Want More Customers? Diversify!

Your target market has been buying so far, but as all small business owners know, customers are fickle creatures and you never know when their buying preferences will change. Creating a double whammy, with the rise and fall of the economy, it’s hard to keep cash flow flowing when customers tighten their belts.

Make a smart move now, while profits are up and you feel that exploring new territory is worth it, by diversifying your customer base. 

Here’s how:

1. Expand to other markets. You may be able to find a similar target market in another area if you do your demographic research. Check marketing statistics in another city or state. If you don’t want to open another location, simply expand online through ecommerce. You’re still marketing to the same type of customer, so you know what they want, and if spending falls off due to problems with the local economy, your business will still have a strong base of customers in other regions.

Diversify

2. Change your “type.” Most products or services have potential target markets you may never have thought of. Pick a hot growth market and brainstorm ideas on how to market your product or service to that group. Can you modify the product or service you normally target to women to suit young teens, or add a new marketing angle to get men to buy for their wives and girlfriends?

3. Skew your product or service to another market. Think of ways to slightly skew your product or service to attract a whole new audience. Do you provide a service to help students get into college? Think about adding resume editing and writing to your menu of services to help adults find jobs. Do you do Web design? Add SEO services or Web hosting.

4. Spread the word. Get the news out about your new products or services any way you can. Maybe your old customers weren’t heavy social media users, and now you are targeting a social-media-savvy audience. You’ll need to shift your marketing efforts to whatever area your new target market expects. But be sure to keep current customers informed of your new direction so they won’t feel left behind.

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky, SmallBizDaily, GrowBizMedia, SCORE BlogRieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva atrieva@smallbizdaily.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.