Opening a business, as exhausting as it may be, can still be easier than making money from it. Running a successful business takes planning, flexibility and art work. But you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are many simple ideas, such as improving customer service or using business greeting cards, that you can invest in now to help your company succeed. Here are 10 tips for beating your competition.
Focus on Solutions, Not Products
Not every business has a sought-after product, such as the iPhone, which means people aren’t looking for you, specifically. They’re looking for solutions, so your marketing should concentrate on how you help consumers. Solutions are what drive sales. In plain, simple language, tell people how your product or service can help solve a problem or benefit them in some way.
Brush Up on Customer Service
Consumers remember companies that have great customer service, and they remember those with awful service, too. They’ll buy again from the first company, but not the second. Ensuring your customers are happy is the best advertising that you can’t buy. It strengthens your brand and builds customer loyalty. It’s also much less expensive to keep a customer than it is to find new ones.
Make it Personal
The personal touch goes hand-in-hand with great customer service. If you want customers to remember you, remember them, too. Reach out with business greeting cards to neighbors when you first open your doors. Send customers birthday and holiday greetings. In an age when most send texts and links to a sale or Facebook page, you can stand out by sending a card.
Post Your Number
Many companies opt for a FAQ page on their website as an attempt at customer service. The problem is, not every customer can find the answer they need, and not everyone wants to hunt for that answer. Post your phone number in a visible place so people can contact you. It gives you the chance to make a personal connection, the first step in making a sale. Another option is using a “live chat” bot to offer real-time service.
Create Leads, Not Sales
The end goal for any business is making sales, but the way you get there is by creating leads. Content marketing gives you another chance to propose solutions, which is what people are after. By giving valuable content to prospective customers for free, you’re building trust. Once you’ve established yourself as a trusted expert, your leads can be turned into sales.
Optimized pricing means thinking about how you set prices. If you compete dollar for dollar against other stores, look at cutting prices as a way of gaining customers, not making less in sales. A customer who buys once may buy again and buy other items as well. If you are at the other end of the scale and have an established premium brand, consider adding benefits or services instead of lowering prices to give consumers more for their money.
Give it Away
No matter what your industry, everyone loves freebies. Give customers a reason to return by including a coupon or voucher with each sale that they can redeem on another trip. You get them back in the store, where they have the opportunity to buy additional products. Set a shopping period for the voucher redemption that aligns with a sale period for added attraction.
Tap Into Social Media
Let some of your business personality show through thoughtful use of social media. Don’t overdo the sales pitch, just keep it “social” by offering interesting, fun or thoughtful information. The goal is to build your relationship with customers, but be careful not to post risky content, which can backfire.
Invest in Your Community
Local stores should consider sponsoring a Little League team, band or event that fits your company vision. Offer discounts to friends and family of the team members, as well as audience members. You generate brand goodwill and gain new customers who are typically loyal to these sponsors.
Always Be Learning
Times and technologies are always changing, so being flexible and learning new ways to do things will only benefit you in the long run. Look at what your competition is doing, and doing well; consider doing the same. Seek out seminars, books and other business people to learn from them. Never be satisfied with the status quo and always seek to improve.
Get started getting to know your customers with help from Cards for Causes. We have a great selection of business greeting cards to help you make a good impression on potential customers.