It does not matter how talented you are until you have a great client base for your business. As per studies, 57% of marketers think that customer acquisition is the most significant part of the market expenditure, and it costs more than client retention. Spending adequate amounts on customer acquisition or creating a strong client base is vital for the survival of the business.
Building a client base from scratch is a bit difficult as you don’t have the reputation, and there’s no one to refer you. Hence, it is also important to get loyal clients to make your business stay strong and competitive. They decide the route map of your business.
But before you learn how to create your client base, get to know where to look for.
Customer-centric companies are found to be 60% more profitable than those that do not focus on customer acquisition and retention.
It is always the hardest to find your first client, and therefore, it is certainly more difficult to answer ‘Where’ than ‘How’. So let’s first start where to search for your clients!
Where to get your client base
To give a good start to your business, searching for your clients and creating a strong and effective client base is the foremost priority and requirement. Your industry experience, portfolios will not help you completely. So basically to start with a proper place to look for clients
1. Freelance marketplace
Online platforms or the internet is undeniably the best place to connect with people. With the emerging freelance market, there has been a growing demand for a client base. Currently, Upwork is known to be the most popular freelance marketplace that supports emerging freelancers with a good client source. This robust platform allows you to display your ‘job status’ so that companies understand how early you can apply for a job invitation. Moreover, there are other sites as well, like Aquent, The Creative Group, Croogster, CrowdSource, and many more.
2. Friends and family
A single client can get you dozens more. So it is pretty understandable that the best strategy is to start with a real client. But how?
Suppose, you are a web designer and one of your friends is looking for someone to design his/her business website. You may also be benefited from your past employer, who might help you with social media marketing services. Such are the ways where your friends or family could help you out with the first client.
Don’t simply ignore these tasks and add those to your portfolio. It’s not necessary to blatantly advertise the personal relationship, instead focus and highlight the work you have done for them to get more clients.
3. Social media
No matter how old your business is, the quick way to gain recognition is through social media platforms. This helps you to connect with thousands and millions of clients to let them know you have a business and what you offer. Certain tricks can make the process of creating a client base way simpler. Create business pages or accounts and add hashtags to your every post to get more new eyes. Moreover, it’s easy as well as free, what more do you want?
4. Referral and partnership:
As per the marketing journal published by the University of Pennsylvania, referred customers have 16% more lifetime value. Some even say that people are more likely to purchase goods or services when referred by friends. Word-of-mouth or WOM has been a clever method of customer acquisition, also known as referral programs which seems beneficial for most businesses at their initial phase.
The same goes for the partnership program. You may even get surprised to learn that Lenovodrives about 25% of its revenue through partnership channels which is more than average 20% of what retails generate through paid search. Don’t you feel it’s profitable for newbies to gain customers through this?
5. Expand beyond traditional advertisements
Do you know? In 2020 Googe held the largest share of US digital ad spend, which is nearly 36.3%. This clearly articulates that traditional advertising like print, television, or radio is even though not obsolete but not a pretty much effective means of creating a client base. Whereas, social media or online platforms are way more efficient. Reports say that 4 out of 10 internet users follow their favorite brands through social media ads. Also, approximately 37% of online purchasers are inspired by social media.
As per a report in 2019, almost 70% of Americans have spent more to do business with companies that provide great service.
Hence, excellent customer service is a way to build a great client base. Check out the section below to know other ways as well!
How to build a client base
As the ‘gig economy’ flourishes, more and more freelancers are coming up with their talents. But even though you figure out where to start, learn how to start a client base from scratch to kick start your business career.
- Create multiple communication channels: Communication is a vital aspect of building a great client relationship. Let your customer know about your vision, mission, or target- accomplish this by creating a dedicated page on your business website. Also, keep a feedback section open and make a query page to enhance client retention by avoiding fuss.
- Provide excellent customer service: A memorable customer experience including easy navigation, after-sale support, good interaction, etc., along with the quality product or service helps to build a strong client base.
- Turn your client base into a fan club: Quality can build and even sink a business. But a good marketing strategy can keep the hype about your business going. Make your online presence remarkably strong and engaging. That would involve more and more clients to be a part of your brand and would turn your client base into a fan club.
- Listen to your customer needs and serve accordingly: Provide personalized solutions by considering the customer feedback and needs. Considering the behavioral data would be of great help not just to big companies, but small businesses as well. It guides spotting the erroneous data and predicts churn so that action can be taken on time.
- Provide a flexible payment system: Set the payment plans thoughtfully, like implementing flexible payment modes or allowing installments. Ensure that your payment process is less stressful and effortless. This will help customers to stick to your brand and would maintain steady cash even when your business is low.
- Encourage customer advocacy: Not all customers are convinced by ads and might be skeptical of the company’s performance. Hence, leveraging customer advocates build trust, as it has been seen that 91% of customers trust online reviews and therefore, referrals and testimonials are great ways to develop brand credibility. This in turn helps in building a client base.
- Provide free offers or incentives: Attractive offers or incentives are a great way to grab the attention of potential customers. How about you offer a particular service for free so that customers get to know about your service quality. Like, Billbooks offers its clientele with free 30 days trial for a quick and intriguing sneak-peek to its incredible invoicing services.
- Introduce gamification: Attracting new users through gamification is an emerging trend nowadays. Adding playful items in the normal task can make the process way more engaging which will not only draw new users but will also hold the existing ones.
- Implement customer service tools: An integrated customer service tool can help your business get and retain clients more easily. A well-organized and effective help desk, knowledge base, ticketing system can optimize workflow which in turn would help you take up more cases, which means growing the client base.
- Improve web accessibility: Web accessibility can open up new ways of achieving success in e-commerce. Reaching out to potential customers all across the globe can be simplified by making your site compatible with all types of features. As per a survey conducted in 2016, nearly 4 million people in the UK rejected a website due to accessibility issues and lost around ₤12 billion.
- Arrange success programs: Excellent customer service also includes success programs. The company must have a dedicated team who will identify the roadblock and navigate them in the right direction to avoid customer churn.
- Personalize customer onboarding process: Almost 50 out of 100 customers return the product due to difficulty in understanding how it works. The post-purchase phase is vital for customers and also for the business to make an impressive impression. Personalizing the onboarding programs can rule out the chances of such scenarios and hence, would help in building a great client base.
A plethora of job-listing websites and social networking sites have simplified the process of tracking down the freelance market. Thus, helping budding entrepreneurs to hunt down their target audience seamlessly. But this well-guided protocol would help you get your answer for how to build a client base effortlessly.