5 Ways to Grow Your Customer Base Organically During trying times, new customers can be your lifeline.

By Catherine Coley

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Feodora Chiosea | Getty Images

As we all sit at home doing our part to flatten the curve, there's a plethora of things we could work on. Watch the entire Star Wars saga. Take up knitting. Brush up on a foreign language. This goes both ways: Consumers are looking for new ways to be engaged from home and we, as business owners, are looking for ways to get in front of our existing audiences and to build new ones.

Related: Why Gratitude Is Your Key To Customer Growth and Retention

My company, a digital asset marketplace, is relatively new. Though we're always looking for ways we can get in front of as many users as possible, that's become even more important in recent weeks. In the last month alone, 82 percent increase in daily active users on our platform, with increased app downloads and social media engagement since quarantine began. Through trial and error, here's what has worked for us so far and how it's contributed to our growth:

1. Listening to existing users and customers

There's a saying: Build on what you already have. Talk to the people who use your product and ask them what they like, what they don't like and what could be better. Take user feedback seriously and incorporate it into our product roadmap planning. Outside your staff, your long-term users and customers are experts on your product experience. For example, my company set up a Telegram channel for our community to give real-time feedback on new development and features.

2. Going where our evangelists are

We recognize every customer is different in the cryptocurrency space, from crypto-curious to crypto-experts, and like many businesses with a variety of target audiences, we want to grow our audience in every way. The experts in any industry — be it developers in tech or oenophiles in the beverage industry — are very important to the growth of your business, because they can evangelize your product for you. For that reason, it's important to work with them to get new users onboard.

Related: 7 Key Steps to a Growth Strategy That Works Immediately

In my case, the crypto community is massive on Twitter, and as such, our business and my personal account are very involved there, connecting with the most active users. By personally engaging with crypto-enthusiasts on Twitter, I continue to show people in my industry that I'm real and want to be a part of their world. The goal is that these leaders in my space will try our product and share feedback with their followers.

Beyond just knowing your audience, it's important to recognize the type of content they consume. I realized how popular vlogging was on Twitter, and decided to adapt accordingly. My day-in-the-life vlog had the most engagement out of all of my other tweets… shout out to the 55,000 viewers who followed along!

3. Empowering our users

If someone is excited by a product, they share it. Referral bonuses work. Consider offering a referral program or incentive to have your existing users spread the news of your product to their network. While offering incentives, you can kill two birds with one stone: You're keeping your existing user base happy and inviting an entirely new set of users to the community.

4. Finding new audiences

Entrepreneurs are many things, but conventional is not one of them. What makes us different is that we are not afraid of the unconventional. That means we have to get creative to find our new fans. Don't assume that new users will just come looking for you — seek them out! Yes, there is the audience that knows you and loves you, but where is the audience that you think could really benefit from your product? For instance, my company is aiming for financial freedom, and we know more unbanked and underbanked people could use our product. So how do we find them? This is the fun part: We have gone out to new places, ranging from college campuses to financial freedom seminars to participating in dance-offs during NBA games.

5. Educating, not intimidating

Not everyone is going to understand what you do or why you do it. It's up to you to come up with ways to humbly share your product. Part of the reason I started a business is that I believe everyone should be given the opportunity to trade, hold and enjoy the benefits of digital asset trading. Crypto is an intimidating concept for a majority of consumers, so educating them on its use cases helps us both: They get to understand a new type of finance and we get to educate a potential new user. The same applies to other industries. We're not all experts, and we shouldn't be expected to be.

Related: Want to Drive Growth? Improve Customer Support.

As we all know, the first step to building your business is to start somewhere. Find a niche and begin where you feel comfortable. The same goes for building your audience and your users. Think of your audiences as branches of the same tree: How do you grow longer branches? You don't want one long branch — you want as many as the tree can handle, and they should be diverse and varied across a customer base. That way, you aren't relying on one type of customer forever.

Building an audience does not always mean cost-intensive marketing, many times it means starting from a humble beginning in a new vertical of the world. I never expected to be vlogging or dancing at NBA games, but I've realized that steps outside of our "bread and butter' clients can be rewarding, or at least a good story. I encourage you to try something new and reach out to me on Twitter. Perhaps our audiences can meet and learn from one another.

Related: How to Increase Customer Lifetime Value And Boost Profits

Catherine Coley

CEO of Binance.US

Catherine Coley is the CEO of Binance.US. Previously, Coley was Head of XRP Institutional Liquidity at Ripple. Pre-crypto, Coley served as a foreign exchange and treasury management advisor after five years on trading floors as a foreign exchange associate at Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong and London.

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