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How to grow and retain your customer list

DATE: 14/03/23

AUTHOR: Fiona Kennedy

No matter the product or service you are selling, the success of your brand is only as good as the customers you have. Past, present and future. Finding and retaining customers is key to the growth of any business. Understanding who your target customer is so that you can better attract them is fundamental. Customer lists should always be ever evolving, some customers may stay with you for years, others may be one off purchasers or users. The longevity of your relationship will depend on your product, your customer service and the outside factors that may impact decision making.

What is important about a customer list?

When it comes to building your customer list, it’s clear that a larger list leads to a broader customer base and ultimately higher sales. Increased sales in turn lead to increased recurring revenue and as a result, your business will have a strong sales history to build on. As your customer list grows it opens up new possibilities for your brand and product to attract new clients, carve off new target areas and increase profits. Over time, investing in growing your customer list will allow you to develop invaluable connections, a reliable client base and the security to scale your business.

It’s easy to see why prioritising your customer list is important, but it’s often easier said than done. Many small businesses struggle to fill their customer funnel and feel unsure about how to retain the customers they have already. Retaining current customers is just as important as growing your customer list. Both should be equally prioritised. There’s no point filling your customer funnel as current customers fall away.

How to build your customer mailing lists

Use social media

If you’re working with a small budget, social media is an excellent place to start building up your brand presence and encouraging increased engagement and customer sign-up. Consider your product or service and the audience you’re hoping to connect with. Choose the social media platform that most overlaps with both. For example, if it’s the younger generation, building your brand content on TikTok makes the most sense. If on the other hand, you’re hoping to speak to the over 30s, target Twitter based content. Each platform has its own audience and best shared content so develop a strategy around what messages you have and which audience they need to get to. As you build your social media following you may consider investing some budget into boosted posts and other digital marketing to help improve your customer sign-up, click through engagement and ultimately your sales.


It’s challenging to be a small start-up company in particular when it comes to growing your customer base. Consider collaborating or partnering with another company that mirrors your brand principles or whose product or services complement yours. Perhaps you can offer a joint experience or service and harvest each other’s customer base? Or maybe you’ll consider creating something unique together that opens up additional target markets to you. Essentially doubling your customer base on an opt-in basis is a great way to broaden your reach and to learn from each other and your customers.

Use strategic marketing

As you grow your brand, you may wish to share new product launches or press updates with your clients. Develop beautiful email marketing campaigns and share them via your current mailing list with the hope of reshares and reposts to broaden your reach, while keeping connected to your suppliers. Your business contacts as well as your customers will increase the opportunity for your information to be shared with a wider audience.

Collect where possible

Information is available in many different places. Don’t think of website sign-ups as the only point of collection for new customer data. If you’re selling to or meeting clients directly, ask to take their information at the cash desk or during your service exchange. When you arrange a corporate event or product launch, make sure to take the registration details of every attendee as part of their invitation. If you run a competition or added value, retain the relevant information from each applicant and integrate it into your customer data. Provided data is legally and openly requested and registered, there are many places where it can be exchanged.

Offer added value

Selling just your product or service is not where real customer service starts and ends. Businesses that are growing their customer base, building their brands and taking over market share offer more than a simple product. They offer exceptional customer service, they listen to their customers and they offer added value to them. That added value might come in the form of instructional videos, it might come in the form of loyalty discounts or thought leadership on a particular topic. It might also come in the form of rewards or competition opportunities as well as early access to sales. There are many ways in which we can reward our current customers which in turn will encourage new customers to join the ranks.

Rethink your website

Don’t get lazy about your website. Return to your online information every 6 months to review each page, check every link and call to action and reconsider whether your user experience continues to work optimally. Over time you may consider updating your calls to action, you may wish to profile a product differently or to promote something that is particularly timely. Makes sure your website is always accurate and up to date to encourage online signs ups and ‘Contact us’ engagement.


Talk to the customers you have. Ask for their feedback and for better or worse, take it on board. Your customers are your most valuable commodity so when it comes to finding more, they’re the best place to start. Find out how they reached you, would they recommend you, what could you do to improve, where they think you should market your product and anything useful to you as you grow. It’s possible that your customers will ultimately become your referrers or brand ambassadors so treating them as partners from the outset is a great way to create solid relationships going forward.

As you focus on the growth of your customer lists, make sure you equally prioritise the retention of your existing customers. Review your customer service practices, communicate regularly with your customers and make sure to receive and act on their feedback. Happy customers naturally lead to growth in future customers which is a win every business should be looking for.



Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.