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Reignite your Business with some easy growth initiatives

By Anne-Marie Watson
Published Nov 15, 2011

Although we love to find something to blame, it isn't always a recession that makes a business go south. Sometimes we just don't have the right basic strategy. Sometimes though there are other reasons why business growth has become noticeably slower – perhaps there are just further growth initiatives required to meet the changing needs of customers or to take advantage of market trends.

Sometimes too, there are possibilities right in front of us that we just haven't seen yet. Take a look at your business to see if there are any obvious potential opportunities you may be missing out on with these starting points:.

 

1. Increase usage from existing customers

This is one of the simplest and easiest strategies to implement for small businesses to drive growth because it doesn't involve gaining new customers which can cost extra, and take longer. Your current customers are the best option for new growth that can be often be gained quickly because you have already achieved brand awareness and established credibility with them.

  • Tell your existing customers about all your products and services
    • All too commonly, existing customers will know about one of your products or services and not be familiar with others. Sometimes just a reminder about what else you can do for them can produce new business for very little effort.
    • If you have done this already a while ago, perhaps it's worth another reminder. An email or direct mail is a quick way to get this done. If you have some promotional material on your range of products or services try to distribute it every time you make a sale with a customer.
  • Increase the volume used by customers on each occasion

You can do this by a number of methods, some of which might include:

o Selling larger product packs – e.g. 150mL versus 100mL

o Offer bigger or longer services – e.g. a comprehensive car service that includes other checks and maintenance versus a basic car service

o Up-selling or cross selling – this is something many businesses already do well including McDonalds who helped become so well known through their standard sales up-sizing question ‘would you like fries with that?' e.g.

· Hairdressers who offer a 'treatment' when washing clients' hair. Treatments will add extra sales and higher profit than just a haircut

· Pharmacies which dispense prescription products (prescribed by a doctor) and then up-sell OTC products that help provide complementary symptom relief

· Mechanics that offer pink slip (pre-registration checks) when doing services

• Increase the number of usage occasions by your customers

You can do this by encouraging purchase through loyalty programs or frequent buyer discounts e.g.

· Coffee shops that offer frequent user cards that provide 1 free coffee after 10 purchases or similar.

· Movie companies that offer lower ticket prices by buying 10 movie passes in one go.

· Insurance companies who offer an overall discount for buying more than one insurance product from them.

• Add new products and services for your existing customers to buy

It is best to add on complementary products or services. This means adding on something that fits well into your current image and customer perceptions of your business. It is a good idea because it means less cost for your business (as it's an area you shouldn't have to learn too many new skills to do) and a higher likelihood your customers would trial it (because they would find it understandable your business now offers this new addition).

· To help get customer interest peeking on your new product, why not provide free samples or a discounted offer to get some customer experiences under your belt. For a service, it may be a free 1 hour consultation etc.

· Use any positive customer comments as a promotional opportunity to tell other customers why they should try your new product. Social media platforms such as Facebook can be very helpful for using this approach.

• Try asking your existing customers what products or services they would like your business to offer!

· Through a quick survey done online, by mail or by phone, you can ask customers if there's something they would like or could suggest for a new product idea.

· Try giving some sort of fun and meaningful incentive to help but most importantly, get their involvement. Providing them a chance to be involved with your business can build a much closer bond and real interaction with your brand.

2. Get sales from new customers

 Getting new customers can sometimes be hard work. However, one of the easiest methods is to get your current customer base to be your sales people. Who better to give potential new customers, convincing reasons about why to buy your products or services?

You can help recruit your current customers into becoming willing salespeople through the following:

· Offer an incentive such as a discount that applies for every new customer they recruit.

· Offer a special deal that includes both the existing customer and their friend for gaining both their business.

· Use viral marketing tactics such as emails and social media that can be easily passed on to a wider audience through sharing.

· Use something humorous or has ‘cut-through' that is suitable for this type of communication format.

These are just a few simple ideas that may inspire you to rethink what opportunities may be waiting for you right under your nose, and that could kick-start your growth quickly and easily.

© Copyright 2011 - Southside Marketing Solutions

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