Unemployment. Inflation. Anemic economic growth. Everywhere you turn there is bad economic news. As a business owner, this can be demoralizing as you try to survive. Luckily there are several ways you can green your profits and the environment, even in the midst of a recession.
1. Understand Your Customers Better
This technique is a surefire way in any economic climate to increase your profits. There are only three ways to make more money. Sell to new customers, increase the average transaction size of your existing customers, or have repeat customers buy more often. When profits are down, many entrepreneur’s first reaction is that they need more customers. This is actually the toughest route to make money. Acquiring a new customer does not bring profits quickly because there are acquisition costs to get the customer and then a trust building process. People repeatedly buy from businesses they trust. Therefore the easiest way to increase profits is to get existing customers to buy more often. They have already purchased from you and developed some type of trust. So how do you get your customers to buy more often? Talk to them.
2. Sell Them What They Want to Buy
In our digital world, we underestimate the value of talking to people. Speaking with your customers may not be as fun as spying on your competition or developing products, but it will make you more money. If you ask your customers what problems they are having, you will start to see opportunities for more sales. So how do you gather this information? You could email your customer list, tweet your followers, or *shock* pick up the phone and call some of your most loyal customers.
3. Green Your Product Line
Along the same lines as asking your customers what they need, you should green your product line. Even if you work in a market where eco-friendly products are not yet chic, it would be smart to head in that direction. The green movement is just getting started. In the next few years, the businesses that thrive will be the ones that offer green products or eco-friendly options for their products and services.
4. Follow Up More Often
Another trait of businesses that thrive in tough times is consistent followup. With consumers not spending as freely as a few years ago, it may take longer for people to buy from you. Therefore it is imperative to followup with customers more often to ensure you stay in front of them. Because when they do want to buy, you want them to think of your business as the place to go to for your particular product or service.
5. Maximize Your Reach
Five years ago, the best way to follow-up with customers was to email them. While emailing may still be the most effective(in my opinion), people are using different ways to communicate. Facebook, Stumbleupon, and Twitter have developed their own unique audiences who use these services are their exclusive means of communicating. If you’re not on these sites, you may be leaving hordes of customers out of your marketing plans.
1. Take a look at the bestsellers lists on Amazon to see what people are buying in your market.
2. Go through your customer list and identify your loyal customers.
3. Read the followup article on greening your product line.
4. Use your email followup software to or get email software like Aweber.
5. Sign up your business on Facebook, Stumbleupon, and Twitter. Begin advertising on Facebook and Stumbleupon.
Image Credit Stonyfield Farms