Analyze your customer base

If you have a comprehensive list of your customers (and you should have, if you don’t already), you have the basis for discovering what traits many of them have in common. Are they self-employed, sophisticated, big spenders, cost-conscious, brand conscious? When you understand what their preferences are, you can focus on the prices, products, and sales approach that appeals to your existing customers, and help you attract more who are like them.

As you already own your customer list, this valuable market research costs you nothing out-of-pocket.

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Superior to your competitors? Then charge more

Want to be perceived as being superior to your competition? Then be sure you charge more than they do. The customers who are searching for high-end products expect to pay more for them, and tend to bypass lower-end products, reasoning that such products — rightly or wrongly — aren’t as good as the high-end stuff.

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Never stop marketing

When you have loyal customers and sales are strong, you may be tempted cut back on your marketing. After all, why spend money on something you don’t seem to need? Yes, you can cut back, and thus maximize your bottom line, without harmful impact on sales. For a while. But after a time, your customer base will begin to shrink. You’ll run the risk of being forgotten in the marketplace. And it can take you a long time, plus plenty of advertising and promotion dollars, to regain your visibility.

Don’t count on keeping any customer forever. You’ll have to replace a lost customer to stay even, or maybe just to survive. In the advertising business, which is this writer’s background, it’s said that you start to lose a customer just as soon as you win the account. Problems arise, people leave, people die, a competitor steals the business, companies merge — all sorts of things you didn’t count on. Maintain your marketing momentum constantly. It’s how you help keep your business healthy.

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