With JobKeeper and stimulus packages slowing down we wanted to create a business bounce back series that focuses on ways to build your business in new world. Growing your business means more cash for you now plus a higher sale price in the future when you decide to eventually sell your business. Over the coming months, we plan to send out to you 4 articles full of ideas to help you grow your business.
The 4 key areas are:
1. Increase your customers
2. Find new markets – with existing products or services
3. Develop new products or services – to open new markets
4. Improve profit
Here’s the first area: how to increase your customers – in 2 key ways.
Focus on existing customers.
Target your best customers with offers.
Identify the customers who generate the most profit for your business or who have the most potential for additional sales. Actively engage with these customers to gain more sales. Find out how you can utilise the 80/20 rule in business.
Research what else you can sell.
Conduct online surveys or ask customers directly to discover what other products or services they might be interested in. For example, if you own a convenience store, ask staff to informally question customers at your checkout and to take note of what else they would like to be able to buy. Add some of these suggestions to your product or service line. Simple tools like Typeform or SurveyMonkey can help you capture this data.
Investigate creating a customer loyalty scheme.
Building a loyalty system with points or loyalty cards is a great way to encourage more frequent purchases and track your customers’ buying habits with the data you collect. For example, if you run a massage clinic, keep a record of your customers so each time they visit they can gather credit towards ten minutes extra. This can also help identify sales opportunities.
Create a customer database to target offers.
Collecting customer emails enables you to contact them with special offers, new items or useful information (but make sure you follow the anti-spam opt in guidelines) Applications like Mailchimp make it really easy to send targeted emails so you can learn what you clients like and then you can start to create campaigns that feel like conversations.
Train staff on ways to improve sales conversions.
Ensure your business has friendly, helpful staff that are well trained to take advantage of converting enquiries into sales. Run in-house sales sessions or employ a sales consultant.
Offer incentives for your staff to sell more.
Help your staff on-sell to existing customers by offering incentives. For example, if you operated an adventure tourism business with multiple activities you could offer bonuses for selling certain products or increasing the average sale.
Build a community through social media.
Start a Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter campaign (whichever is most relevant to your business) and talk about your business and its customers to increase the profile of your business and encourage additional purchases.
Identify any cross sell opportunities.
List the products or services your customers have previously bought and then match complementary items that you could sell to them. Contact them with offers. Always encourage customers to consider buying a higher net margin product or service.
Review your business plan.
Go over your business plan to evaluate and update anything that’s recently changed. Check you’re still on track for your growth goals and make any necessary adjustments.
Find new customers (within the current market).
Use direct marketing that gets results.
Measure the response rates to each area of your direct marketing campaign, whether it be email advertising, direct mail, or online click-throughs. Invest more of your marketing budget into what gets results. For example, if you’re an electrician, consider doing a mail drop in your local area, advertising your services.
Find ways to generate word of mouth.
Build up positive word of mouth referrals by getting testimonials from customers, encouraging regulars to refer their friends or family to your business, speaking at events, and networking inside chambers or business associations. For example, if you own a travel agency that offers escorted tours to Europe, get feedback from your customers and ask to use some of their quotes on your website.
Create exclusive offers.
Create an introductory offer for new customers only. Sacrifice your regular profits to gain loyal customers that will buy again on a regular basis.
Increase your profile through online directories.
To increase your online presence, list your business on the most popular online directories. When checking out directories first ask yourself, is this a reputable site? Put another way: if a customer saw you on this site, would they view your business as more – or less – legitimate? Secondly, ask yourself ‘is my target audience likely to visit this site?’ If not, it’s probably not worth listing your business. Alternatively, use these resources to uncover potential new customers (especially through industry directories).
Increase web traffic by improving your search engine optimisation (SEO).
SEO will help increase your website’s traffic leading to a growth in your customer base. Spend some time determining your site’s keywords and keyword phrases so it attracts the right traffic for your business. This might be an area where it is worth hiring a professional.
Purchase search keywords to improve your online exposure.
Consider paying for search engine marketing (SEM) so that when customers search for your business products your web address is more likely to come up than others. For example, if you’re a Lawyer catering to small businesses, you might find there’s a lot of competition so think about paying for an ad that appears on the first search page.
Use Instagram to display your business.
Instagram allows you to visually tell the story of your business and its offerings through images. When potential customers like your product or service images (which can be linked to your other social media accounts), you might get an avalanche of views.
Create regular blogs.
Keep your content fresh and updated by writing regular blogs (informal content posted online in a chronological order) about your business, your people, and successful case studies. Regular blog content can be important for increasing your SEO and driving traffic to your website.
Run demonstrations or workshops to educate clients.
Run demonstrations, workshops or events to showcase your business to existing or new customers. For example, if you’re a martial arts instructor going it alone, create a series of workshops to show potential clients the skills and benefits of learning through you.
Network by joining business associations.
Networking with like-minded business individuals is crucial to managing the right business contacts in your industry. There are still many virtual networks that you can join, even if we can’t meet at live events.
Create a targeted marketing plan.
Outline a specific marketing strategy that’s aimed at new customer segments. Then develop a precise advertising plan to build awareness and encourage purchases.
Why not book in for a 30 minute meeting with one of our expert accountants and business advisors to brainstorm the above ideas and create a tailored action plan to help you increase your customers – leading to more profits for you and increasing the value of your business.