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14 Ideas for Increasing Revenue Quickly

150 150 Pat Monacelli

By Christina Metcalf

The past eighteen months have certainly not been something they taught us in business school. It started with a global pandemic and mandatory lockdowns of non-essential businesses, then erupted in costs of goods and services skyrocketing, only to complete this craziness with an employee shortage, and rent and real estate costs going through the roof for most areas of the country.

Whew!

If you’re like most businesses, you’re probably looking for ways to increase your revenue. Here are some things you can do right now as well as a few other ideas you can start implementing for long-term increases.

14 Ways to Make More Money at Your Business

1. Raise your prices. Businesses of all types are being forced to do this because their costs are increasing. Most people, while they dislike it, realizing it’s necessary.
2. Train your employees on upsells. It’s easier to sell to someone who’s already buying than to create a convert of someone who knows little about you.
3. Keep track of what each customer buys. Use data on customer purchases to reach out to them with applicable discounts, sales, new products, or services they would probably like based on past purchases.
4. Add a service to your goods or goods to your services. If you sell furniture paint, offer a paint service. If you paint furniture, sell a line of paint for DIYers or those who can’t afford your service.
5. Host a class. If it’s specific and helpful enough you can charge for it.
6. Become an affiliate for another business. If there’s something you buy often or a business you refer people to, ask the business if they have an affiliate program.
7. Start a side hustle. There are a lot of things you can do to bring in additional revenue that have no start-up costs and can bring in more money. You can start a personal side hustle or try incorporating one into your existing business.
8. Consult or coach. Tell people how to do what you do and charge them for it.
9. Start a Kickstarter campaign. Okay, so this isn’t a solid stream of revenue, but it can help you create one by producing something you’ve always wanted to produce but haven’t had the time or capital to do it.
10. Start a membership program. Charge people for access to you or priority service from your business or any other type of membership.
11. Create a subscription or sample box. You can do this on your own or with other businesses in your area.
12. Host a camp or overnight. Depending on your business, you may be able to turn your business into a camp over holidays or the summer or even host a special overnight. Meet with an insurance professional to understand the liability involved. You can also offer classes to homeschool students. Remember camps don’t have to be for kids.
13. Create a challenge. You may be able to create a directed challenge and charge a fee for several weeks of training or services.
14. Sell more items online. Or start selling online if you haven’t already.

Most of these ideas can help you bring in money right away. Another way to do that—although it doesn’t increase your revenue per se—is to change your billing structure if you’re a service provider. You can collect more upfront and less upon the completion of services. Plus, now is the perfect time to roll out these ideas as people understand the struggles businesses have these days.

Take the Friction Out of Doing Business With You

150 150 Pat Monacelli

By Christina R. Metcalf

Do you want more customers? Then you need to remove the friction behind doing business with you. Even if you have great customer service, support, and sales, you may have unknown friction that exists before you see the face of your customer. Luckily, you can smooth that out with content. Here are two problems you need to solve for to take the guesswork out of doing business with you.

Problem 1: You Don’t Know They’re Interested

There are several studies out there that will tell you anywhere from 40-76% of a buying decision is made before a potential customer visits your business in person. The average person performs virtual research on your website, review sites, social media, and a host of other places before they even consider doing business with you. They’re performing this same due diligence with your competition.

Content Solution: You want to identify the potential customer as soon as possible so you can start interacting with them. The easiest way to do this is through a downloadable lead generator. The lead generator must be something they need/want because they will be providing their email to receive it and will have to agree to receiving marketing messaging from you.

If you can nurture them (with additional valuable content) and help them get to know your business, you’re more likely to entice them into wanting to buy from you.

Problem 2: The Unknown

I have always wanted to do aerial yoga, but several things have stopped me. I don’t have the grace and strength of a gymnast and I’m closer to 50 than 40. I’m a warm lead for an aerial yoga studio because it’s something I’m interested in. But I could easily become a hot lead if someone could ensure a beginner like me won’t get laughed out of the studio.

It’s likely you have potential customers out there who feel the same. They may be interested in your offerings but there’s some hesitation. There’s something they’re worried about. Most people aren’t adventurous when it comes to spending money.

But this hesitation can easily be smoothed over with some content.

Content Solution:

  • Be honest about who your business serves. This is not a call to appeal to everyone. For instance, I don’t want to go to an aerial yoga studio that caters to 18-year-old Olympians. None of us will enjoy ourselves. You don’t want to give the impression your business or service is perfect for everyone, and everyone is welcome. While everyone may be welcome in a legal sense, there are some types of people who will love your business and others that won’t be a good fit. Don’t feel the need to cater to this latter group because if you do–and they don’t enjoy themselves—they may give your business a bad review. If your gym caters to ninja warriors, don’t market to couch potatoes.
  • Offer testers, trials, and other ways to try you out. Sometimes people need a freebie or deeply discounted opportunity to try out your offerings before they can commit to writing a check or handing over their money. Make sure that your trial or sample comes along with next steps and sets expectations for them if they choose to be a customer/client.
  • Go for feeling. It’s not (just) about what you’re selling. It’s about how people feel when buying from you. The experience is as important as the good or service. It’s also (often) the differentiator or unique selling proposition. For instance, many people felt good about buying from TOMs shoes because they donated a pair of shoes to a person in need for every pair sold. (It looks like these days they give 1/3 of proceeds to “grassroots good.”). People didn’t buy them because they were the most beautiful shoes, nor the cheapest. They made the purchase because it made them feel like they were doing something for someone else. But you don’t have to be super altruistic to encourage people to buy from you. However, you should provide them with some emotion or experience. “Squad shopping,” for instance, became popular during COVID. Many online merchants encouraged people to shop with their friends online giving them the experience of going to the mall together. This not only makes people feel good about your business but encourages more sales (hurray peer pressure!).

If you want to increase your sales, you need to remove the friction behind doing business with you. Thankfully, it’s easier than you think when you create content around addressing major concerns.

Five Types of Effective Storytelling for your Business

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

Do you watch America’s Got Talent? Or how about American Idol? The Olympics? The MLB All-star Game?

These competitions all have something in common.

They tell stories. If you watch them, none of them are solid, hours upon hours of broadcasted competition. Mixed in with commercials and the performances, the producers choose to interlace storytelling because it’s relatable. It draws people in. Storytelling can take a good performance and turn it into something we think about for the rest of the day.

You can do this for your business too. You can turn an average experience into something amazing when your audience knows where you are coming from with storytelling.

Telling your business story is not (just) about how you started and where you came from, nor should it always be about how awesome you are (highlight how you help people and how awesome they are. Check out Modelo beer commercials for a good example of this.).

Effective business storytelling keeps telling stories throughout your content, so you’ll need more than one story to keep people interested.

Here are a few ideas to add to your content. Keep in mind business storytelling should never be fiction. If you haven’t experienced the type of stories listed below, skip over them. You don’t want to tell your audience something that isn’t true for the sake of crafting a moving story.

5 Types of Effective Storytelling for Your Business

The Underdog
Americans love an underdog, a come from behind triumph. Whether it’s David and Goliath or the story of the tortoise and the hare, we want to believe that with hard work and dedication you can beat the odds. Share how you have overcome a huge hurtle to be the success you are now.

The Heartbreak
We all face heartbreak. Sometimes it’s in the form of a lost love or the death of someone close. How did that heartbreak motivate you in your business? Maybe your grandparent passed away and left you money to start a business because they believed in you. Or maybe you realized your gift after the death of a loved one forced you in that direction to support your family like writer Mary Higgins Clark did.

Whatever your heartbreak was that motivated you, people identify with heartbreak and are inspired by picking up after it and rebuilding a life. You never know who needs to hear that message.

The Setback
What setback have you undergone in business? Did you have to close during the pandemic? Did you sell something like your home to open a second location? What gamble did you take in business that paid off? Or what gamble did you take that didn’t pay off, but you learned from it?

People love to know that success is not a linear path. To hear of the ups and downs is encouraging and inspirational. It helps people identify with you. Everyone assumes an overnight success but it’s nice to know when it isn’t.

The Magic Lucky Break
What happened in your life to give you the big break? Maybe you got to where you were because you hung in there but maybe there was also some magical luck that propelled you to success.

Maybe you were behind everyone else only to become top of the world later on? Even Tom Brady only got a chance to start in high school because his team’s #1 quarterback decided he no longer loved the game moving Tom up a spot. Imagine if that had never happened.

There’s no shame in admitting you got lucky because you were there. After all, you had to hang in there first before the luck could find you. That can be very inspiring for those still waiting for their break.

The Unexpected Path
There are certain paths that are accepted as the norm. For instance, a Joint Chief of Staff attending and graduating with high honors from West Point or someone attending Julliard and becoming a famous actor on Broadway.

What is not expected is a single mom living in a car writing a book that gets rejected from 12 different publishers before getting published, and going on to become the second-highest paid author and one of the wealthiest self-made women in the world.

What path to your life was unexpected? What did you do against the grain? Were you like All-star baseball player Cedric Mullins who sat on a bench most of high school and didn’t start until his senior year?

The interest is in the details. Tell your audience how you got there. Share the frustrations and the heartbreak. Try to give them the inspiration the world so needs right now.

Your story isn’t over. Keep telling it and your audience will listen.

3 Ways To Stand Out When Everyone Else Is Trying To Do The Same

150 150 Pat Monacelli

 

by Christina R. Metcalf

There can be a desperation that you feel on social media. Many businesses are creating content that demands “look at me.” But while some may believe that “shouting” into social media is the way to get attention, it rarely is. Usually, all that accomplishes is someone ignoring you the way a stranger might sidestep a toddler having a tantrum in a grocery store.

Yes, tantrums get attention but not the kind you want in order to get customers to buy from you. Instead, you want a more subtle approach. Here are several ways you can get attention for you and your business that have nothing to do with shouting or demanding it.

Show How You Help
Sure, telling people how you can help them is very important. But you should also incorporate some showing, not just telling. For example, Amazon created a holiday commercial that features a young girl working on her ballet routine. She works hard in every spot imaginable. She eats, lives and breathes ballet. As she prepares for the big recital, she receives notification that it’s been cancelled. She’s despondent until her family creates a homemade recital for her on their apartment’s roof. Neighbors watch the girl perform lit solely by flashlights ordered from—you guessed it—the mega retailer. She finishes the dance in a beautiful moment and the words, “The show must go on” come across the screen with a well-placed logo. This commercial only features a fleeting glimpse of the brand and never talks about it in any way. But it shows exactly how Amazon can help and they do so with story. Which brings us to…

Tell a Story
Everyone claims to be the best, most efficient, best priced, etc. But all those superlative claims can get lost on social media since everyone is saying the same thing. Have you ever once heard a business claim to have adequate customer service?

Of course not!

It’s always the best. They put the customer first.

But if everyone claims to do that, how does the customer figure out who really is the best? They don’t. They ignore those claims and look at something else like reviews.

But what is the one thing about you that is different?

It’s your story.

No one has the same story that you do. You are unique in that way. And no one has the same customer stories that you do. You can differentiate yourself from the other businesses by getting personal and telling your story of what motivates you and how you help your customers.

Again, telling your story is not you writing sentences about how you got into your business. That’s only part of it. Think about that Amazon commercial. Amazon told a brilliant story about how they are there for people when others aren’t (the show must go on) but they never said those words. They implied it through story.

Tell about your customers’ struggles and how you fit in to help them be their best selves. You needn’t say the words “we helped them.” But you must show how you did.

Fail Big
Is there some problem that plagues your business or industry? Something that everyone dismisses with a “well, it is what it is”?

If so, fix it.

If you do, you’ll be a hero. If you don’t, you’ll fail. But you’ll fail big because you took on something no one else has. They’ll talk about your efforts. Car dealerships did this when the first one went to “no-haggle” pricing or Carvana went to selling cars sight unseen through a virtual vending machine.

JCPenney’s tried to provide a good value environment by lowering its everyday prices and doing away with sales and coupons. It tried to give consumers an inexpensive buying experience whenever they wanted it, not just during sales.

It turns out, people love sales and coupons and Penney’s failed. But they failed big and they got a lot of press and people talking about them. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough, but you have to admire their gumption.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to play up your uniqueness. Do this through story and sharing your life with your audience. Don’t be afraid to fail. Through it, you’ll learn something about you and your audience.

4 Spring Cleaning Data Tips for More Sales

150 150 Pat Monacelli

by Christina R. Metcalf

While we are quickly heading toward the heat of summer, there’s still time to do some spring cleaning with your data. A nice clean email list can help you make the most of your ecommerce and increase summer sales.

Let’s get started.

Ways to Spruce Up Your Digital Marketing for Increased Sales

Customer data is great but only if you know what to do with it. Many businesses moved to online sales with COVID and, in turn, received a lot of good data from customers. But it’s time to get in there, do some spring cleaning of your database, and a few other things to position you for a hot summer sales season.

Segment
Did you get every name on your list the same way? Or did they get added through a variety of sources including ads, referrals, point of sale signups, and other ways? Likely, it’s the latter.

If you acquired your list members in various ways, take a moment to look into what each way tells you about them. Did they come to you after an e-commerce transaction or sign-up as part of a contest? How you got them is as important as how they continue to interact with you.

Look for ways to give them more of what they want in a personalized way by understanding what brought them to you in the first place.

Remove Non-Deliverables
You know the bounce backs you get every time you send? Look at the list and check for any obvious problems. Sometimes people hit the wrong key and you end up with .cmo instead of .com. Many bounce backs are due to key errors and are easy to recognize. Fix them. If it’s not obvious why they aren’t going through, get rid of them. You don’t want to pay for contacts that aren’t valid.

Get Rid of Dupes
Sometimes people get on lists from multiple ways, or they use different email addresses without realizing it. Take a quick scan for duplicate names. Do they share any of the same info? Could they be the same person? If so, do them a favor and merge the contacts. No one enjoys receiving two emails from you on each send, no matter how riveting the emails are.

Add Some Summer Spice
Depending on your business, you may see more visitors in the summer than during other parts of the year, on e-commerce or in-person. Since we’re talking about digital marketing here, look for ways you can add some summer spice to your website content, your newsletter, your landing page, and your email messaging. People are ready for fun times. They want school to be over and—unlike last summer—be able to do something. Play to that interest when creating or tweaking your content.

There’s an excitement in the air that has not been there for a while. Use this renewed energy to take a second look at your digital marketing. Make some quick tweaks and get ready for summer and increased sales.