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    36 Replies Latest reply on Jul 29, 2011 10:14 AM by smallbus01

    How Can I Increase My Customer Base?

    psw1964 Newbie

      I have tried just about every technique to bring customers into my sports trading card business
      but it just seems like i cannot increase the amount of customers.
      Any ideas?

          mullman99 Newbie
          Can you provide more information? Specifically: Do you have a store? Where is it located? What have you done alreadyy? Are you marketing online?


            What type of online marketing have you tried? Could you benefit from social media marketing?
              Social media does take time to work...but, it does work. When using social media, it gives you an opportunity to build a 'presence'. Building a presence, means offering value through articles, videos and audio.
              To find out if you are truly giving stuff of value- just ask the folks that are interacting in your blog, facebook, etc. questions such as: "If you could ask me anything about the cards, what would that be? Looking forward to your response. I will be answering to as many posts as I can." Or "Hey, I am starting up contest where I will be giving out the winner X stuff...what else would you like to see in that package?"
              The questions, are a way to engage the prospects and to find our what their needs are.
              Once you are connecting with them, by giving them what they need, then you can funnel them into your website, or even better- place a link that takes them to a back page in your website and there, you can set a subscription page, where they can become members and receive all the cool stuff that you are going to give them...thus, building the relationship...and when you are ready to sell, they will be more than happy to buy from you.
              Much luck,
                I completely agree with Internetannie and was thinking that social media (facebook, twitter) gives you the opportunity to engage directly with potential customers and create "top of mind" awareness. I would use it to deliver interesting facts about particular cards or players, industry updates, information on tradeshows, etc. Create your own interest and get your customers talking.
                  stevemac Newbie
                  I teach and talk with solopreneurs (one-man small businesses) every day about how-to use social media to prospect for high quality customers. They all are so surprised by the reach and power of the tools that are available. And that it's not rocket science. If you have any quesitons, just let me know (@stevemacdonald).
                  • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                    As everyone else has mentioned, social media is definitely important. On a site like Facebook in particular, you can post ads that are extremely specific to your customer base, and tailor different ads to all the various customer types you may have (male/female, young/old, etc.). Here is an article about creating traffic on your website that might help to lead you in the right direction.


                    Also, very important, is your website the best that it can be? Is it something that people will intrigue customers and make them want to know more/buy? These are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself. Getting people to your website is only half the battle, the rest is getting their attention and building customer loyalty. Hope that helps!
                    • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                      Avionne Wayfarer
                      What business are in involved in? For me increasing my customer base is not as easy as it sounds. You have to advertise in the newspapers and magazines that is in keeping with your business, make flyers, brochures, business/call cards, have sales, shows as well as become active in the community and attend workshops, seminars and tradeshows..
                        • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                          BBMarketing Newbie

                          I agree Avionne, social media is a great way to keep in touch with your existing customers but if your in a market like trading cards, you dont have a very large customer base to begin within . You have to target your customers, think really hard about what kind of customers you have and who would want to by what your selling and compile as much information about them as you can (buy leads), (Dealers, collectors, etc..) Think about what you can afford to give them in return for their business and offer a promotion through direct mail, flyers, tradeshows (good way to collect future customers).

                        • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?

                          Social media marketing is certainly not for every business, product or service.  You just have to determine if the audience is there (and I bet they are) and then be active.  Add something worth reading and people will follow you.


                          Sometimes it's most important to make sure your messaging and branding are consistent as you promote across various mediums.

                          • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                            Nikki Newbie
                            There are many things to do, based on your type of business, location, and buyer behaviours, but here are some basics that apply to all.

                            1. Never stop learning. There are lots of free and low cost educational programs across the nation to help small business owners to learn how to keep up with the changes in buyer behavior, trends, computers, networking, advertising, sales techniques, and more. Take advantage of them. Check out or

                            2. Use "Guerilla Marketing" techniques. There are several books out there that talk about low cost and free ways to advertise and get customers in and buying. Cross promotion with other similar but non competing businesses is just one, but it cuts your costs in half, and reaches more than double the paying customer base.

                            3. If you have a younger buyer, you simply cannot neglect social media networking and things like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and the like. You should have a website, and reach out to these customers often. Warning sure to track the amount of time spent on these things, and measure effectiveness. It can be an addiction, and not a profitable way to spend a day. Instead, have a couple of distinct goals....five new friends a day, two Twitters, etc. Then get back to the main business at hand.

                            4. Always remember your existing customers as your best source of new business. Treat them awesome, offer specials just to them, and give extra special service. We had a ladies clothing store for over 25 years, and it was the little things, like extra nice wrapping paper and bows for free, exclusive sales and offers, fashion shows, etc, and we reached out to them with direct mail at least once a month. When something I knew they would like came in, I would give them a call. Now, with digital cameras and email, I would go one further, do a little display of the outfit, photograph it, and send in an email with a total price including free shipping if they didn't have to stop in the store.

                            5. Keep your customers happy. Do surveys after a large purchase, and ask if there is anything that could have improved the transaction. Send Thank You notes, handwritten, from the salesperson. Make sure every employee has the ability to make a customer's transaction as smooth and troublefree as possible.

                            6. Never stop teaching employees. Motivate. REWARD. Have regular meetings that are positive, upbeat, and listen to employees ideas. Cross train the staff to do just about any job in the store or business if needed. Give performance based rewards to top performers, and to all employees in the form of profit sharing if you reach your goals. Treat your people right, and they will be loyal, and stay with you. This eliminates turnover, a very expensive cost, and creates better customer service.

                            7. Give all employees the tools they need to do their job well. Business cards, cellphones if they are on the road, reimburse auto expenses quickly, and put together a binder for each person to track their own sales, goals, professional development, customer notes,etc.

                            8. Keep your store clean, your merchandise fresh, and everything neat and tidy. Change displays and signage regularly. Keep the windows washed, the floors clean, and show a sense of pride and positivity to all who enter.

                            9. Smile, and hire people who smile. Say "Thank You". Hire people who really love the product you sell, more than someone who just has a good education. The former will have more passion, and be a cheerleader for you every day.

                            10. Make sure you are supplying what customers want or need. You may have to change your product mix to go with the current trends, the economic climate, or add different price points. That being said, a small store does not have to have as low a price as a WalMart, because people are coming to you for service, reliablity, and all the reasons listed above. If possible, do not carry things that are available at mass merchandisers in your area. Be unique, fill a need or want, and treat everyone with gratitude and respect.



                            Nikki from Keystone real estate agentcy

                            • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                              BBMarketing Newbie

                              What marketing techniques have you tried in the past? Its possible you may be doing all the right things but sending the wrong message to attract your customers. Think about what the existing customers like about your store and what makes them come back. (Ask them in a comment card and get all of their contact information, at the same time ask them to refer a friend that collects for 10% off.

                              • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?

                                Question: What systems do you have in place that let people know that you are the go to market for their needs. McDonalds has a system, and most upscale hotels have a system. The system say's that you are quality, caring and can surpass meeting customer needs. It is a system that every team member in your store gives to the customer when they come across your door portal. For example, Good morning welcome to mcDonalds. Don't laught! Those few words people come to expect when they show up at a McDonalds. It is duplicaion like this that is now spanning the market place. IYour customers need to feel cared for. I also agree with the earlier post to get feedback. Don't stop there show them how you take there feedback to create an even larger customer base thinks to there help.By the way, do you know your customers by name and their preferences. Don't laugh, many upscale hotel chains can mention your name and all staff know that you have arrived. They didn't get there overnight. I have enjoyed that kind of customer service. Excuse any mis-spelled words . I wrote this fast.

                                • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?

                                  Social media is a good tool, depending upon what type of store you have.  Is it an online store or real store?  Coffee shops, small kitch cafes do really well with Facebook because you are creating an "in crowd" for online stores to use these tools effectively they need to spend a lot more than the local coffee shop in funds.  People who claim to make a killing on Facebook have created games, pay SEM folks to blog, etc.


                                  That's what I do for a living and I don't always advise Facebook.  Its very situational.  People know when you are trying to get money from them.  That's why Twitter is falling so hard.  No different on Facebook.

                                  • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?

                                    I agree with everyone on the point that social media marketing services have a real measurable impact on building your brand. and @ rintendo I would hardly say Facebook is "falling hard" Goldman Sachs stated that Facebook is valued at 50 billion more than (ebay and yahoo combined)

                                      • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?

                                        I said that Twitter was falling in popularity, not Facebook because people began to use it to do nothing but sell, sell, sell.     Facebook users tend to avoid the overt selling fanpages.  Facebook users want chatty salon style of everything, including selling.  There is a sense of belonging that must be instilled in order for you to make money off of Facebook.  Perhaps, I didn't make myself clear enough.


                                        There are Facebook millioniares, but there are more people that pay people to post on their wall and don't have real customers.  If you want to make a splash on Facebook you need to play the game.

                                      • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                        dominantapproac Wayfarer

                                        Like everyone else said in previuos posts. Social Media is a great hit. But did you already create you CUSTOM Facebook Fan Page? Do you know the benefits from it?


                                        Some Benefits of Social Media for Small Businesses


                                        1. Branding Opportunities

                                        2. Build Link Popularity

                                        3. Give your business a personality

                                        4. Search results

                                        5. Attracting Traffic

                                        6. Gain access to your customer’s conversations

                                        7. Brand management

                                        8. Networking Opportunities

                                        9. Position yourself as the expert

                                        10. Building your lists

                                        11. Innovation

                                        12. Competitive Research

                                        13. Open all the time

                                          • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                            Drachsi Scout

                                            Top priority should be your own Blog, posting at least twice week using good keywords. Then join Forums which cover your area of expertise and make posts and important is to reply to members that are seeking help and support, ( like this Forum) You could start your own Forum, but this is not recommended unless you have enough resources. You should also add a link from every post to your website. See below. Google likes Forums and indexes them often.




                                          • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?

                                            The real key is what is being said and who it's being said to. Can you share some of your mailings for fliers? I'm happy to review them for you and offer some feedback. You'd be amazed at what the right message can do for you.

                                            • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                              joshuawilson Scout



                                              To increase your customer base you need to do social media optimization allows you to join conversations with the various community and peoples also. So growing your contact in the right way is the key.




                                              Website Outsourcing

                                              Local Search Marketing

                                              • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                iyazam Adventurer

                                                What about doing events in your store?


                                                I have a freind who many years ago had a store selling kid magazines. He would have free events in the store on Sundays and via this way attract people  to the store.

                                                • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                  RickWyers Newbie

                                                  Hi Patrick,



                                                  Have you tried making yourself known in forums or groups or anywhere else where people that have a passion for sports trading cards hang out?  Type "sports trading card forum" into Google to find some sites.


                                                  These places are great because you can build friendships with other collectors by engaging in conversation, providing tips, answering questions etc.


                                                  After a while you may be viewed as the go to guy in "sport trading cards". People buy from people they like and trust. In my opinion though it's important to build that trust before you start offering any thing to sell. Also self promotion is frowned upon in forums and groups, but if you provide good value to the forum they may let you put a link to your web site in your signature. And over time people will get to know that you have a trading card business.


                                                  Hope this works for you or at least gives you a few ideas




                                                    • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                      Stephen Mak Wayfarer

                                                      Everyone here is right.  Social Media and Online presence is essential in today's business building criteria.  The internet and social media is the new trend, as the years passed, printed advertising as decreased dramatically and online marketing and social media marketing as boomed in order to increase sales and reduce operation cost.  One easy example with a well known company, GAP, their online sales have increased last year by 22% compared to their instore sale of only 11%.  For a national company to have sales increase in the double-digit-percentile in one year is extremely significant growth. 


                                                      If you decide to look into getting your own web presence, let me know.  We have been helping small to medium size business for over 10 years and can definitly help you get started in your mission to expand your customer base and improve/increase CRM efficiently.

                                                    • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                      Daisyyy Newbie

                                                      Facebook and Twitter are great options. I have also used Constant Contact. You can get a free trial for 60 days in which you can customize an email flyer for up to 500 emails per month. After your trial it is only $15 a month. A great investment.

                                                      • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                        390Main Wayfarer

                                                        I’d start with Dan Kennedy’s simple 3-step marketing plan, Pat.

                                                        1. Define your Market. Clearly, everyone is not a prospect. Who is your target audience? Are they baseball card or football card collectors, or both? Where do they live? Where do you find them? (Are they all from Patchogue?) How much do they spend? And so on….


                                                        2. Create a Message. What makes your business special or unique? What’s your offer? How do you help your customers solve their problems? Demonstrate your expertise to earn trust and confidence. And so on….


                                                        3. Select your Media. What tools can you use to reach your Market (target audience) Newspaper ads? Fliers? Internet? Trade Shows? Card Directories? And so on….


                                                        One goal is to develop a contact list  of email and/or physical addresses. You've got a list of existing  customers. Get referrals from them. Reward them for helping.


                                                        Collect addresses at shows. Offer a downloadable free report on your website in exchange for an email address.


                                                        Because you’ve got a niche business, my guess is that most of your customers are from outside Patchogue. Success may depend on how far collectors are willing to travel to get to your store.


                                                        You might consider an online store. I checked the Google Keyword Tool and found that there are 2900 searches per month on the phrase “sports trading cards.” Another 5400 per month search the phrase, “sport trading cards.”


                                                        Look into Ebay. Yahoo! has an ecommerce solution. You might also investigate BigCommerce and Volusion. Each of these services has built-in infrastructure. You simply upload details about your products and the templates handle the rest. They’ll even help your online store get found in the search engines.


                                                        This is a start. I hope it helps.




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                                                        • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                          kingwholesales1 Wayfarer

                                                          Diversify your product line up. Expand into other areas surrounding your sports card theam. Start carrying autographed sports item.jerseys,gloves,bats, etc..... get the word out that you got some of the most famous autographed sports memorabilia.  If your looking to get your hands on autographed items go to ebay and buy from there. The trick is to get peoplebin the door. Have a drawing for some famous autographed item. Only they have to buy a certain dollar amount in order to be able to enter the drawing. Start selling sporting gear. There is so much you can do to get sales up and folks walking through the door. If you want I can hook you up with a few company's I buy wholesale from that carry collegiate items. That is another area that is hot as well. Let me know if there is anything I can do to get you with the right licensed dealers of collegiate items.

                                                          • HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                            dame1dame Newbie

                                                            Hi i read a few replys and my thing is promoting what you are selling. Like telling your customers the reasons they should buy sell and trade with you. Example the larry bird card is worth x amount now and the value is increasing by year. Or lebron in cavaliers jersey will be worth more than the newies jordan in five years. Make them want to buy from you .Get them into buying your product by going to lil league games etc with your raffles giveaways etc. good luck

                                                            • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?
                                                              ComcstSpotlight Newbie

                                                              We may be a bit biased here, but wanted to share some information Nielsen that might help the group. TV remains the dominant source for entertainment and information for many of your customers. On a local level, you can easily target your customers by the networks they watch and provide revelant content to attract them to your business. See the Nielsen report here:


                                                              If you're interested in learning more about local advertising tips/tricks and trends, visit our blog: -


                                                              More specifically, we have a post from our "How to Reach" series, "How to Reach Sports Fans" that you might be particularly interested in:

                                                              • Re: HOW CAN I INCREASE MY CUSTOMER BASE?

                                                                The community has really come through here with some great responses! I have learned quite a bit myself just reading through this thread! Keep up the good work! I love it when a community comes together like this to help each other out!



                                                                • Re: How Can I Increase My Customer Base?
                                                                  smallbus01 Adventurer

                                                                  You have to do Social Media Marketing. It is to making pages in Social Media websites to promote your business. These websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube.etc will give your business so much popularity if done correctly. It can make or break your business so make sure if hire someone to help you with these that he really does know what he is doing. Or you study SEO and SMM yourself, there are online courses that you can take that can make an (almost) expert in just a few weeks. You really should increase in popularity more before doing store promotions and use these websites for it, you will get better results.