By Coach Sonja Shear
We go into business for various reasons, whether it’s realising a passion or creating a demand for something we have invented or filling a gap in the market. In the end, most of us also want to make money and create a sustainable business.
Firstly, let me define what I mean when referring to a sustainable business: a profitable, commercially viable enterprise that will grow and succeed into the future.
We should consider many factors when working on our model for a sustainable business, but in this article, I want to focus on how we generate revenue or what some refer to as sales or turnover.
Assuming you have already started trading and are now looking for ways to increase your revenue, you need to find ways of reaching a broader audience with your product or service offerings – and it would help increase turnover if you get your existing customers to buy more.
Here are a few tips on how you can do this.
Grow your customer base
Define your primary target market; this is the lowest hanging fruit and the people who would most want to buy from you. These customers either need or want your products or are already using them, whether they are getting them from you or from your competitors. To get this market to buy from you, you need to make sure you reach them and speak their language. I am not talking about one of the eleven official languages. I mean making sure that your messages fill a need or want and show them the benefit of buying from you.
The best way to do this is to determine your ideal customer and create a marketing avatar or persona. Look at what challenges they face and define how your product will help them overcome them. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer. A mom taking her kids to school may find it challenging to fit everything into her morning schedule. If your product can help her overcome this challenge, you will reach out and start targeting her. As part of this process, you will need to select a suitable medium to communicate with her. Do you think she is on social media in the morning while rushing around with the kids? Your marketing message needs to speak to her and tell her why you have what she needs. Use language, terms and situations that she can relate to.
To get new customers, you need to fill your sales funnel constantly. Your marketing efforts should focus on growing your brand and getting people to react and want your products or services. The more leads you get into your business, the greater your chances of getting more customers.
Increase your conversion rate
Remember, in most cases; not all leads will convert to customers. Therefore, it is essential to track your conversion rate and look at ways of increasing it. To do this, you need to understand why your leads are not converting. Do they not trust your brand? Do they know the benefits of buying from you? Why are they in the funnel as a potential client but falling out of the system and not buying? It would help if you found this out by asking them why they are not buying.
Review your pricing strategy
I do not mean that you need to lower your price. You need to be sure that your pricing matches your offering. Price resistance from customers often comes from customers not understanding the value of what you are selling to them. Why will someone pay more for your product when they can get it cheaper from your competitor? This is when your unique selling proposition becomes so essential. Define an easy to understand differentiator. Is it better sales or after-sales services you are offering? Do you have a better guarantee? Do you have a reliable sales team?
Bundle or add to your product
Look at new ways of selling your product, consider bundling products together, or adding value to increase sales. I do not believe in giving products away. Have you ever got a free McDonald’s burger? No, you get the free toy! Bundling your products is a great way to upsell. Go through your product range and determine what product your customers may not need but could want.
Get repeat business
Once you have a customer, you need to hold onto them and get them to buy more. Start a loyalty programme for repeat customers or offer a reward for referrals. Start a monthly mailer and add them to your mailing list (in line with POPI requirements) to inform them about your offerings and share information about other products they may want. Use a CRM system to help you with this.
Approach former customers
If you have customers who have bought from you in the past but are no longer buying from you, approach them again. If you do not know why they stopped buying from you, ask them why then find out how you can win them back. Here I want to caution you not to use a price drop to win as part of your strategy; find something more sustainable.
Get customer feedback
Next, it is vital to get insight from your existing customer base. Listen to their feedback. Ask them what you are doing right and what areas you could improve on. Not only will this feedback assist you in improving your business. Your customers will feel valued, and you can find ways of growing your business organically. Are there new products or services you can start introducing into your business?
Use the 10km radius marketing method
Make a list of all the potential customers within a 10km radius of your business. How many of these potential customers are buying from you? Once you have capped this market, expand by moving another 10km out.
You need to plan your revenue growth by aligning your sales and market efforts. You also need to stay on top of, and understand, all the critical financial indicators in your business. The few tips mentioned above will assist in driving growth in your revenue and lead to you building a more sustainable business.
Sonja Shear is a seasoned business leader and executive coach. Sonja has pioneered business growth in the companies she’s worked with, both local and international organisations. Her level of experience spans every business area – from operations and sales to marketing and finance.
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