This the fourth blog in our Be It Resolved series on starting the year right. (If you missed it, check out our other posts in this series on Setting SMART Goals, Starting a New Business, and Getting Paid.)
January is a natural time of year to step back, review business performance, and strategize ways to make growth. Now it’s time to turn all those business goals and New Year’s resolutions into reality with a plan. One of the most common goals of all businesses is to improve the bottom line, either by cutting costs or increasing sales. Here are a few ideas to get more people through the door and turn that foot traffic into sales.
1. Get the Word Out
There are many ways to get the word out about your business—social media, email, even a good old-fashioned sidewalk hawker. One often overlooked method is to reach out to reviewers, local listing services, bloggers, and other community resources. Getting mentioned or reviewed in these arenas can really help spread the word locally about your business. If you’re a restaurant or eatery, ask customers to review you on Yelp, Google Business, and other review sites. If you’re a local store, consider whether there’s a news angle that might interest local reporters. For example, letting local artists exhibit on the walls, a night when local bands can play, or you only use locally-sourced products. Contact the local Chamber of Commerce, Town Hall, and library to see if there are places you can advertise or post flyers for free.
2. Solve a Problem
If you’re in a business district it’s a no-brainer to advertise catering services for meetings, discounts for employees, or small “Thank You” gifts for employees who did a good job. Business districts also have a natural flow of traffic, before and after work, and during lunch. Brainstorm ways to capitalize on this traffic by offering pre-commute specials starting at 4:30, lunch specials, or ways to pre-order and pre-pay so they don’t have to stand in line. Solving problems for customers, like how to squeeze in lunch or get home faster, inspires customer loyalty and regular business.
3. Reach the Hard-to-Reach
Sometimes expanding your customer base is as simple as offering delivery services. Market delivery options to assisted-living and senior centers, or target working parents by leaving marketing materials in local daycare centers. These customers are likely to appreciate the convenience of delivery and are often willing to pay a premium for it. Tourists and other travelers are another market for delivery services. Hotels and resorts typically offer information on local businesses as a service to their guests. Ask hotel managers whether they would include your menu of services, either in the rooms or at the front desk. You can use Zuppler Online Ordering to accomplish these tasks and more with direct integration into your Clover system.
4. Start an Email List.
You don’t have to offer discounts and coupons to establish an email list. Consider instead offering compelling content that people will gladly exchange their email for. Every business has unique knowledge they can share. Dry cleaning services can, for example, offer tips on caring for delicate fabrics. Retail stores can offer tips on choosing products, style guides on choosing clothes to flatter your shape, or ideas for choosing the perfect gift.
Once you have an email list, use automated email marketing services, like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact, to send out birthday promotions and other personalized messages. Marketing works best when the messages are personalized and relevant to the customer. By integrating purchases and customer information with your automated marketing system, you can send targeted special promotions like inviting your biggest spenders to exclusive sales. Apps, such as Abreeze Link for Constant Contact or Mailchimp, connect your systems seamlessly and make personalized marketing easy.
5. Take Advantage of Free Resources
The local Chamber of Commerce, state government websites, and libraries often have free resources for small businesses. Vendors you work with, like banks and insurance companies, will likely also have free information. The Clover blog, for example, is a great source of ideas to bring your business to the next level. Even better, The Clover App Market is like having your own team of experts to make your business more successful. Whether you’re looking to implement a loyalty program, offer an online waiting list, or simplify social media promotions we have apps to get the job done.[image: Devine Hair by Living in Monrovia on flickr]