September 1, 2023

4 Ways to Grow Your Startup’s Customer Base

You’ve got a business idea you want to launch. After securing the funding, assembling the team, and working out the logistics, it’s time to build your customer base. You need enough clients to get off the ground, and you want to keep them coming so you can grow.

Building your customer base is an essential step for every startup. You’ve got to create buzz while increasing conversions and your brand authority. But knowing what you need to do and actually attracting more people to your brand are two different things. Growing your client database can prove to be challenging in a world where consumers are overloaded with options. If you’re looking for places to begin, consider these four ways to reel in more customers for your startup.

1. Start a Podcast

People can’t become customers of a business they don’t know exists. While renting space in a busy shopping plaza can bring in foot traffic, it’s not a fit for every business model. Not to mention, you can’t rely on random foot traffic alone. To generate awareness, you need ads and content marketing.

The latter includes formats like blogs, social media posts, videos, and podcasts. Yes, podcasts fall under the realm of content marketing. Because this format relies on audio, it can attract a more dynamic audience. You know — the people who don’t have time to read but want to stay informed and learn. They’ll listen while they’re cleaning the house, driving to work, or plowing through tasks in their home office.

These individuals represent roughly a quarter of the U.S. population, and launching a podcast can help you reach them. Depending on what your business offers, your podcast can inform, entertain, and get the conversation going. With each episode, your startup will demonstrate its subject authority, building trust with your audience over time.

Trust is a huge factor when it comes to conversions. Research shows 91% of consumers highly value trust when they’re ready to buy. And about 71% of people are less likely to purchase from businesses they don’t trust. A podcast marketing strategy can build it by engaging audiences with authentic conversation. You can also repurpose the same content into other formats to maximize your reach.

2. Pay Attention to SEO

Organic website traffic is another proven method of generating and converting leads. However, a solid search engine optimization strategy is necessary to boost your numbers. You won’t be on your audience’s radar if you’re not using the keyword phrases they’re searching for. Any website content you create should be fine-tuned for SEO.

Optimizing your online content isn’t a one-and-done endeavor, either. It’s a constant process that requires tweaks, updates, and analysis. But it starts with knowing your audience and what topics strike a chord with them. Somewhere between the solutions your startup offers and what your target customer searches for are relevant posts waiting to happen.

Yet it’s not enough to write blog posts or create videos. Performing keyword research and incorporating those phrases into digital content is part of any good SEO strategy. Places to use those keywords include website headers, backlinks, and alt text. You don’t want to overdo it, but you do need to ensure there’s enough to help your content rank.

Checking to see how your content is performing is another key component of SEO. You can improve your content’s performance by analyzing your organic traffic volume, conversion rates, and how the competition stacks up. If a blog post isn’t attracting the traffic you’d like, maybe it’s time to revise the content. Try different keywords and expand the topic so it’s more authoritative or engaging.

3. Leverage Word of Mouth

People flock to freebies for a reason. They don’t have much — indeed, anything — to lose! But new businesses stand to gain from getting consumers to give their products and services a whirl. Consumers get a sneak peek at the value your company can provide. They’re more likely to convert to a paying customer if your offering meets their needs.

Moreover, they’ll probably spread the word to their family and friends. Startups with referral programs can capitalize on word-of-mouth advertising by increasing the incentive for both sides. Converted customers get something for bringing another client to your door, while the newbie also gains something. It could be a discount, another complimentary product, or a gift card.

Whatever the incentive is, it can be a powerful magnet when consumers are unfamiliar with your business. People tend to be creatures of habit, so they need a compelling reason to break from their status quo. There’s also a higher chance they’ll trust the endorsements of those they know.

But for referral programs to work, you need a strategy. Freemium business models with built-in referral incentives can be effective. So can targeting small circles of people who match your ideal customer profile. Find out what value means to them and be willing to adjust as the feedback rolls in. For instance, a new restaurant might bring in initial traffic with coupons for a free entree. But the food and the loyalty program people sign up for have to be worth it to stay.

4. Try Virtual Demos

Remember infomercials? They were good at drawing audiences in because they showed consumers how products solved their pain points. After a few minutes, the demonstrations convinced people they needed whatever item was on display.

While traditional infomercials may be on the way out along with cable, you can use the same principle with online demos. This tactic allows you to demonstrate your products over social media through live or on-demand videos. Virtual demos are also another way to prove your expertise.

Say you sell smartphones and want to promote a new model. During an online demonstration, you can walk your audience through the phone’s features and what they can do. In the process, you’ll communicate your authority on how smartphone technology works. Furthermore, you’ll hopefully persuade your market to upgrade to your latest product.

Building Your Base

When you’re starting out, it can be difficult for your business to attract attention. You’re the unknown factor — the little guy competing with the big dogs. But all companies with household names had founders and leaders who grew their customer base to get there. Using strategies that build trust, generate traffic, and persuade people to try your offering, you can too.

About the author 

Elle Gellrich

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