In my 10 years of being in business I have noticed ONE thing that increases revenue. MARKETING! If you don’t tell people about what you do and how you can help them then they will never know. It doesn’t matter how good your service or product is it will not sell.
Each business or area of business will need to have its own way of marketing according to how specific the market niche is. The more specific your product or service the more focussed your marketing needs to be. If it has wide appeal then you can use much more powerful wide-ranging marketing.
For example, if you are running a hair salon you might do a poster in the window with a special offer or a local leaflet drop with a special offer. If you are producing something that everyone in the whole country or even the world might want then you will need to use the internet or national advertising such as TV or newspapers.
Here are 5 top tips for increasing revenue QUICKLY:
1. Do a special offer – rather than undercutting your profits too much think of ways you can add value – for example give away something that has a perceived value but very little cost to you (e.g. a free cup of coffee, a free report on your area of expertise, a free cake, a free consultation). Or give a discount voucher for the first time buyer. Do this fairly regularly but not so often that you seem desperate!
2. Always collect customer data so that you can keep in touch. Even if you are a bakery on the High Street you can collect names by offering a free cake or something of low value to you but high value to them, in exchange for their name, email and phone number. Prize draws are a good way of collecting names (the prize could be a product that you offer), so are taster sessions, or free coffee, etc. With customer information you can email them with special offers, events, news, information, or give out vouchers etc. Do not sell or share your list, customers do not like it (unless you ask their permission first)!
3. Work hard on keeping your ‘A’ list customers happy. You know, the ones that are loyal, always pay on time, use you regularly, are a pleasure to deal with etc. Give them even more to build that loyalty – better service, exclusive offers, customer loyalty schemes, Gold Membership, preferential treatment.
4. Get customer feedback as well as testimonials. Are you providing a good service/product? Is there anything you could be doing better? Is there anything else they would like you to offer? Ask for feedback and tweak what you are offering to increase revenue (obviously use your judgement before deciding what is sensible!). Testimonials can be used on promotional material to help sales and if they are good they give you a boost as well! Use a customer feedback form to collect their names and emails (works well in businesses such as bars and restaurants), or send a feedback form and stamped self-addressed envelope with the invoice or email a link to an online feedback form (e.g. Survey Monkey).
5. Always test and measure any marketing effort. Marketing can be costly in time and effort and if it doesn’t work don’t do it again – just because everyone else advertises in the newspaper, for example, it does not mean it works! Try different approaches, find out what works for others in the same line of business (again don’t assume that their marketing is necessarily working!). Be creative! – for example send a Tea Bag and invite them to make themselves a cup of tea whilst reading through your brochure! Before you start your marketing campaign measure the number of customers or sales you are getting and the value and from the date of your marketing campaign know how much those figures increase (or otherwise). Try one marketing type at a time so that you know exactly what is working. And always ask your customers where they heard of you from so you can properly measure the results.
One last word… if your marketing is not really working then seek professional advice.
And ask yourself: Are you selling something that people really WANT?!
Further reading for small businesses:
E-myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael Gerber
Business coaching is available from The Life You Choose for more information see www.thelifeyouchoose.net.