Companies generally grow their sales numbers by generating additional incremental revenue from existing customers and/or by landing new accounts through referrals from there existing customers. However, in order for companies to truly increase the size of their business and create opportunities for large new revenue streams an effort must be made to develop an implement marketing strategies that will noticeably increase the size of the customer base. This process should begin by setting reasonable goals and objectives for the target number of new customers and the annual revenue that the company anticipates will be obtained from those customers. The company should then establish a budget for the marketing costs associated with achieving the goals and objectives with respect to the new customers. The budget and goals should be carefully analyzed to ensure that the company is pursuing an appropriate return on its investment. The amount of funds that should be made available for marketing to new customers depends on several factors including the projected revenue of the company, the costs associated with retaining existing customers, the specific marketing tools commonly used in the company’s industry, and the investment in marketing made by competing companies. Before proceeding with the marketing campaign thought should also be given to whether the company will be able to effectively absorb the targeted new business with the resources that it will have available and what effect expansion of the customer base might have on providing products and services to existing customers.
Once the company has set aside the funds to be used for marketing to new customers decisions must be made as to how those funds can be most effectively invested. The company should begin by looking at what it is currently doing with respect to marketing and determine whether to continue with those strategies, perhaps even expand some of them, or shift direction. One decision that generally must be made is how much reliance should be placed on online marketing and advertising activities such as the company website and place online ads on third party sites. Over time, companies have found that that allocating a large amount of their marketing budget to search engine optimization does not make a lot of sense and that the return on their investment is usually disappointing. Ironically, even though the Internet has become a dominant feature of the business environment, small growing companies are finding that their best chances for marketing success may lie in creating more opportunities for live, face-to-face contact with prospective customers and others in the industry who are in a position to distribute favorable opinions regarding the company and its products and services.
One method that companies can use to connect with prospective new customers is to host several promotional events in key geographic locations and invite the decision makers from a carefully selected group of prospects in the area. Presentations during the event should focus on practical and straightforward demonstrations of the company’s products and services and should be supported by interactive participation by attendees. The impact and effectiveness of the event should be bolstered by extensive due diligence before the meetings begin so that those making presentations on behalf of the company are informed about the specific requirements of the target customers in the audience. One-on-one meetings may also be scheduled during the event period and at a minimum some form of follow-up discussion should be put on calendar by the end of the event. In addition to “live and in person” events the company should also take advantage of available technology to produce and conduct Web seminars for prospect unable to attend the live events. In addition, the company should engage a public relations firm with experience in the company’s industry and markets to place articles in trade journals, arrange interviews with influential journalists that follow the industry, schedule speaking engagements for company managers at industry conferences, and produce and disseminate press releases on a regular basis to increase and maintain the company’s profile in the industry.