Finding New Customers

- January 19, 2012

Recon Thursday/Process

Hello again, I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, where business takes shape.  And today is Recon Thursday where we have you look inward into your organization and outward toward your market and competition.

Today’s title is “Finding New Customers.”  Previously I’ve blogged about how to work with your existing customers and make their business count.  There are definitely benefits to working with your existing customers and there’s an old tenet that reads: “It’s easier to get another dollar from an existing customer than finding a new customers. “  This is true because they already know you and you know them.  It’s cheap to communicate with them.

But things can happen when you devote all your time to servicing your existing customers.  They may move on to somebody else’s innovative product or service.  They might literally die off is you are catering to an older clientele.  With this approach, you have too many eggs in one basket.  It is nice to diversify and seeking new customers is a much better growth strategy.  That’s what we’ll be talking about today. 

To elaborate a little bit on this idea of finding new customers, let’s talk about two companies I know you’ve heard of.  One is Nike and the other is Apple.  Nike got started a long time ago by developing a performance shoe for men.  If that was the only market they ever catered to they would be out of business.  But then they expanded that into women’s running shoes.  And all forms of performance athletic shoes.  Then apparel.  Then they got the idea of “just do it.”  So you didn’t necessarily have to be a performance athlete but you could be any kind of person doing any kind of activity.  The Nike for all of us.  Then they got into sports equipment like Tiger Woods golf products.  Nike found new markets over time to grow their little company.

Same thing is true with Apple Computer.  They started out with a computers even before the Macintosh and then they developed the Macintosh, “the computer for the rest of us.”  Then they decided to squeeze a bunch of songs into something they called the iPod and developed iTunes, a source to find our favorite songs.  Now Apple has new customers in the music industry.  Then they got into the communications industry with the iPhone.  And then the iPad introduction, which is changing our consumer behavior yet again and attracting lots of new customers.  So you can see that Apple has also increased its market and found new customers by creating new products, targeting different kinds of people all over the world, targeting different ages, targeting like interests.  And so that’s what’s sort of exciting finding new customers.  We’re going to have you think about doing that same thing for your business. 

So why is finding new customers a good idea?  It’s one of the fastest ways to grow your business.  Think about it.  The more customers you have the more money they might spend with you and more profit you’re going to have at day’s end. 

Also, if you have more customers in your portfolio, your mix of customers, some might go away but at least you have enough customers to sustain your business.  For instance, if you are a consultant and you have just a handful of customers, even if they spend a lot of money with you, what happens if one or two suddenly leave to follow a new consultant?  You’re going to be out of luck for a while aren’t you?  It’s going to take awhile to fill that pipeline, to engage those new potential prospects, and to convert them into customers.  If you already had a nice array of customers in your portfolio then the risk is definitely minimized.

Now it’s a little bit more challenging to bring in new customers or often referred to customer acquisition.  These new prospects don’t really know who you are.  You’re going to have to spend money and create messaging to get their attention.  You’re going to have to work that room, so to speak, so that they now know who you are and they understand the benefits you provide and they consider you for possible business.  Then perhaps they finally give you that business.  It takes awhile to fill the pipeline (lead time) and business might trickle out a little bit on the other side but eventually that flow will be stronger.  The nice thing about the process is that you have converted a lot more people into customers and now have a more ready stream of business flowing through your organization.

Where do you find these customers, these new exciting customers for your business?  Let’s take a look at demographics and psychographics.  Demographics are the common characteristics of your customers.  This could age, income, marital status, or education.  When you look at your existing base of customers and you identify what their demographics are perhaps you can see some opportunities for pushing your products into new demographics.  Something to think about. 

Next is psychographics.  What are the interests of your customers?  With psychographics you might not care how old they are.  You might not care their education level.  Perhaps this like-minded group loves kayaking and you offer a product that keeps your hands warm when you’re kayaking.  Now through psychographics, the commonality is that this user group is keeping their hands warm with your product, regardless of age or income.  To find new customers, maybe you market the same product to people who mountain bike or snow ski.  All of a sudden you’re tapping into new markets.

Let’s take a look at Once a Day Marketing and the product I’m providing you.  My initial foray in the market is to target small businesses and entrepreneurs who need a little push in their marketing.  Now how do I grow this business in the future?  I might decide to approach chambers of commerce and economic development organizations who are also trying to serve the small businesses in their community.  Rather than me knocking on the doors of all those people in those communities perhaps these chambers and economic development organizations will help me provide my product to their customers.  They become a new base of customers.

Perhaps I decide that I also want to offer my video blog to a whole different kind of clientele.  Rather than small businesses, perhaps Once a Day Marketing lends itself to non-profits.  These organizations need to market, they need to brand and my product will work for them as well.  Maybe in the future what I do is offer up whole new products under the Once a Day Marketing brand that will enable me to tap into new markets too.  So take a look at what you’re offering and to whom, and then see if you can identify gaps in the market, aka new customers, that your product can fill.

I think you’ll agree that finding new customers is a good marketing strategy for your business.  It takes a little work.  You’ve got to identify these potential customers but they are out there.  You’ve got to engage them.  You’ve got to convince them you are their go-to-guy and that your product provides a unique benefit to them.  But once you do that, once you convert more customers, then all of a sudden you’re going to have a more consistent, steady stream of income and profit flowing into your business.  That’s a very good thing and that’s what we are all about here at Once a Day Marketing: firming up your business.

That concludes our Recon Thursday. Be sure to stop by tomorrow if you can for Digital Friday.  I’m Jim Glover, That Branding Guy, for Once a Day Marketing, and we will see you next time.