Building a diverse customer base should be your number one priority, no matter your company’s sector, strategy or developmental stage – startup or established business. With a broad clientele come other operational challenges, but those are offset by the increased sales you can derive over time. To diversify your customer base, you can use many tactics, including going global, expanding your communication and try cold calling. Here are our top 10 strategies to help you tap into various segments of the market.
- Go Global
Going global is a no-brainer if you want to diversify your client base. More than 7 billion people live on Earth – and the odds of your business succeeding increase if you have the resources and vision to tap into an international audience. To do so, find out whether your product or service adapts well to other cultures and lifestyles.
- Diversify Your Products and Services
A good way to diversify your client base is to diversify your products and services. Simple as that! By expanding your product portfolio, you automatically appeal to more people who later can become loyal customers. Paul Weber, chief executive at Entrepreneur Advertising Group in Kansas City, Missouri, says the key thing to remember is that product diversification must go hand-in-hand with operational effectiveness, meaning you should make sure you have the proper resources, processes and teams to handle the diversification.
- Boost Your Public Relations
You need to ramp up your PR strategy if you want to diversify your client base. Talk more about your company, choose the right distribution channels, and appeal to traditional as well as social media. That way, you make more media talk about your brand, which in turns translates into more visibility in the marketplace.
- Diversify Your Team
Clientele diversification should reflect, or be a byproduct of, diversification within your corporate personnel. To effectively reach out to a specific market segment, there is nothing better than having on your team people who understand the dynamics of that segment. For example, if you want to attract female and young clients, you should beef up your team with competent young and female professionals.10 Marketing Strategies to Build A Diverse Customer Base
- Try Cold Calling
Don’t be scared of cold calling. Yes, most clients will hang up on you, but a few will take some minutes to listen to your pitch.And that’s what you need, really. Even if the response rate is, say, 5%, that is 5% a day over several days and weeks, which might add up to 10, 20, 50 or 100 new clients. The key is consistency and frequency, and you can even outsource the telemarketing job.
- Focus on Networking
Networking is an effective way to broaden your clientele. Attend many industry events, learn what competitors are doing, and court sector experts or individuals whose appeal could improve your sales prospects. Stanford University marketing expert Jennifer Aaker says that effective networking has two main components: personal and business. So while you cultivate industry connections, remember to also build personal connections and potential business linkups that ultimately may lead to sales.
- Go After the Competition’s Customer Base
Going after the competition’s client base is necessary to diversify your own clientele but also to expand your market share. This tactic is especially effective if you operate in a crowded, highly competitive market in which you can only survive by peeling some patrons off your rivals’ market share. Pay attention to your rivals and do some market research to identify their customers, operational strategies and pricing tactics, among others. You also can enlist the help of a company specializing in competitive intelligence, to determine the best way to benchmark what the competition is doing right and to do it better in the long term.
- Convert Your Online Fans into Real Customers
In this day and age, you need a solid social media strategy to survive economically. So it is imperative that your company has a presence on platforms as varied as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. But it is also important to engage your followers often with relevant and value-added content. That way, you increase your conversion chances, meaning more people from your virtual audience can become actual customers over time.
- Segment and Focus Your Marketing
Segment your marketing strategy, adapt it to each niche, and allocate the proper resources. For example, you can divide your market segment by age, say, 18-25, 26-45, 46-60, and above 60 years. Or divide the market by gender, geography or profession.The idea is to slice the public in a specific way, and then focus your marketing to ramp up market share in each segment.
- Ramp Up Your CSR
CSR means corporate social responsibility, an operational mindset that enables a company to broaden its brand appeal among the general public. The goal is to show why the company is good for customers, the environment, the general public, global business….you name it. CSR goes beyond traditional PR because it appeals to a larger audience, some or most of whom may not be the company’s customers or stakeholders,
Learn to broaden your customer base, and you can gradually expand your business, boost market share and ensure steady revenue in the long term. In a global economy that is constantly subject to changes, some of which are global yet with local consequences, the best way to hedge against losses is to diversify your revenue sources and product portfolio.
Dr. Emad Rahim is an award-winning entrepreneur, educator, author, community leader and TEDx Speaker. He currently serve as the Endowed Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Oklahoma State University and teaches at the Jack Welch Management Institute in the Executive MBA program. He was recognized by the United Nations Foundation as a 2013 Empact100 Honoree for his social entrepreneurship work, received a Congressional Award for his community service and was the recipient of the Forty Under 40 Business Leadership Award sponsored by Syracuse University. His personal story was turned into a short documentary, “Against the Odds,” and featured in the Huffington Post and Forbes. He co-authored “Leading Through Diversity: Transforming Managers Into Effective Leaders” and “The 4-Tions: Your Guide to Developing Successful Job Search Strategies” and is a frequent contributor to the Refractive Thinker book series, CEO Magazine, TweakYourBiz and YFS Entrepreneurship Magazine. Fellow him on Twitter @DrEmadRahim