Starting a business can be hard, and maintaining a business can be even harder. Imagine this: you're a few years into starting a brand and you've finally hit the dreadful slump. It's only inevitable that businesses both big and small will go through high and low seasons. However, it's what you do in the low seasons that will take your brand back to high (or even higher) seasons. While this may not be the conventional list you're imagining, taking a more roundabout approach in trying some of these tips can yield you the same results your seeking.
1. Start a Webinar
Video content is becoming increasingly popular, and even becoming apart of viewer's daily morning routines. Starting a webinar about a topic relevant to your brand and industry can build you a loyal customer following and set you apart as an industry leader. Viewers love content that's helpful and undisruptive - so you're golden if your webinar does just that.
2. Become a Guest Speaker
As an entrepreneur or business owner, you have a lot of unique experiences and knowledge you may take for granted. Try looking locally for events related to your business or industry and offer to be a guest speaker. Events like these can be a great opportunity for others to hear your wealth of knowledge and come to trust you, so be sure to bring appropriate material like business cards and flyers!
3. Attend a Networking Event
That being said, industry networking events in general are a great way to gain new clients. However, don't solely attend an event like this with the intention of gaining a new client. These benefits of these events are often more indirect - someone you'll meet may know someone in need your help, while you may be approached by this contact later down the road. The key to these events is to meet new people, exchange information, and leave with an open ended, mutually beneficial relationship. If you're ready to prospect, networking is a great low pressure way to expand your circle!
4. Start a Blog
Like webinars, industry blogs are gaining an increasingly large following. The same sentiment holds true for blogs - make sure to offer relatable and relevant information from a brand's perspective. By positioning yourself as an approachable source, you can easily become a customer's go to person for answers. This is a great method for building up trust with someone who may be on the fence of doing business with you.
5. Give Away Something for Free
PEOPLE. LOVE. FREE. STUFF - And I'm sure you would too. Giving away free incentives can be an effective way to get new customers to take a chance on you. Have you ever tried a free sample of something, and later become dependant on it? Free incentives often transform first-timers into loyal customers as they've already integrated your product or service into their lifestyle, and have become dependant on it. Of course, don't go too crazy with giveaways, and only offer what is within your means.
6. Utilize Google My Business
Sometimes business is low simply because customers haven't found you yet. Being visible and searchable on Google makes all the world of difference in attracting first time customers. The beauty of being on Google is that this s one of the only times customers will come to you, rather than you actively seeking them out. Make sure your business hours, location and website are all correct on Google and invite your past customers to write a Google review if they were satisfied with your product or service. Customers who've had a good experience are almost willing to help with this!
7. Revamp Your Website
If business is slow, take this as an opportunity to re-edit and revamp your website. If you don't have website editor on your team, it can be difficult to keep up to date in maintaining your website. This is your chance to update new pictures, add new products, features, services and upcoming events, and even re-write your website copy. For fairly recent start ups, this can be such a helpful tip. The more you grow and develop as a brand, you'll begin to settle on a brand identity and voice that works for you, and it's totally okay to go back and freshen these up. Your website is one of the first points of contact for newcomers, so you'll want it to be an accurate representation of your brand.
8. Up Your Visual Game
Perhaps your photos and graphics are the deterrent for new customers? We live in a society that places high importance on aesthetic craftsmanship, meaning that poor visuals can scream low quality to viewers. Try using a design app like Canva, or upgrade your photos from high quality stock photo websites like Pexels or Unsplash. If you really have a lot of time on your hands, take a few days to take your own shots for your platforms. No one knows better than you what pictures speak for your brand, and nothing can beat the advantage of having unique photos on your website.
9. Leverage Social Media
It takes virtually nothing to start a social media account but a computer, and some high speed wi-fi. Social Media is a great place to find new customers mostly because there's already a lot of prospects seeking out new businesses! Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are common places customers will search to find more about your business. This is your chance to highlight you who your brand is, not what you're selling. Tricky, right? Like blogs and webinars, your social media channels will be a place for you to connect with your customers about industry related topics, relevant events, and offer your unique perspective as a business owner. However, now with updates to platforms like Instagram, brands are able to sell both themselves and their products on these channels. Again, as you become more secure in who you are as a brand, social media will really be a place for your brand's unique individuality to shine.
10. Start a Loyalty Program
If you're tight on budget, start your program with something simple, like being the first to know when new products are released and giving away coupons when you're partnering with another brand. Maybe the perks of your program will start as early bird pricing, and later evolve into invitations to panel discussions, release parties and industry events. The important part of creating loyalty programs is to build a brand community, and make sure to relay your appreciation to loyal customers. Brand Communities can be helpful in building a loyal following, and can be the incentive that encourages periodic customers to become frequent customers.
There are many unique ways to get the most out of your business without having to spend. Taking the time to keep working through tough slumps in business can be the very thing that will save your brand in the future. Try out some of these short and long term tips, and begin to watch for the transformation in your brand!