The Straight Six
As you know, if you have been on our site before, we do business consulting for some of our small business clients. We offer management consulting in terms of business planning, strategic planning, financial forecasting, operational issues, real estate, etc.
Almost all of our clients need more sales and they need more sales every month. It’s an ongoing business need. We don’t yet offer consulting in the areas of sales and marketing (soon!), so in the interim, here are six things every small business owner can do, either by themselves, or with just a little help, to increase sales.
- Get a decent website and put good content on it. Make certain that it has built-in utilities that optimize SEO results. You can build it yourself, or have someone build it for you, and after it gets built, put good content on it. Again, you can provide the content yourself, or hire someone to do it. It has to be at least good, and it has to be posted at least a couple of times a month. Be cold and honest when evaluating the quality of your content if you’re planning to provide content yourself. Most people cannot consistently produce entertaining, informative content, and you should keep that in mind.
- Get a Yelp page, a Google+ page, a LinkedIn company page, a Yahoo Business Listings page, a Facebook page, a Twitter page, etc. Get a business page everywhere you can. If you have been in business for a while, then business pages may exist already, and if that’s the case, then you need to claim those pages. Make sure all the pages have the same logo, the same business information, and the same contact information. Make sure anyone looking at the page can see immediately what your business does, and how a potential customer can get in touch with you. Link these pages to your website so that when your website is updated with a new post, it automatically updates your other business pages with the same content. This is all about your business showing up in the search engine results. If you have a roofing business in Fort Lauderdale, then you want your business to show up as an option in the Google or Yahoo search results when someone types in, “roofers Fort Lauderdale”. Business pages will make that happen, and good content on your business pages and your website will make it happen more often.
- Develop an email list. You should have a list of all your current and past customers so you can send them special offers, holiday greetings, news about the company, etc.
- Ask your satisfied customers to review your business online. Ask them in person when you see them. Put a note in your signature tag on your emails with the link to the business page on Yelp, or Google+ where they would write a review. Ask them over the phone when they call. Reviews cost you nothing, they stay up on the internet forever, and they’re extremely valuable in terms of inducing prospective customers to contact you. Reviews are seen as third-party, objective assessments of your business and the way you treat customers. When a person knows nothing about any provider in a service or product segment, a positive review will make them feel that much more at ease about contacting your business.
- Develop a list of local media contacts. The smaller the media organization, the more likely they are to publish news from your company. If you don’t have any news yet, that’s okay. You will, after your company starts growing from all of the new sales you’re going to rack up using these basic tips. Anything published about your business somewhere else is another thing for the search engines to connect to, and another thing for your current and future customers to read concerning your business. It’s all good.
- Develop a welcome kit for new customers. It should be available in hard copy (print) and as a digital PDF file. It should have things in it like: all the services and products your firm provides, FAQs, contact information, and whatever else you consider pertinent.
We’re giving it you straight, which is why we call these the straight six. And six is not too big a number to remember, or, to implement.