Why do clients and customers leave?
They leave for all sorts of reasons – maybe they don’t need you anymore, or they found what you do somewhere else that is more convenient or cheaper or better, or they moved, or whatever. Working on your business – as opposed to in your business – means that it is not a crisis when a customer inevitably leaves.
You can find new customers by featuring the ones you have now on your website, social media and newsletter. And reward your existing customers when they refer new ones.
We've also got four more ways to grow your business without breaking the bank.
Small business: 6 surefire ways to lose customers
1. Tap into the power of testimonials
Happy customers can be one of a small business’ best marketing tools. A testimonial impresses potential customers because it is independent third-party validation that a business really is as good as it says it is.
So get out there and ask some of your best customers to review you on Yelp and Google My Business. Get some letters of recommendation on their stationery.
Put them in your shop window.
Add them to your website.
Add them as an email tagline.
Use them on your blog or e-newsletter.
Use them in sales presentations.
Or what about adding a video testimonial to your website? Talk about making an impact.
Boost your word-of-mouth advertising
We all know word-of-mouth is the best advertising there is. But aside from just waiting or hoping a customer passes your name along, you can:
Create a referral reward system that gives customers a discount when they refer your business.
Encourage referrals on your Facebook page, blog or website.
Ask your best customers to recommend you.
Search engine success: A step-by-step guide to creating a paid search ad
Stay in touch
One way to turn a one-off customer into a loyal, repeat customer is to stay top of mind. That is, if you want to get repeat business, your customer has to think of you when he or she has a need. And they will more likely think of you if you gently, consistently (but not too often) stay in touch with them.
Here are two ways to do this:
Use social media – but be sure to post valuable content where your customers visit, as opposed to sites you like. (Don’t know what social sites your customers like best? Ask them!)
Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch because it is permission marketing – that is, by signing up to receive your e-newsletter, customers are giving you permission to stay in touch.
Not a writer? Not a big deal: How to create engaging content for your small business
Sell gift cards
Did you know gift cards are the most popular gift in America? They are. That’s why you see gift cards for sale everywhere these days – at the market, in stores, heck, I even saw some for sale recently at my car wash. Selling them in your business will allow you to clean up, too (groan, I know!)
So hop on the bus, Gus. Gift cards need not be the selling strategy of only the big box stores. Any small business can create a gift certificate or gift card profit center – and should.
Upsell, but do it the right way
As you likely know, upselling is the art of having a customer buy more than the initial purchase. Upselling, when done wrong, is annoying, but when done right it can help both you and your customer. The key is to offer the item in a helpful, non-aggressive way, such as “Did you know that if you buy two more gift soaps, we throw in another one free?”
Steve Strauss is an in-demand speaker, attorney, and the best-selling author of 18 books, including his latest,"Your Small Business Boom.” Named by SCORE as the top small business champion in the country, you can learn more about Steve and The Strauss Group at MrAllBiz.com, get more tips at Planet Small Business, and connect with him on Twitter at @SteveStrauss and on Facebook at PlanetSmallBusiness.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Small business: 5 cheap ways to generate new business