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10 Things to Do Right Now to Help Grow Your Business (and Your Income)

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Britt Riley

24 Jan, 2020

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So you started a business? Congratulations! 

Most people with the world’s “Next big idea” never even make it out of the idea stage so getting a business up and running is a huge accomplishment. However, just because you got the ball rolling does not guarantee long term success – that kind of growth comes with focus, smart decisions, and patience.

For most business owners, one key to growth is scaling their business – if you’ve reached #boss status and have a solid business foundation, it could be time to invest getting to the next level.

Whether that means adding staff to increase your output, generating more leads, or building more products, the main goal is always the same:

Scale your business…so you can scale your wallet.

If you’ve ever wondered where to go with your brand now that you’re out of the launch phase, this one’s for you.  

Social Media

What it is

Everyone knows that brands need a social media presence to compete in today’s market. Over 60% of customers want brands they like to be on social media, not to mention that people are already using social media to help guide purchasing decisions and discover new brands. Plus, the amount of data from social media users makes it one of the best avenues for targeted advertising to get content in front of the right customers.

How to do it

Brands can manage their own channels, bring on in-house staff, or hire an agency or freelancer. Many growing brands chose to do their own, but it’s important to have at least a basic grasp on strategy for content, growth, customer service, and efficiency – in addition to what metrics to track. 

Who to watch 

Remember the Unicorn Frappuccino craze that launched Starbucks’ now famous variety of specialty themed drinks? Head honchos credit that success directly to Instagram marketing and attributed the brand’s 3% profit increase just to that campaign.

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Focus on branding and marketing

What it is

Branding is why you recognize McDonald’s arches no matter where you are in the world. Marketing is why companies pay $5 million for Super Bowl ads. Together they work by helping potential customers learn about brands and familiarize themselves to the point of being recognized automatically. 

Each company should have a specific brand image and a consistent approach to how it presents to the world. Take that brand personality and use it in all marketing communications (ads, commercials, blogs, social media, product descriptions etc.) to spread the word about business.

How to do it 

Developing a brand is a pretty in-depth process, but a necessary first step before putting out any sales or marketing materials. Once that’s done, it’s time to figure out a marketing strategy as it can take up to seven encounters with a new brand for a potential customer to check it out. 

Again, options range from in-house staff, to agencies, to freelancers. If done in-house, brands must make sure to do some basic market research and learn a few marketing strategies.

Who to watch

Think of any major business that you can recognize by just their colors or logo alone.  We LOVE this experiment by Doritos called the “Anti-ad”, who didn’t even use words or clear images and people still recognized their brand. That’s #goals for sure!

Build an email list

What it is

Maybe you’ve heard people spending a lot of time talking about email marketing *cough* Ahem *cough* 😎

That’s because it has fantastic benefits that actually pay off.

For one, it’s easier (and cheaper) to sell to people who have bought from you before. And two, maintaining an email list is a great way to manage warm leads who aren’t ready to buy yet (but could be in the future) without losing or having them forget about you by the time they are ready.

How to do it

Companies will first need to build an email list and then implement a marketing strategy. That usually consists of frequently (but not excessively) emailing the people who’ve signed up and nurturing them to become a customer (or repeat customer!). Ampjar has tons of resources on our blog for additional email marketing help. 

Who to watch

Basically any brand whose emails you have sitting in your inbox right now. 💁🏽Is that proof enough that it works?

Build a sales funnel

What it is

A sales funnel sounds scarier and more intimidating than it actually is. Basically, it’s just a way for companies to to scope out leads, qualify them, and then begin to funnel them through a marketing/sales process until they’re ready to buy. It helps keep a steady pipeline of customers coming in, and the goal is to always have people at each stage.  

How to do it

The good news is, if you plan on email and social media marketing, you can manage a lot of your funnel through those mediums.  At that point, it’s just about creating and implementing a strategy – here’s a little extra info to help get you started. Of course, you can always hire someone if you don’t have the time or expertise!  

Who to watch 

No one’s arguing Netflix’s sales funnel doesn’t work. It’s a pretty straightforward path from landing page to order form. They don’t need to pull out a lot of bells and whistles and instead stick to a proven formula.

Expand your market and target others

What it is

It’s true that you should have a target demographic to focus on and you rarely want to deviate from that early on in your company’s journey.

BUT…

Who says brands can only have one demographic that works?

There are plenty of times when products have an opportunity to tap into other demographics. Like an ice pack for sports injuries being redesigned for kids’ boo boos.  

How to do it

Put your thinking cap on, because this is all about getting creative. It can be as simple as finding another age group to use your product and rebranding it, or deciding to sell consulting services as an add on. Research competitors, hold focus groups, and ask for customer feedback to get ideas on how to expand.  

Who to watch 

Remember when Uber just gave people rides? In just a few short years they’re also delivering your food and they’ve even launched a bike and flight rental service! 

Diversify

What it is

There’s a reason people tell you not to put all your eggs in one basket.  We all know it’s a good idea to diversify funds, but companies can diversify products or services within themselves, too. 

How to do it

Companies should consider the products they already offer and look for pain points of why some customers aren’t buying. Then, work out a solution that satisfies the customers stuck at that intersection. 

A company that makes custom blankets, for example, might have interested leads who can’t afford the price. Offering to sell them the pattern at a cheaper price than the completed blanket could be the halfway point in getting them to make their first purchase rather than being just a window shopper.  

Who to watch 

Pinkfong. You may not recognize the name, but you’ll definitely recognize their most prized (and lucrative) asset: Baby Shark. What started out as a catchy children’s song has morphed into a total media frenzy and licensing mania that’s almost unheard of. 

Collaborate with other businesses

What it is

Partnering with similar brands can expose businesses to new audiences and lots of brands have started creating mini partnerships to grow their reach and exposure.

How to do it

Collaborating with other similar (but not competing) brands can be a win-win for both. The most common way for growing brands to do it is through Instagram partnerships by communicating with each other behind-the-scenes and setting up a mutually beneficial crossover. It’s best to choose a company with a similar following, but not a competing product.  

Who to watch 

Stranger Things X Baskin-Robbins. It’s probably safe to assume that you’ve at least heard of Stranger Things, even if Netflix hasn’t been able to suck you into their 80s horror movie love child mashup (yet). Baskin Robbins has been serving up 31 flavors of ice cream deliciousness for years.  People absolutely lost it when the two brands partnered up to celebrate season 3 of the Netflix darling. 

Start a franchise

What it is

To be fair, this one’s only really doable for brands with brick and mortar locations. If a company has a successful location and things feel right, they typically begin to expand to new locations. A franchise is another store from the company, but owned and operated by someone else. A good example is how Dave Thomas’ family doesn’t personally own each Wednesday’s location.  

How to do it

Companies need to find interested buyers, and on top of that they’ll need to establish rules for each franchise. We found a few more details to help interested companies get started.

Who to watch

Literally every fast food chain expansion is built on franchises.  

Monitor statistics 

What it is

Marketing is as much science as it is art. And science’s key pillar is experimentation and using data to prove things – something you should definitely do as a good marketer.

The truth is, sometimes you (and even experts) won’t be 100% sure what idea or strategy is going to work. It’s often a lot of educated guesses and trying new things. It’s why marketers test so much and why social listening is such an important part of digital marketing these days.

How to do it

All businesses should have specific KPIs (website visits, email open rates, social followers, product sales, coupon codes, etc) established with the goal of meeting or exceeding them. The key is that brands should always be testing and watching what’s working. As long as you do more of what worked and ditch the stuff that didn’t you’re on the right path.  

Who to watch 

You’re in for a treat because this one is a two-for-one (stats and collab!). Shoe brand Toms Partnered with Hasbro to create a My Little Pony shoe. “But why?”I hear you scratching your heads in unison. The answer is – who knows? 

As it turned out, in their research, Toms found that their fans were frequently having organic conversations about My Little Pony. Puzzling and surprising information? Sure. But it’s what the fans wanted and Toms would have never known if they hadn’t investigated. Once they did, they wound up with a shoe that sold out in 48 hours!

Research the competition

What it is 

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s important to research what’s standard in a particular industry. It helps brands learn more about their demographic, see what might be trending among the industry, and make sure that they’re not falling behind competitors. 

How to do it

Very literally, many brands will just check out the competition’s social pages, marketing materials, products, rates, and anything else they can get their hands on – especially if they’re doing something really well. The goal isn’t to steal ideas, though. It’s just to stay current on what’s trendy and working and find ways to incorporate that.  

Who to watch 

This one’s probably a cop out, because this is definitely something that every brand does. It’s just part of normal market research. Sorry – no hyper specific example here. But it is helpful to know that this is just standard industry practice. And that should be all the information you need. 

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