Small Steps to Big Growth
Welcome to our guide on how to increase revenue for your local business in Coffs Harbour & the coast. As a local business owner, you know it's important to constantly evaluate revenue streams to ensure that your business is running as efficiently as possible. With rising costs and competition, it's crucial to find ways to boost your profits and keep and grow your customer base.
In this guide, we will explore three strategies for increasing your revenue, including ways to re-engage your local customers and attract new customers where ever they are. By implementing these strategies, you can position your Coffs Harbour business for success and growth in the year ahead.
Always have a growth marketing plan
Having a growth plan is essential for any local business that wants to succeed and thrive in the long run. A growth plan provides a clear roadmap for where you want to take your business and how you plan to get there. It helps you to set goals and priorities, allocate resources, and make informed decisions that align with your business objectives.
Without a growth plan, it's easy to get lost in the day-to-day tasks and lose sight of the big picture. Life's busy, even here on the beautiful Coffs Coast. A growth plan gives you focus and direction and helps you to stay on track towards achieving your business goals. It also helps you to anticipate potential challenges and opportunities and plan for them accordingly.
Ultimately, a growth plan helps you focus on growth and gain momentum by building one step at a time.
Start with customer service
Improving customer service is another effective way to increase your profit in the new financial year. Coffs is known for it's friendly customer service. It's not unusual to hear the words too easy in a cafe or business that's helping a customer,
We know that we can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, which can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals. Social media amplifies this effect as people are likely to review you and share their experiences online. These reviews lead to more customers and your business grows?
What does good customer service mean?
Doing what you say you will is at the core of good customer service. When you make a promise to your customers, it's important to follow through on that promise. This builds trust and credibility with your customers and helps to establish a positive reputation for your business. Failing to deliver on your promises can lead to disappointment, frustration, and even loss of business.
By setting realistic expectations and then meeting or exceeding those expectations, you can create a positive customer experience that leads to repeat business and referrals. Ultimately, doing what you say you will is a simple but powerful way to build strong relationships with your customers and foster long-term loyalty.
How do you make sure your team deliver great customer service?
Training your staff to do what they say they will is essential for creating a culture of accountability and reliability in your business. Here are some steps to consider:
Set clear expectations:
Make sure your staff understands the importance of doing what they say they will and how it contributes to the overall success of the business. Make sure they are clear on the business' normal response times and that they can refer to this when dealing with customers.
Provide resources and support:
Give your staff the tools and resources they need to fulfil their promises. One example could be to create a place on your intranet where customer promises can be recorded. If you don't have an intranet check out Notion, it's a low-cost business tool that can improve communication between your team. If this isn't for you maybe you could use a customer promise book that everyone checks at the start of their shift to see what needs to be done.
Lead by example:
As the business owner, it's important to model the behaviour you want to see in your staff. Make sure you are setting a good example by following through on your own promises and commitments.
Regularly check in with your staff to provide feedback and recognise when they are doing a good job. If there are areas where improvement is needed, provide constructive feedback and coaching to help them improve.
Foster a culture of accountability:
Encourage your staff to take ownership of their work and hold themselves accountable for their actions. This can be reinforced through regular team meetings, performance reviews, and other communication channels.
By taking these steps, you can help to create a team that is committed to doing what they say they will, and that is focused on delivering exceptional customer service.
Set benchmarks for in-store service.
Customers appreciate personalised service, and it can help differentiate your business from competitors. Address customers by their names and take the time to understand their specific needs and preferences. This can help you build a long-term relationship with your customers and encourage repeat business.
There is nothing quite like walking into your favourite coffee shop and having them know your order. It makes you feel valued and included. What is your business' version of this and how can you make sure your team always do this?
We like Supply in Coffs Harbour. What's your favourite.
Let your team know what service means to you.
This can be as simple as having a simple session on what you can be known for. It could be that everyone in the store is greeted within five minutes of entering. Maybe you can approach customers differently when you approach them.
The famous US department store Bloomingdale's greets their customers by saying,
"Hi, My name is Kylie and I will be looking after you today."
This creates a different impact to asking "How can I help you."
Often it can help to write down the things that you take care to do well and pass this on to your team so that your business retains your character.
Train your staff
Your staff is an essential part of your customer service team, so make sure that they are properly trained and equipped to handle customer inquiries or complaints. Provide ongoing training on customer service best practices, product knowledge, and problem-solving skills. This can help your staff feel more confident and empowered when dealing with customers, and it can improve the overall customer experience.
By implementing these simple strategies, you can improve your customer service and build a loyal customer base for your small business. Remember, happy customers, are more likely to refer your business to others and provide positive reviews, which can help attract new customers and grow your business over time.
Manage online inquiry with the same passion
One of the most critical aspects of customer service is responding quickly to customer inquiries or complaints. Make sure that you have a system in place to respond promptly to customer inquiries or concerns, whether it's through email, phone, or social media.
This can help you build trust and confidence with your customers and show that you value their business. This is particularly important on social media. Consider who is responsible for answering your messages and emails and giving them simple ways to respond to queries.
Create a plan for responding to different types of messages, such as inquiries, complaints, or feedback, including direct messages. This can help ensure that you are providing consistent and effective support to your customers.
Respond Promptly - Responding quickly to social media messages, including direct messages, is crucial to building trust and confidence with your customers. Try to respond within 24 hours to all messages, even if it's just to acknowledge receipt of the message.
Personalise Your Responses - Customers appreciate personalised responses, so take the time to address them by name and respond to their specific questions or concerns, including direct messages. This can help build a long-term relationship with your customers and encourage repeat business.
Make this someone’s responsibility - While automation can be a helpful tool to manage your social media messages, including direct messages, use it wisely. Make sure that you are not using automation for critical customer support issues and that you are still providing personalised responses when necessary. Allocate this task to a particular person and make sure you train them on how you want messages dealt with.
Build your business from existing customers
Building your business from your existing customers is a cost-effective and valuable strategy that can lead to increased revenue and profitability. Your existing customers already know your business, appreciate your products or services, and are more likely to make repeat purchases.
By focusing on building strong relationships with your existing customers, you can create a loyal customer base that not only returns to your business but also recommends it to others. In this way, building your business from existing customers is a smart investment that can provide long-term benefits and help to ensure the sustainability of your business.
Communicate with your customers by email
Email marketing can be a highly effective way to reach out to customers and promote your business. A warm email from a local business owner that includes friendly local staff updates, special customer offers and updates about new stock can be really valued in communities like the Coffs Coast, where people take pride in shopping local.
Some benefits of email marketing include:
Cost-effective: Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing, as it does not require a large budget or investment in advertising.
Targeted: With email marketing, you can segment your audience and send personalized messages to specific groups of customers based on their interests or behavior.
Measurable: Email marketing allows you to track the success of your campaigns through open rates, click-through rates, and other metrics, giving you valuable data to optimize your strategies.
High ROI: Because of its low cost and targeted approach, email marketing can generate a high return on investment compared to other forms of marketing.
Builds relationships: By regularly communicating with your customers through email, you can build stronger relationships and increase customer loyalty.
Increases brand awareness: Email marketing can help increase brand awareness by keeping your brand top of mind with customers and reinforcing your messaging.
Easy to create and share: There are many email marketing platforms available that make it easy to create professional-looking emails and share them with your audience.
An email marketing platform
Firstly, you need a reliable email marketing platform that allows you to create and send emails, manage your subscriber list, and track your email marketing performance. Popular options include Mailchimp, Active Campaign, and Campaign Monitor. These platforms have a range of features to help you create professional-looking emails, segment your audience, and automate your email campaigns. With a reliable platform in place, you can streamline your email marketing efforts and focus on creating engaging content.
Make sure new customers opt-in
You need a clear opt-in process that encourages subscribers to sign up for your emails. This can include adding a sign-up form to your website or offering incentives such as discounts or freebies in exchange for email sign-ups. Your opt-in form should be clear and prominent on your website, with a simple and compelling message that explains what subscribers can expect to receive from your emails. By making it easy and enticing for customers to sign up, you can grow your email list and reach a wider audience.
Have a communication plan
An email newsletter is an excellent way to stay in touch with your subscribers and keep them up-to-date on your business's latest news, products, and promotions. Some key components that you should include in your email newsletter are a personalized greeting, a brief introduction, engaging content that provides value to your subscribers, images or videos to break up the text, links to your website or social media profiles, and a clear call-to-action that encourages your subscribers to engage with your business.
It's also important to make sure your newsletter is visually appealing and mobile-friendly, so it can be easily read and accessed from any device. With a well-crafted email newsletter, you can build stronger relationships with your subscribers, increase engagement, and drive more traffic to your website. make sure you have someone experienced who is responsible for this and plan your offers in advance to complement this cycle. (Hint: Harbour Digital offer this service.)
Offer Referral Incentives
Offering referral incentives is another effective way to attract new customers and increase your profit in the new financial year. By offering rewards or discounts to customers who refer new customers to your business, you can incentivize them to spread the word about your products or services.
One significant advantage of offering referral incentives is that it can help you generate new business quickly and easily. By tapping into your existing customer base, you can reach other Coffs locals who may not have visited you for a while. Additionally, offering referral incentives can also help you build strong relationships with your customers, as they will feel valued and appreciated for their referrals.
Offering referral incentives has to be well-planned. For example, if your customers are not motivated by the incentives you offer, they may not refer new customers to your business. Take the time to ask your customers what sort of offers they would share with their friends around Coffs Harbour.
Here are three examples of customer referral programs as thought starters:
Dropbox - Dropbox offers a referral program that rewards both the referrer and the new user with free storage space. When a current Dropbox user invites a friend to sign up for Dropbox and that friend completes the registration process, both the referrer and the new user receive 500MB of additional free storage space.
Can you offer your customers something free or close to free when they refer a customer to you? The best type of freebie is something low-cost to you that is valued by your customers. or a small but sustainable discount.
Dollar Shave Club - Dollar Shave Club's referral program encourages it's subscribers to refer friends by offering a free month of subscription for each referral. The more friends a subscriber refers, the more free months they can earn. This program helps Dollar Shave Club to acquire new customers through its existing customer base and incentivizes its subscribers to continue using its service.
Uber - Uber's referral program offers existing users a free ride when they refer a new user to the service. The new user also receives a free ride as a sign-up bonus. This program has helped Uber to rapidly grow its user base and gain market share in the ride-sharing industry.
These examples illustrate how a well-designed customer referral program can be an effective way for small businesses to acquire new customers and incentivise their existing customer base to continue using their product or service. When creating a referral program, it's essential to provide a compelling incentive for both the referrer and the new user, make it easy to participate, and track the results to evaluate its effectiveness.
Finding new local customers
Use Social Media Marketing
Using social media marketing is another effective way to attract new customers and increase your profit in the new financial year. By using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you can reach a large audience and promote your products or services to potential customers.
Use the right social channels to target your audience
Social media channels have become increasingly popular as marketing channels, offering businesses the opportunity to reach a vast audience in a cost-effective way. Each social media platform has its unique strengths that make it an effective marketing channel.
Facebook is the largest social media platform, with over two billion users. It is an excellent platform for targeted advertising, especially for businesses with a well-defined target audience.
Instagram is known for its visually appealing content and is ideal for brands that want to showcase their products or services visually.
Twitter is great for building brand awareness and engaging with customers in real-time, making it a perfect platform for businesses that want to stay on top of trending topics.
LinkedIn is primarily used for professional networking, making it a great platform for B2B businesses looking to establish thought leadership and make valuable business connections.
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and is ideal for businesses that want to create video content to engage and educate their audience.
Understand the types of content
Organic content refers to content that is created and shared on social media platforms without the use of paid promotion or advertising. Paid content, on the other hand, is content that is promoted or advertised through paid advertising on social media platforms. Both organic and paid content have their benefits and strengths, and a combination of both can be ideal for businesses looking to maximize their impact on social media.
Benefits of organic content:
Cost-effective: Organic content does not require any payment for promotion or advertising, making it a cost-effective way to reach your audience on social media.
Builds authenticity and trust: Organic content can help build trust and credibility with your audience by providing valuable and relevant content that is not solely focused on promotion.
Boosts engagement: Organic content has the potential to generate high levels of engagement, including likes, comments, and shares, which can increase the reach and visibility of your brand.
Enhances SEO: Organic content can improve your search engine optimization (SEO) by providing fresh and relevant content that can rank higher in search results.
The impact of social media follower count:
The number of followers on social media can have a significant impact on the reach and visibility of your content. A large follower count can help increase the organic reach of your content, as more people will see and engage with your posts. Additionally, a large follower count can help build credibility and social proof, which can attract new followers and customers.
Have a regular social post schedule or ad campaign
Having a regular social media presence is critical to building and maintaining trust online. Local customers will check your social pages to see if you are still in business. If you haven't posted your customers can walk away with the impression you are closed for business.
Create a content calendar: A content calendar can help you plan and organize your social media content in advance. This can include the types of content you'll be posting, the topics you'll cover, and the posting schedule.
Create content themes: Develop content themes that align with your brand and appeal to your target audience. This can help ensure that your content is consistent and relevant to your audience.
Mix up your content: Mix up your content by including a variety of formats, such as images, videos, and infographics. This can help keep your audience engaged and interested in your content.
Plan ahead: Plan your content in advance, so you have time to create high-quality content and review it for accuracy and relevance.
Measure your results: Use social media analytics to measure the success of your content and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Going Viral - what does it really mean for a local business?
Going viral on social media refers to a piece of content, such as a post, image, or video, that spreads rapidly and widely across the internet, often gaining millions of views, likes, shares, and comments in a short period of time. When content goes viral, it can lead to increased brand awareness, engagement, and even revenue.
However, going viral is not easy, and there is no guaranteed formula for success. The likelihood of going viral on social media depends on a variety of factors, including:
Relevance: The content must be relevant to your audience and resonate with their interests and behaviors.
Quality: The content must be high-quality and visually appealing, with a clear message or story.
Timing: The content must be shared at the right time, when your audience is most active and engaged on the platform.
Sharing: The content must be shareable, with a clear call-to-action that encourages viewers to share it with their own network.
Luck: Finally, there is an element of luck involved in going viral, as even the best content can sometimes fail to gain traction.
While going viral can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness and engagement, it should not be the sole focus of a social media strategy. Instead, businesses and marketers should focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with their audience and helps them achieve their overall business objectives.
Other Strategies that can build your business
Social Media is really effective when customers share good news about your business. When most people think about this they think about “going viral”. When you are a local business you may not need a viral moment to grow your business.
The Coffs Coast has around 75,000 residents so you don't need a million views to grow your business. You can plan for customers to share your brand. Your customers will be more likely to share your brand if they are being offered something or if they are being entertained.
Create Social Walls
Do you have a place in your business where people wait?
People love to be entertained while they wait and they love to take selfies. You could commission a local artist to paint a sharable background. Or you could use a wall decal of a tropical space. As another example, a clothing store could create a photo booth area as a pop-up installation while a sale is on. It just needs to be a place where your customers want to take photos and share them on social media.
Another way to integrate social media into physical stores is by displaying user-generated content on screens throughout the store. This can create a sense of community among customers and also provide social proof for the products being sold.
By integrating social media into physical stores, businesses can create a more engaging and memorable shopping experience for customers while also increasing brand awareness and social media engagement.
Craft shareable offers.
If you are a motor repair shop customer who had 4 services in a year, you could send an email saying you must have travelled a lot this year, and come in for a free wheel balance. You could schedule this before a school holiday and include a facebook share button on the offer for their friends to get 10% off their wheel balance.
Paid Social Media Campaigns
To offset the limited reach of your organic social media campaigns, many businesses get success from using paid social media campaigns.
Benefits of paid content:
Increases reach and visibility: Paid content can be promoted to a wider audience than organic content, increasing the reach and visibility of your brand.
Targeted: Paid content can be targeted to specific audiences based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and other factors, ensuring that your content is seen by the right people.
Quick results: Paid content can generate quick results in terms of reach, engagement, and conversions, making it a good option for time-sensitive campaigns or promotions.
Measurable: Paid content is highly measurable, allowing you to track metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversions, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
A combination of both organic and paid content can be ideal for local businesses looking to maximise their impact on social media. Organic content can help build authenticity and engagement, while paid content can increase reach and generate quick results.
By using both types of content strategically, local businesses can reach a wider audience, build credibility and trust, and ultimately drive business growth on social media.
Crafting a successful paid campaign
A successful paid social media campaign should have several key elements in order to effectively reach and engage the target audience. Here are some elements that can contribute to a good paid social media campaign:
Clear objectives: Define clear and measurable objectives for the campaign, such as increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or generating leads or sales.
Target audience: Identify and target a specific audience that is likely to be interested in your product or service.
Compelling creative: Use high-quality and visually appealing creative, such as images, videos, or graphics, that capture the attention of the audience and convey the message of the campaign.
Effective ad copy: Craft ad copy that is concise, clear, and engaging, with a strong call-to-action that motivates the audience to take action.
Relevant landing pages: Ensure that the landing pages the audience will be directed to after clicking on the ad are relevant to the ad and provide a clear path to conversion.
Appropriate budget: Set an appropriate budget for the campaign, considering factors such as the target audience, ad placement, and campaign objectives.
Effective targeting: Use targeting options, such as demographics, interests, and behaviors, to reach the most relevant audience for the campaign.
Continuous monitoring: Continuously monitor and adjust the campaign based on key performance indicators, such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and engagement metrics, to optimize the campaign for better results.
By incorporating these elements into a paid social media campaign, businesses can increase the chances of reaching and engaging their target audience effectively and efficiently.
The challenges for Coffs Harbour businesses in creating social media content.
Creating social media content can be a challenging task for businesses and marketers, especially with the ever-changing landscape of social media platforms and the increasing demand for high-quality content. Some of the challenges of creating social media content include:
Staying relevant: Social media platforms are constantly changing and evolving, so it can be difficult to stay relevant and keep up with new trends and features.
Meeting audience expectations: Social media users have high expectations for the quality and relevance of content, so it's important to create content that resonates with your target audience.
Maintaining consistency: Consistency is key to building a strong social media presence, but it can be challenging to maintain a consistent posting schedule and tone of voice.
Standing out from the crowd: Social media is a crowded space, and it can be difficult to stand out from the competition and capture your audience's attention.
Creating engaging content: With so much content available on social media, it's important to create content that is engaging and encourages interaction, whether through likes, comments, or shares.
Keeping up with algorithm changes: Social media algorithms are constantly changing, which can affect the reach and visibility of your content. It's important to stay up-to-date with these changes and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Measuring success: It can be challenging to measure the success of social media content, as metrics such as likes and shares may not always translate to business success or ROI.
Overall, creating effective social media content requires a deep understanding of your audience, a willingness to adapt to changing trends and algorithms, and a commitment to creating high-quality, engaging content that resonates with your target audience. The best social media campaigns that combine organic and social media take time and experience to plan. If you would like to plan a campaign like this and have limited time.
Harbour Digital can support you with our cost-effective campaign options.