As businesses grow, their goals evolve to match market changes and shifts in consumer demand. Yet one goal is always consistent — companies need to increase revenue.
Finding a highly sought-after celebrity to endorse your products might be a good way to do it. But that’s not exactly a sustainable model for continued revenue growth, especially for smaller businesses.
Improving a business model means finding new ways to expand your customer base. That often means offering customers greater value in your products or services and innovating to further improve their lives. Each of these measures looks different for every company; what works for some won’t work for others.
Here are three approaches, however, that will boost revenue for nearly any company.
1. Seek unique ways to court customers.
Increasing your pool of customers is one of the surest ways to increase revenue. Of course, that’s often easier said than done. One place to start: Host an event that’s focused more on consumer experience than selling your product. Events may seem like old-school methods, but they’ve made a comeback. Harvard Business School research found that brands most commonly host conferences, product trainings, workshops, or meals for VIPs. To make your event stand out, you’ll need to think creatively.
Your goal: Make your event memorable and relevant to your audience. For an example of both, consider the annual 29Rooms event. Lifestyle brand Refinery29 partners with brands ranging from Cadillac to Dunkin’ Donuts to create an “interactive funhouse of style, culture, & technology” for participants to enjoy. Each room is co-designed and co-curated by Refinery29 and its partner brands, ensuring the individual experiences both delight attendees and remain relevant to each brand’s audience. Your budget may not extend to symphonic punching bags. But if you embrace the same principles, you’ll win over some new friends and turn your current customers into brand advocates.
Keep in mind that you’re holding your event in the digital age, so plan to incorporate social media-friendly opportunities into your events. Put up a photo backdrop for the perfect Instagram photo or even a video booth that connects to Snapchat. Consumers spend a lot of time on social media and are more than happy to share their great experiences. Socially savvy brands can easily turn customers into brand ambassadors by engaging with them on the platforms they prefer.
2. Suggest new ways to serve your customers.
The word “upselling” has a bitter taste for most people. It’s a technique that many associate with pushy sales reps trying to make commission off customers’ backs. When it’s in the interest of your audience members, however, it’s an acceptable method of encouraging them to enhance their purchase with something else. If the suggestion is genuinely helpful, it’s anything but sleazy.
You wouldn’t consider a fast-food employee shady for asking if you want fries with your burger. In other industries, consumers don’t usually consider an upsell negative if it benefits them. Be thoughtful in deciding when to suggest an upsell and what you offer when you do. If you provide high-dollar products or services, for instance, consider offering customers direct financing to offset the upfront cost.
That’s how Waterplay, an aquatic play solutions company, encourages customers to enjoy its most expensive toys. The brand’s partnership with commercial financing company Marlin Capital Solutions allows it to finance purchases in-house, offering customers rapid approval. Kerrin Smith, Waterplay’s vice president, says the move has been “an integral step in providing outstanding support to our customers around the world.”
3. Give customers the right new things to buy.
Despite the commonly negative association consumers have with upselling, it’s still easier to sell a new thing to a customer you already have than it is to develop relationships with entirely new customers. “Selling is the transfer of trust, so instead of relying on a sales pitch you’re comfortable with, focus first on building a relationship with the potential customer,” explains Wesley Mathews of High Level Marketing. Creating new products or adding services to your roster is a highly effective way to continue building relationships. But it’s important to research what current and potential customers need before jumping in.
Comprehensive market research can mean the difference between expanding your brand or killing its credibility. Develop realistic expectations about what would best serve your customers and whether you have the resources to provide it. Before you commit to a new development plan, verify your assumptions through exhaustive research and testing. For example, as Amazon was growing into a major conglomerate, it carefully identified customer needs before beefing up its services.
In addition to offering something of value, thoroughly researching your market can uncover ways to enhance your offering. Or you may find you don’t have the resources to see it through and need to invest in additional technology or fill a skills gap. You’ll need all the information you can get to develop new products and services that will succeed in generating new revenue.
You may not be aiming to become the world’s next big conglomerate, but increasing revenue is still vital to your business’s long-term success. To do so effectively, focus on appealing to more customers, meeting as many of their needs as possible, and using the data you collect to create new solutions they’ll be happy to invest in.