If you want to grow your business, you’ll need a strategic plan. Your plan should include how you’ll find new customers and get your products or services into new markets.
Finding new customers in existing markets
Profile your existing customer base to re-establish your target consumers. Then determine different distribution channels that you could use.
Think about selling:
- Via retail outlets
- Through wholesale businesses
Use marketing personas
Bring your target customers to life by creating marketing personas.
If your ideal customer is a 30-year-old stay-at-home mom, give her a name. Learn more about her. And write a detailed profile that describes her lifestyle, education, income, problems and other important demographic attributes.
The better you know your target customer, the better you’ll be able to find more customers that fit the profile.
Open new outlets
Where do people who match your marketing personas live and work?
Can you expand into different geographical locations?
If so, research consumer demand for your goods or services in different locations. If the demand is large enough, determine how to serve those customers. Do you want to open and run a physical location? Or, would franchising be an option?
Vertical or horizontal integration
If you’re a wholesaler, can you add a retail outlet? Likewise, if you’re a retailer, it might make sense to add a wholesale channel.
Are there any competitors or complementary businesses looking to sell? You might be able to buy them out to extend your reach and customer base.
Selling online creates a new avenue for your customers to purchase your offerings. You’ll also widen your audience—and your reach—to potential customers.
Here are some things to consider:
- Websites and apps: If your business caters to on-the-go customers, make sure your website design is responsive. It should be easy to view and interact with on mobile devices. It might even make sense to develop a mobile app.
- E-commerce options: Selling online doesn’t always mean setting up your own website or mobile app. It might make sense to set up an e-commerce store on a website like Shopify.
Revisit your marketing strategy
What are you doing to attract new customers? These three strategies can help you:
- Get your brand out there: Attend conferences, network and survey your loyal customers to gather their opinions.
- Ask for referrals: Your customers likely know other people just like them who could benefit from your products and services. Setting up a formal referral program might be beneficial. But remember that many customers are more than willing to refer your business if you simply ask!
- Reconnect with your online efforts: Make sure you have a presence on any relevant websites (like review sites) and social networks. Evaluate and optimize your existing social media platforms. And consider adding a new platform that your ideal customers use or will connect you with a new market. Or, try new methods to attract more followers.
Finding new markets
If you’ve exhausted the growth opportunities in your existing market, or your existing market feels flat, finding a new market might be the way forward.
Overseas markets offer opportunities to expand your business. But there’s a lot to consider. Exporting can be both risky and highly rewarding, making research crucial.
Conduct high quality, on-the-ground research in the countries you’re considering. Make sure to find out what regulations, tariffs and business risks exist in your new target market.
Explore new markets like B2B or B2C
You’ve built a business serving a particular slice of the pie. But other segments could also be receptive to your business.
If you’ve built your business with a focus on consumers (B2C), consider whether your goods or services would be of use to other businesses (B2B). Would government or education sectors offer new opportunities to explore?
In either case, you might need to tweak your offerings to appeal to the new market. While your existing products or services might be useful to both B2B and B2C markets, businesses and consumers have different:
- Pain points
- Problems to solve
You might need to adjust your marketing to address these differences and position your offerings as the solutions.
Finding new customers and markets could open the door to business growth. But it requires foresight and action.