1. Form an alliance. Team up with another business that offers a complementary product or service and cross promote. Examples of this could be: if you’re a yoga practitioner, align with a nutritionist; if you’re a social media marketer, align with a SEO pro. It may take some testing out to find the perfect fit, but this strategy is a good one for expanding your network, so keep at it.
2. Sell something new. Offer something different that appeals to a whole new audience. This is the oldest strategy in business history. Diversify your product and/or service offerings!
3. Create add-ons for your current customers. Just like McDonald’s did when we were kids! “Would you like a hot apple pie with that?” Think about what aligns naturally with what you are currently offering, and simply have it available. No need for a hard sale when you come from it sincerely.
4. Create a digital product. Of course in our 24-7 online world, it makes sense to expand your storefront digitally, right? Well, what happens to those folks who visit your website in the middle of the night? When you turn your knowledge into an eBook, white paper or checklist, then add it behind a form on your website, you’re not only showing how knowledgeable you are about your industry, you are capturing leads. This is your lead funnel hard at work.
5. Get back to the basics. Show up. Return calls. Have the best service in town. It’s so easy to forget what REALLY makes a small business stand out, and that’s great service. Want some ideas on how to put a customer-centric service plan in place? Check out how Zappos did it.
6. Ask for the order. It’s a simple thing to do, but many folks stop short and that hurts the bottom line. Don’t be afraid to ask for the order, “So, can we set you up with that today?” If your prospect is not that far down your sales funnel, simply ask for the next step. “May I follow up with you about this next week?” – don’t be afraid to progress the sale.
7. Get publicity. PR isn’t what it used to be, but there is value in amplifying your news through influencers. Every milestone (award won, class taught, project finished) is press-worthy. Start by posting your news on your blog, then reach out to local sources. But, try not to mass email; if you want coverage, send a short personal e-mail to media outlets explaining the uniqueness of your news and why their readers would be interested.
8. Host a charity event. Events can form an important aspect of an organization’s fundraising program. Your charity event could potentially garner your company some great press, help you get in front of other like-minded people and help increase awareness… plus, it’s just a good thing to do.
9. Sponsor a school sports team. Those kids have parents who have purchasing power. Make a great impression when you sponsor.
10. Teach a class. Perhaps on the topic of your eBook? Local organizations such as the Small Business Development Center, the Chamber and others are always looking for local experts to present. Showcase your knowledge!
11. Under promise, over deliver. It’ll keep them coming back for more over and over again, and they’ll be more likely to tell their friends!