco Company”
  • Join local business networking groups

Ask Me a Question!

GB OliverHave a question regarding your small business or how you can get repeat, referral or local business? Just ask in comments below. If you like today’s post, feel free to share on social media, also below.

© 2012-2014 Gail Oliver. All rights reserved. 

Author: Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

I'm Gail Oliver, an online marketing consultant. Welcome to my blog, chosen one of the Top 10 Small Business Blogs to Follow in 2014 by American Express Open Forum. If you need help with your e-commerce business, be sure to see MY SERVICES, above.