Like the old adage says, “If your small business isn’t growing, it’s shrinking.” So we’ve put together a list of five ways to help you review your marketing goals, and make plans for growth in 2013.
1) Review your product offerings. If you have the time, analyze your sales figures from the last 12 to 18 months and figure out which business products or services are your best. You don’t have to be all things to all people. Next, look at adding complementary products or services to the mix and focusing more on your most successful products or services. If you sell leather goods, try adding waterproofing or leather conditioning products to help add a little extra in sales.
2) Sell online. According to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales grew to $200 billion in 2011. The same study also predicted online sales would continue to grow from 7% of overall retail sales to nearly 9% by 2016.1 If you haven’t added e-commerce to your website, now might be the time to consider it. The Internet has made it easy to reach retail customers around the world—without opening a traditional retail store. Thanks to third-party processing companies such as PayPal, small businesses can accept credit card payments online without expensive shopping cart programs.
3) Offer coupons. NCH Marketing’s annual consumer survey claims 80.6% of consumers reported using coupons regularly. They also found that more than a third of respondents said they used more coupons in 2011 than during the prior year. 2 And while traditional print coupons still dominate 3 to 1, the use of digital coupons has been growing. In fact, Experian Simmons reports that 22% of all U.S. adults say their household uses digital coupons obtained from email or the Internet. 3 That’s why companies such as Dex Media have added the ability for businesses to offer customers digital coupons right in their online directory listings. Try testing a coupon and see if it doesn’t move your business’s needle.
4) Loyalty programs. Everyone from airlines to coffee shops has loyalty programs these days. Customers love getting rewarded for making repeat purchases. A loyalty program can be a punch card method, or giving customers money back when they buy more. When done properly, loyalty programs can improve customer retention, enhance brand loyalty, encourage repeat business and increase sales per customer.
5) Automate forms. Make it easier to communicate with your customers by adding forms to your website. Forms can help streamline customer inquiries, registrations, event RSVPs and more. Make it easy for customers to subscribe to your e-newsletter, mailing list or contact you by adding a simple form box on your homepage. It will also help you gather leads generated from your website. You’ll save time and communicate your brand to customers when you give your customers options like forms.
Keep on growing. Online tools like digital coupons and forms can help you grow in 2013. Businesses can grow when some new strategies are tested and it doesn’t take major capital investments or improvements. It just takes a little foresight and some smart planning.
1 – Source: Forrester US Online Retail Forecast, 2011 to 2016 (2012); 2 – Source: NCH Marketing, Annual Coupon Report (2012); 3 – Source: Experian US Household Consumer Trend and Benchmark Report (2010)