The basis of any business is making money. No matter what secondary motivations a business owner may have, the first goal is always to bring in enough revenue to stay afloat and hopefully prosper. Earning money is not always linear, though. Sometimes the payoff for business actions comes much later and often there is no real way to measure it. Some things cannot be accurately calculated; they just require a leap of faith on the part of the business owner.
Take a look at just a few non-measurable things business owners should do to bring in new customers and keep the loyal ones returning:
Respond to consumers online. Long gone is the 24-to-48-hour window to respond to customer questions or inquires through an email form. Today’s consumers like to seek out businesses on social media and have their questions answered and concerns alleviated in almost real time. This means that social media monitoring needs to be part of your business strategy, even if you don’t make an instant buck doing it. Word-of-mouth advertising is more powerful than ever because of online platforms like social media and consumer review sites. Be ready to respond right away to all the digital darts thrown your way – and the positive feedback too.
Post quality social media content. You need a social media strategy – you just do. If you don’t have the manpower in-house, or can’t afford hiring an entire person for the job, consider outsourcing it to a social media contractor or firm instead. Simply signing up for accounts won’t get the job done; you need to cultivate engaged consumer followings on the large social networks like Facebook and Twitter and some of the smaller, niche ones that make sense for your industry. Can posting on social media sites lead to direct sales? Yes, it can. But more importantly, it will boost your brand awareness and give consumers a comfortable place to find you when they are ready to buy. The technology to really measure how effective social media campaigns are in the actual buying process is in the works; but until then, keep this part of your business going anyway.
Use customer-relationship management software. You need to keep good records of your interactions with customers and then rely on that information for future plans. This is often an investment that does not pay you back in direct ways but it will lead to long-term higher revenue with the right maintenance.
Show up in public. You should embrace all that technology can do for your business but you should never hide behind it. Find ways to network in your community with other business owners and the general public. This raises awareness about your company and also puts a face with a business name, building trust and better recall among customers.
What actions does your business take that do have a direct dollar sign attached?