Help & Support / Growing
/ << back to
Growing your customer base
Blank and Bob Dorf
Every company needs to keep and grow customers. The two ways to grow
customers is to get current customers to spend more, or encourage them
to send more customers.
There are two ways to grow existing customers: Get current customers
to spend more money, or encourage them to send more customers to the company.
Both are detailed below.
1. Get Current Customers to Spend More
To start, make sure your customers are satisfied with the product, performance
and price. Then you try to sell them more product, upgrade their service
or extend their contracts. These activities are important for the long-term,
so test at least a few during customer validation. Some of the basic approaches
to grow customers include:
Cross-selling programs. Encourage buyers of
a product to buy adjacent products. Get buyers of toner cartridges,
for example, to buy paper, pencils and other office products.
Up-selling programs. Promote the purchase
of higher-end products. For example, persuade customers to buy cases
of toner rather than single cartridges, or copiers, fax machines and
other office machines along with the toner.
Next-selling programs. These concentrate on
the next order: Can you encourage the customer to sign a long-term
toner contract? Or can you sell him or her envelopes to put the copies
in? Can you become the primary office-products supplier? These basic
customer growth strategies work in consumer goods as well as business-to-business.
Unbundling. If a product is complex or multi-featured,
split it into several products, each sold separately, which sometimes
grows revenue. This works well in many tech, software, and industrial
Beyond these basic approaches, you'll also want to develop a hypothesis
about how your company will grow its customers, and test those ideas with--who
Some simple "grow" techniques to consider for your web or
On every "thank you" or confirmation
page, suggest multiple items the customer may also find interesting,
and ideally provide an incentive for purchasing.
Prominently feature new items, special offers
and discounts for increasing the order size. Integrate with the checkout
process for high visibility.
If you're an e-commerce company, include "recommendation"
engines: "If you bought X, you’ll love Y." Also include
special offers and discounts in each shipment.
Email customers to introduce new and different
products or "add-on" features to buy.
Promote special sales or offers on new products
or services the customer hasn’t bought.
2. Get Customers to Send More Customers to the Company
Customer referrals are the most honest source of new business. There
are lots of different viral marketing tools and tactics that can help
you get customers to refer other customers to your company.
Viral marketing stimulates referrals of customers from other happy customers.
Here are the six most powerful viral marketing techniques to consider:
Encourage customers to "like" the
product on Facebook.
Offer customers discounts or free trial offers
to share with friends.
Enable customers to email their friends using
their address books to create mailing lists.
Create contests and incentives to encourage
Tweeting, "liking" and other viral activities.
Highlight social-networking action buttons
on the site to make viral efforts easy.
Encourage bloggers to write about the product,
and reward them for doing so
Ten steps to growing your customer base
Focus on the right customers. Just because
you're small, don’t think you can only sell to SMEs
Offer extra value - go beyond the boundaries
of your own product.
Ask for referrals and testimonials.
Understand your customers’ key frustrations.
Keep communicating through e-newsletters, social
media feeds, offers and other information
Know something about them — their interests,
their spouse’s name, children, pets, cars.
Improve your customer service skills - how
you present yourselves, how you answer the phone.
Ask customers how you can do it better
Create forums where your customers can share
information and ideas.