As a small business, you have to pay attention to every dollar you spend. Sometimes, it can seem impossible to make money and increase your customer base without spending a fortune on the tools and services you need to build your brand. If this sounds familiar, rest assured that you’re in good company with many small business leaders all over the country. Fortunately, there are some hacks out there that can help organizations such as yours increase your bottom line in ways that’ll make sense for your balance sheets.
1. Support Social Causes
Partner with a few social causes that align with your mission values and brand. In doing so, you’ll leverage the advertising efforts they’ll tout on their own marketing materials while they benefit from your generosity. It’s a win-win, and it can come with big opportunities for your bottom line as well. As it turns out, consumers are more willing to spend their dollars with businesses that support social causes. This not only brings goodwill to your brand, but it opens up avenues of advertising that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you.
Here are some ideas:
- Donate a portion of your proceeds to your charity. You can designate certain items or services to benefit those organizations at all times, or maybe just choose one day a month in which a portion of your total sales goes to your chosen non-profits.
- Sponsor your charity’s fundraising efforts. Most non-profits have one or two big fundraising events each year. Become a sponsor so your logo is on the signage and collateral, or simply donate some products and services to their silent auctions.
- Pay your employees to volunteer one day a month. While the idea of being paid to volunteer is counterintuitive, you’ll be contributing to your charities’ needs while still taking care of your employees. Be sure they take photos and have a lot of fun. That’s fuel for many social media posts and blog features in the future!
If you’re not sure which charities to partner with, talk to your team. You’ll likely find they have several organizations that are close to their hearts. If not, you can brainstorm together, which, in itself, is a positive team-building experience.
2. Be Active With Your Business Blog and Social Media Posts
Speaking of your online activity, make sure you keep an active blog and social media engagement up and running. While these don’t cost money, per se, the idea of keeping up with these things when you already have a thousand other things to do can be simply overwhelming. With that said, they’re both vital pieces of the business puzzle in today’s digital landscape. Instead of creating accounts with every social media platform in existence, maybe start with Instagram and Facebook. Both of those are reasonably self-managing. You can post photos on Instagram with ease while using Facebook for event announcements and company news. You don’t have to check in with them daily; try starting off by setting aside one hour two days a week to devote to posting, responding to inquiries, and engaging with your audience.
As far as blogging goes, if you find you can’t keep up with one or two posts a month, consider hiring a content writer to fulfill this need – one of many virtual services that can help your business grow. It’s an inexpensive exchange for the type of publicity you could get if Google begins to recognize your page as an authority in your industry. Search engines require regularly posted, useful content that their searches see as valuable. If your blog is stagnant, you’re hurting yourself more than you know. There’s an entire niche of freelancers who write companies’ blogs for them, using the brand’s own voice, tone and personality.
3. Try an Answering Service
In order to create the type of business that customers want to be loyal to, you have to be able to respond to their questions and inquiries in a timely manner.
That’s not always possible when you’re already wearing 15 different hats as a small business owner. This is why a small business call center can help alleviate that burden. Small business call centers offer a variety of services, including:
- Answering overflow calls when you simply can’t get to all the calls coming in;
- Order-taking services so your customers can have a direct line to purchase products and services without impeding your day-to-day business flow;
- Outbound calling services to follow up on customer satisfaction, schedule appointments or anything else you may not have time to do yourself;
- Bilingual answering services based in the US so you can assist customers with whom you might otherwise have a language barrier;
- 24-hour message acceptance and delivery, ensuring your customers never feel as if they can’t get ahold of you, even when it’s after hours; and
- Online chat help for customers who don’t have the ability to call you or stop by your place of business.
A study by Zendesk found that 92% of customers feel satisfied when they use a live chat feature. Many small businesses aren’t cashing in on this incredibly important statistic because they simply don’t see the need for it. Consumers, on the other hand, absolutely see the need, and they’re supporting the companies that favor their need to multi-task, enjoy privacy while asking their questions, and connect with a live human who can answer their questions and guide them toward the best possibilities for their unique situations.
4. Leverage a Loyalty Program
A great loyalty program will not only help you keep customers knocking at your door, it’ll also help you understand which parts of your business keep them coming back, so you can focus on future successes. Rewarding consumers for their continued patronage will ensure they feel an emotional connection to your brand. This, in turn, binds them to your company and facilitates referrals to their friends and family members, as well.
If you’re looking for a way to increase customer satisfaction in a way that keeps loyal consumers coming back, Customer Contact Services is here to help.