By Akintunde Oyebode
THE main challenge of any new business is making prospective or first-time customers try out our new product or service. If they are eventually satisfied with your product or service, you will generate loyal customers who will serve as referees to help you find new customers. Here are four suggestions that will enable you to promote your business and increase customer base.
Word-of-mouth: Nothing tops a positive recommendation from customers as the main goal of any business should be to offer world class services. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from their friends or family more than any other form of marketing.
The term “word of mouth marketing” – also referred to as “word of mouth advertising” – simply means customers do the advertising for businesses. Individuals who have been referred to a brand, rather than through an advertisement or marketing tactic, are typically more likely to stay loyal for longer than other customers.
Loyalty promotions: Existing customers who are happy with your product/service are always happy to come back, especially if encouraged by appropriate loyalty and promotion schemes that encourage patronage. To do this you need to get customer contact details. Loyalty and promotions schemes include Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) and Price Discounts based on purchases.
This alternative advertising style relies heavily on unconventional marketing strategy, high energy and imagination. Guerrilla Marketing is about taking the consumer by surprise, make an indelible impression and creating a social buzz. Guerrilla marketing is said to make a far more valuable impression with consumers in comparison to more traditional forms of advertising and marketing.
This is because most guerrilla marketing campaigns aim to strike the consumer at a more personal and memorable level. This term covers any low-cost but attention-grabbing marketing campaign. It could be simply developing an eye-catching frontage or publicity stunts that grab passers-by or, better still, media attention.
Social media: Social media networks are one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Facebook, Twitter, Apps, blogging etc. can be powerful tools generate awareness. Some advantages of social media include; increased brand recognition, improved brand loyalty and an opportunity to convert customers.
Starting a business can be quite a difficult and daunting task. You run the risk of meeting an already established market with competitors that will create a hostile business environment. It is worth it to remember that great customer service is always essential to retain old/new customers. It is important to make your products/services affordable so you do not push customers.
*Oyebode is Executive Secretary of Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF), he was previously Head of SME Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank.