Five Tips To Make 2016 ‘Your Year’

How has growth been for your business in 2015? Even if you’ve done well, I’m sure you’ll agree that there is always room for improvement, and that you’re hoping for further growth in the coming months.

hands-night-festival-new-year-s-eve web

If this is the case, here are five quick tips to help gain new clients and continue expanding your business in 2016:

  1. Work to a plan

If you’ve never used a Marketing Plan before to help direct your business’ marketing activity, 2016 is the year to start. Look at the factors affecting you from external sources (such as your competitors, local and national trends, etc), your business’ strengths and weaknesses, and the marketing actions which have been successful (or unsuccessful) for you this year, and turn them into a plan to help you to achieve your goals.

  1. Try something new

Maybe you’ve always promoted your business via networking. Or having a stand at business exhibitions. Or by advertising in the local newspaper. If these bring in new customers to your business, great – but add to it, and try something new. Sponsor a local junior sports team, take some customers out to dinner, or invite a target out to coffee. Take a chance and see if taking a different approach pays off.

  1. Get Online

You don’t have to be away from your desk to effectively promote yourself. Whilst putting a name to a face and maintaining relations is important, you can raise profile initially using social media. You don’t have to be on every social media channel – choose the one or two most relevant to your business. If you produce products which are very visual (such as cakes, art, clothing, etc), then Instagram and Facebook will probably be most effective. For professional services or less ‘pretty’ products, try Twitter or LinkedIn. Have a love of live streaming? Get on Periscope. And so on… there’s a channel for every audience.

  1. Offer a ‘mini’ version of your product or service

Your potential customers may not be ready to part with their hard-earned cash to buy your product or service, whatever it may be. So try offering them a smaller or stripped down version – and see if it helps to tempt them into future investment with you.

  1. Be consistent

Marketing your business isn’t straightforward – and as a small business, it is easy to feel that as you have so much to do, the easiest thing to drop is your marketing. It pays off to be consistent – it is no good waiting until you have no new work coming in to start trying to find it, and dropping your marketing again when busy. You can manage your marketing much easier if it comes in steady waves than in huge peaks and troughs. A consistent approach to promoting your business will help you to raise profile in the long term, and it is likely that you’ll end up spending more if you make grand gestures on irregular occasions.

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New Year Non-Resolutions

There are plenty of fantastic articles and blogs advising small businesses on what they should do to increase their customers in 2014, but what shouldn’t you do?Happy New Year!

1. Don’t forget who your target audience is. 

With every marketing activity you do, your first thought should always be to consider who your audience is and whether they will actually see or benefit from that activity. For example, if your audience is largely made up of students, putting an advert in the business section of your local newspaper is unlikely to be seen or responded to. You can easily avoid wasting money by simply considering your audience every time you make a marketing decision.

2. Don’t follow the crowd. 

Just because your competitors are doing something, it doesn’t mean you have to! Try and think outside of the box (see my earlier blog post for more) and make sure you stand apart from them.

3. Don’t be afraid to try something new. 

If you haven’t already done it, 2014 is the time to get your business onto social media. Set up a Twitter page for your business, upload some fantastic photos showing off your business onto Pinterest and get your profile set up on Google+. Then get talking – social media is a two-way dialogue, so make some connections and start sharing articles, blogs and videos which link to your business and that your followers will find interesting.

4. Don’t forget to tell your customers what you want them to do. 

Wherever you can, make sure to put a call to action in your marketing copy. Tell potential customers what you want them to do, which can be as simple as saying ‘phone to book an appointment before the end of January’. Don’t be shy!

5. Don’t lose focus on your current customers. 

It is often said that 80% of new business comes from returning customers. So make sure you are looking after them – don’t make them wait until you return their phone call, respond to their emails and always offer a fantastic level of customer service. The easiest way to think of it is to make sure you always give the level of customer service which you expect back. That way, you’ll keep your customers happy and encourage them to both return to you and recommend you to others.

Have a very Happy and Successful New Year!