Every business owner wants their company to flourish, but how to make that happen? Start by building your customer base.

Your customers are the source of your sales and overall success as a company, so it’s important to put effort into building a large and loyal customer base. By adhering to these eight basics of building a customer base, you’ll be investing in the future success of your business.

Have a mission.

For any type of company to become successful and gain followers, it has to have a company mission. This might be a single goal, or a set of company principles to which you adhere.

Let’s put it on a simple, easy to understand level. Say, for instance, that your business consists of a pizza food truck. In this case, your company mission might be to provide authentic Neapolitan pizza using the finest and freshest ingredients you’re able to source. Even such a simple mission as this can make the difference, attracting like-minded customers and making them choose you in favor of your competitors. Be sure to have your mission in place so that you can attract the right customers.

Offer a superior product or service.

Much of gaining a customer base has to do with referrals and repeat customers. The best and most effective way of bringing customers back and having them tell their friends? Offer a superior product or service. For instance, if you have a cleaning company and do an average job cleaning houses, nobody’s going to be going out of their way to promote you to their friends. However, if you provide excellent service and pay attention to details, then customers will take note. Not only will they be sure to call you again, but they’ll be sure to tell their friends about you, too.

Identify your target audience.

Who is your target audience? If you don’t know, then your marketing efforts are not going to be as successful as they could be. Knowing your target audience can assist you in choosing the best style of branding and promotional materials to appeal to your customer base.

For instance, if your customer base is tech-savvy 20-somethings, your promotional materials might be most effective if they include an element of technology. Displaying a tablet holder display featuring an iPad in your retail space or lobby might be a great way to capture their attention, and in a way that it wouldn’t if you were trying to capture an older or less tech-inclined generation.

Make your products or services easily accessible.

Is it easy to find your business, identify what it does, and make a purchase? You’d be surprised at how many companies neglect these basics in their advertising.

Investing in advertising materials can help in every aspect. To start, banners, flags, or static signs can help direct potential customers to your place of business, and identify what it is that you do. You may not be able to list every single service and/or a rate list on a sign, but you can offer a website address so that customers can find out more. Having a website and a robust presence on social media can allow you to easily tell people what it is that you do, and offer rates or any relevant information as well as a rate list. People like to do research on their own and make decisions from there, so make it easy to find them.

Find creative ways to communicate.

Promotional materials such as retractable banners or hanging signs are proven and effective ways to get noticed. However, to take things to the second level, you need to forge a line of communication with your customers.

Advertising and promotional materials can help you with this. You might create branded promotional items as gifts, giveaways, or simply for your company’s promotional use at events. Or, you can use branded items that will engage customers and grab their attention, such as by displaying a branded game at an outdoor street festival. Unlike a regular sign, the game is interactive and allows an “ice breaker” of sorts, so that you can begin to communicate with your customers and get a deeper level of connection with them.

Engage with customers.

Don’t just put out a branded game and call it good. To really build your customer base, you need to engage with people. This might be in one of several ways. One of the easiest and most effective ways in this day and age is by engaging with them on social media. Responding to customer comments and inquiries is a great way to engage; with a social media following, you also have a built in list of people who might enjoy special offers or savings. Crowd-sourcing or showing sneak peeks can also be a great way of connecting with customers and making them like you in the virtual sphere.

Be reliable.

Once your company has established itself, don’t change your course without good reason. That is to say, be reliable and consistent in delivering what it is that you promise, and stay true to your company goals.

Going back to the hypothetical pizza food truck discussed in the first tip in this post, if your goal is to deliver fresh and authentic pizza to your customers, stay true to that promise. Don’t decide all of a sudden that your goal is to provide wacky toppings and crazy pizza shapes. For one thing, it’s going to be confusing, and it will send a message of inconsistency to your customers. Why come back if next time you might be doing something totally different? This does not mean that you can’t branch out, but be sure that every way your company branches out is still true to its principles.

Repeat and expand.

Once you have positive growth in your customer base, how do you keep things growing? By doing more of the same, but in bigger ways. Let your progression and growth be natural. For instance, if you’ve found that displaying a branded game is effective for your company, consider displaying at more street fairs next season, or invest in a physically larger game for a similar effect that has more impact.

Consistency is rewarded in business, so if you have a model that works, stick with it and let yourself grow slowly but surely.

Conclusion: When it comes to building a customer base for your business, there isn’t a magic bullet. Barring an exception such as a mention on national media or something along those lines, it’s usually a matter of slow but steady growth based on being consistent and reliable in your offerings and treating your customers with respect. By following the basics listed in this post, you’ll be on a positive trajectory toward not only attracting but maintaining a great and loyal customer base.

What techniques do you find most effective in attracting customers?