Increasing Your Sales
Business was good in 2016. You had a year of growth, and you’d like to continue the trend. So, how do you do that?
Start by mapping out a very intentional plan. Not sure what should be included in your plan? Well, here are 12 things that I’ve found to be invaluable to my business and those of my clients as well. Give a few (or all) a shot. You’ll know what’s right for you.
1. Update your marketing foundation.
For most, this means updating your website. Pretend like you’ve never been to your website before and start at the beginning. Better yet, have someone who has never been to your website go check it out. If you’d like a completely unbiased evaluation, then go to Peek to have a user test your website. You can have three tests performed per month. I suggest using all three of those immediately. Have one user test the desktop version of your site, and select for the other two to check out the mobile version.
Toward the end of 2016, Google announced its shift to a predominantly mobile-focused indexing process. This means that it’s more important than ever for your website to be mobile-friendly. Your website must give mobile users a great experience that is seamless. So, the information and images on your site must be mobile-friendly.
While you’re updating your website, take a look at your services and about pages. Are you still offering what’s listed on your services page? Does it focus on the things you want to be doing more of in 2017? This is important. Present what you really want to do first. Then look at your about page. Update any staff changes. Update the information about your business or yourself as needed.
Then, go look at your social media profiles. Make sure your bio information is current. Make sure the about section for your business is also current and accurate.
2. Attend a new networking meeting.
Plan to attend a new meeting monthly or quarterly. You can find the opportunities on Facebook, LinkedIn, or through Google or Meetup. Find a few and put them on your calendar. Make opportunities by meeting new people.
Remember that networking is about relationship-building. It will take multiple visits before you begin to see results from your efforts because it’s about building trust. It’s about putting your phone away, ignoring that email, and interacting. It isn’t a sales pitch.
3. Order new business cards.
I recently ordered new cards for my business. I took a more luxurious route than I had previously. And the results have been great. Instead of offering my card to individuals, people have been asking if they can have one. I would love to say that I anticipated such a great response and that’s why I ordered them, but I didn’t.
I chose a great designer who is very familiar with my brand and business, told her my budget, and then let her do what she does best—create. She supplied a fantastic design which we chose to put on translucent cards. Once I saw her design on the cards, then I supplied the message at the top, “Clarify your message.” And the result is great cards that I love handing out (see photo to the right). They reflect my business approach and message so well.
4. Refine how you talk about what you do.
Work on getting to the point. Try to answer the question what do you do in two sentences. And make sure those sentences are easily understood. I know that sounds so much easier than it is. But, follow these steps and it shouldn’t be too bad:
- Write down what you do.
- Write down how you do it.
- Now write down why you take the approach you do.
- Outline the biggest benefit of working with you that your customers experience.
I know that sounds like a lot and way more than two sentences. But if you can start there, then you can begin to distill it all down. For your first sentence, lead with the benefit you provide your customers
5. Step up your social media presence.
Instead of focusing on posting more and more and more, instead focus on engaging more. Seek out individuals and businesses that you already work with. Comment on their stuff. Share it. Like it. Every local business you’ve been to, seek them out. Like their page. Review their business. It’s great to connect with people and it’s so beneficial to you and your business to do so.
6. Create great content.
Create something your potential customer will find to be helpful. This post, for example, is something I know that several of my followers will find useful because it’s a topic that we’ve discussed. If you do create something they find useful and applicable to them, what you’ll discover is that they will always remember that.
7. Focus on your local audience.
2017 is going to be the year for Facebook advertising, if you’re advertising locally. I’m not a big fan of paid advertising. I prefer taking a long-term approach to creating a consistent flow of customers. But there are certain situations in which the cost of advertising is far outweighed by the potential return, and the advertising can help to increase the flow of customers on a long-term basis.
Advertising to a local audience on social media is one such situation.
Facebook’s advertising is only going to be effective if you are targeting the right customers, though. And that starts by focusing on your local audience. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, then try advertising. Set aside $60, and then give it a try. Run two ads at once. If you aren’t seeing results 24 hours later, then shut them off and try adjusting the audience or the ad. It’s kind of like running a science experiment, though, in that you should really only change one thing at a time and then give the ad time so you can see the result.
Beyond Facebook ads, think about how you can appeal to your local audience. People enjoy supporting local businesses. Give them a reason to support your business. Reach out to your area chamber of commerce. Get plugged in.
8. Create collaborative relationships.
Find those who have a business that complements yours. Figure out what you can do to help each other. Maybe that means guest-posting on one another’s blog, or advocating for one another on social media. It could mean hosting a joint-event, or it might mean rounding out what you offer your customers through a team approach. Whatever it is, find a way to make it work for both of you.
It’s a pretty powerful feeling when your efforts suddenly result in twice the reach because you have a partner in your efforts.
9. Look for opportunities to speak.
Public speaking isn’t for everyone. Keep in mind that you don’t need to start with a crowd of 200. Instead, start small. Find a local networking group (such as Better Together Networking, for example) that needs speakers and apply. Talk to your area chamber. Or, host your own workshop.
The benefits are worth it. You’ll:
- Reach a new audience
- Establish yourself as a guide in your industry
- Set the stage to attract more customers
10. Work on listening more.
Remember those extra networking meetings you’re going to attend? Practice listening to others while you’re there. Focus on the person you’re talking to, ask questions, and really listen to the answers. Listen to your customers, too. They’ll tell you so much about your target demographic because they are your target demographic.
Additionally, being a good listener sends the message that you aren’t all about you. Someone who listens attentively when you speak is more likely to be someone you’re going to trust. And trust is the foundation for any business relationship.
11. Create space in your life.
What does that even mean? It means take time off. Schedule a few days every quarter to take off completely. Then, do it! Take off. Shut your phone off. Do something fun with your kids. Focus 100 percent on being present and enjoying the moment.
The result will be more significant than you might imagine. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to dig in again. You’ll allow your brain some space, an absence of noise (internal noise, at least), in which to wander to other things and to create and put pieces together it otherwise might not have.
For me, I become my most creative when I’ve taken several days off. Unfortunately, the creative light bulb usually lights up at midnight on day five of my time off, wrecking my sleep until I’ve put on paper whatever is suddenly spinning around. But some of the very best stuff I’ve ever written for my business and for my clients was created after I returned from vacation.
If you’re not a creative person, then focus on the benefits to your productivity. You’ll be surprised how much more you can get done once you’ve been able to recharge properly.
12. Stick with what you’re good at.
When I first started out, I had a teeny-tiny budget to work with. As a result, I wore a lot of hats and did many things myself. Now, I have enough business and growth that I can hire experts to help me with certain tasks. The result is that I can focus on doing what I do best. These other tasks that you either aren’t very good at or don’t particularly enjoy will eat your time and energy. And the tasks that you know could be done better by a professional—surrendering those will create space in your life and business for bigger, better things.
I stick to focusing on my strengths. And by focusing on my strengths, I’m strengthening my business. I’m creating better content and strategies.
Make 2017 your year.
If you’re not sure where to start in your business, I can help you create a strategy to propel your business forward. Contact me today to schedule your consult.