So you’ve launched your own business, and you are incredibly excited for what the future will bring. You have a product or service on offer that you believe has the potential to be highly successful. The only issue is that you’re not too sure how to build up your customer base. You know that having a strong customer base is essential, but you’re just not sure how to build one.

As a business owner, you need to continually be on the lookout for new customers. The whole basis of building a business depends on your ability to grow your customer base because, without a strong customer base behind you, your chances of success are low. You need to be continually looking for new methods to bring new customers to your door – or to your website if your business is a virtual one.

The good news is that there are a lot of different ways to reach out to potential customers and turn them into customers. Of course, knowing how to do that, and making time to convert those leads into customers isn’t always something that’s easy to do. However, once you understand the dos and don’ts of building a customer base for your business, you will find it much easier to do.

There are lots of ways to reach your target customers; it’s just a case of taking the time to learn what these are and how you can utilize them effectively. Bearing that in mind, below is a guide to the dos and don’ts of successfully growing a customer base for your business.

Do utilize social media

When it comes to building a customer base for your business, one of the most vital things to know is that social media is a crucial tool. If you are serious about making a go of your business, in today’s internet driven world, utilizing social media is crucial. Use your customer research to establish where your target demographic spend most of their time online. Once you know which social media platforms are the most relevant to your target demographic, establish a social media plan that can be used consistently. Remember, when using social media to build connections, focus on the relationships that you’re cultivating, not the sale.

Don’t spam your social media channels with posts

While you want to be using social media on a regular basis to promote your brand and products, what you don’t want to do is spam your business’s pages with too many posts. The key is to get the balance right. As a rule of thumb, for Instagram, you should post twice a day, on Facebook three to five times a day, and for Twitter six to eight times a day. If you’re not sure what to post and then take the time to do your research. If you are serious about building a customer base that will lead your business to success, you need to understand how to utilize social media effectively. There’s plenty of tutorials and advice online that you can take advantage of, or you can opt to outsource your social media management to a specialist, depending on your budget and personal preference.

Do learn how to perfect sales calls

One thing that you don’t want to do is make a name for your brand as a company that is too pushy or rude to customers. If you are going to use calls as a form of marketing method, then it’s absolutely vital that you learn how to perfect them. When it comes to making sales calls, it’s essential that you understand what you should and shouldn’t do – you need to understand the etiquette of sales calls. If there’s one thing that every call should have, it’s politeness. You also need to learn how to convince the person on the other end of the phone that your business, and your business alone, can improve a part of their life, which is why they need to buy your product or use your service. When it comes to sales calls, it can help to have the dialogue written out.

Don’t cold call

Wherever possible, avoid cold calling. When it comes to lead generation and building a customer base that will help your business become more and more successful, it’s important to try to steer clear of cold calling. Aim to generate call lists from warm leads – AKA leads where you’ve already connected with the person. Warm leads can be made in a whole range of ways, one of the best of which is via social media. If you connect with a potential customer on social media, they then become a warm lead.

Do network face-to-face

You might be surprised to hear it but old-fashioned, face to face networking actually still works well. Why does it work well? It’s simple really: people like to do business with people that they know. At every networking event that you attend, your goal should be to cultivate at least five new contacts. Don’t make the mistake of handing your business card out to everyone that you meet, instead spend some time chatting with others and building your connections. Only give out your business card when it’s actually necessary to do so, and you’ve built a real connection with someone. If you take the time to build a relationship with someone, you may well be able to turn them into a customer, so it’s worth taking the time to cultivate these relationships.

Don’t skip virtual networking

Although face-to-face networking has the potential to be hugely successful, that doesn’t mean that virtual networking is irrelevant, because that isn’t the case. By taking the time to attend online virtual networking events, such as those run on Twitter, you can build even more connections, growing your brand even further. Spend some time researching virtual networking events on Twitter that would be relevant to your brand – look for locally focused events including city-wide and regional networking hours. It’s also worth looking for industry-specific networking hours. The key to virtual networking during these hours is consistency and building rapport with other businesses and individuals within the chats. Be open, interesting and engaging. Share more than just tweets – share blog posts and video content and tell people what you actually offer.

Do make your website a must-visit resource

Wondering how you can do this? All you need to do is make your website unmissable. The best way to create a site that hosts unmissable content is to be smart about what you’re offering. In addition to offering a range of products, blog posts and video content, offer valuable resources for visitors, such as a free downloadable ebook or infographic, or a free online tutorial. Make sure that for whatever you offer, you require users to submit their email address to download it or use it, as that way you build up your email marketing list.

Don’t fail to think your marketing through

There is so much potential for success when it comes to digital marketing; it’s just a case of taking advantage of the options available to you. A mistake that many people make is failing to think every aspect of their marketing plan through carefully. The truth is that there’s so much to think about, that it’s far too easy to miss something crucial. One aspect of your marketing that you don’t want to miss is offering ‘fan-only’ specials. What this means is advertising deals on your social media channels and other marketing streams that are for ‘fans-only’ – AKA anyone who has subscribed to your mailing list. This encourages more people to sign up to your mailing lists, which then improves the size of your customer base.

Do take advantage of your unpaid sales force

Send our regular marketing emails to your unpaid sales force – AKA your current customers – offering them deals and discounts if they refer you to a friend and get that friend to join your mailing list. It doesn’t have to be a huge saving; it can be anything – whether it’s 10% of 50% it doesn’t matter just as long as you are offering a reward. The fact is that if you want to encourage your customers to recommend you to their friends and relatives, you need to offer an incentive, and providing them with a discount is the perfect way to do that.

When it comes to building a customer base for your business, it isn’t always an easy task. It takes a lot of time, effort and hard work to grow a business, but if you are smart about the steps that you and your team members take, you should be able to grow your brand fairly quickly. Of course, like with anything, there are a range of dos and don’ts that it’s vital that you take note of and follow. If you want to ensure that building your customer base goes as well as can be expected, it’s essential that you take note of the tips and advice above and implement them in your approach to building a strong and reliable customer base.