Business Strategy

8 Ways to Increase Your Revenue Now

8 ways to increase your revenue right now - short term strategies for small businesses to make more money now and avoid the summer slump!

With the ebbs and flows of business throughout the year, summer tends to be a slow time, but that doesn’t mean we can totally slack off until September! If you’re feeling the summer blues and wondering what you can do to keep bringing in the $$$, I’ve put together a list of 8 easy ways to make more money in your business right now without spending a ton or launching something completely new. With these short-term strategies, can avoid the summer slump, and increase your income – or even take a vacation of your own!

8 Ways to Increase Your Revenue Right Now

1. Run a Sale

A lot of people talk about discounting as a negative thing to do for your business, but I don’t think it’s necessarily bad if you’re trying to bring in new customers or clients. If you position your sale a limited time opportunity, you’ll get people to act now rather than later. This is a great way to get rid of excess inventory if you have a product-based business and encourage get your audience to purchase something before it’s gone for good! Earlier this summer I did this with a couple of courses that I was closing by offering them at a discount before they were closed for enrollment forever. 

2. Offer a Limited Time Bonus

If you don’t want to discount your products or services, you can incentivize new purchases by offering a bonus or a bundle for people who are going to purchase from you. This is where handy ‘buy one get one’ offers come in. Or tell your clients if they book a consulting session, they get a free eBook or a gift card toward a future purchase. With this strategy, you’re not just selling products, you’re giving your customers something in addition to motivate them to act now.

3. Announce a Price Increase

If you’ve been in business for a while or you’re expanding your offerings, you can give your audience the opportunity to hire you or purchase something at your current rates before they go up. This definitely increases customer interaction because everyone wants to feel like they got a deal. I recently raised the prices for the Styled Stock Society and a week prior to raising the prices I let everyone know it was going to happen, so whoever wanted to join before the prices went up had the opportunity to do that!

4. Add a Tripwire to Your Sales Funnel

A tripwire is a low cost ‘easy yes’ offer that helps you turn a lead into a customer. It’s an item that solves a very specific problem in your target audience’s life. This could be something like a template, a sample, access to an archive, training, or content you’ve already created. It’s something that’s small and has a low price tag so someone would be excited to pay a small amount of money for something that has a lot of value. The idea is that once someone buys from you, they are more likely to purchase again. By getting them to buy the small offer you create an opportunity to upsell them a larger package or product. In the meantime, it’s an easy way to make money while you’re growing the know / like / trust factor with your customers!

Not a designer? (me neither!) – Bluchic’s landing page templates make it easy to set up your tripwire in minutes!

5. Offer a Popup Service

If you provide services, think about how your could take one specific part of your existing service offerings and create a mini version for a limited amount of time. You want this new offering to be smaller in scope and smaller in price. For example, photographers who offer portrait photography might do a smaller mini session with a specific theme. A health coach could offer a one week quick start meal plan instead of a 6-month program. A social media manager could create a limited time service like social media profile audits rather than their typical ongoing service. Popup services are a great way to introduce new customers to what you do without the pressure to invest in larger, more time consuming packages.

6. Run an Affiliate Campaign

If you have affiliates for your business, create a short series of emails to remind them how they can promote your business while earning money themselves. You might give them specific ideas on how they can promote your business with emails or social media updates. You could also provide graphics to help them promote your business and even swipe copy so you make it as simple possible for people to share how much they love your business! If you don’t have affiliates yet, you can still have brand ambassadors and even just business besties who share a word about your business you give them credit to your shop in return. Sometimes the easiest way to get new eyes on your business is by having other people promote it to their own audiences!

7. Update Your Evergreen Sales Sequences

First of all – if you don’t have evergreen sale sequences, you should definitely create them!  A lot of people will get their audience to subscribe to an email list and send them one thing and then… nothing. Research shows it typically takes at least 7+ touch points for a customer to feel comfortable with investing in your business. If you stop after one or two touch points then you’re missing the opportunity to reach people who want to potentially buy from you! Create or update your evergreen sale sequences and add additional automated emails. Think about what else you can add to them to help educate potential customers and also remind them of the products and services you offer. Remember – just because you sent one email three months ago doesn’t mean someone’s going to remember who you are today! 

If investing in costly landing page software like LeadPages is holding you back from creating sales funnels, check out Bluchic’s landing page templates for a more budget friendly alternative!

8. Ask for Referrals

Asking for referrals can be uncomfortable for some people, but if you’ve provided your clients with value, there’s no reason they wouldn’t want to refer you to other people who could also benefit from the same services. This is a simple strategy that most people don’t do! If you don’t have a system in place for following up with your previous clients, checking in to see how they’re doing, and seeing if they need anything else, you should put one in place – AND use this as an opportunity to get repeat business by asking them if they know anyone else who could benefit from the same service :)

So those are 8 easy ways to increase your revenue and avoid the summer slump! What other strategies are you using to make more money right now?

4 Elements Of An Effective Content Marketing Plan

Four elements of an effective content marketing plan - because you shouldn't be winging your marketing if you want to get results. Tips for female entrepreneurs and online business owners who are creating content on a regular basis to grow their brand.

Do you know why you create the content you plan to create?

So you publish a blog once a week and you post on Facebook every day, but what is your plan based on? Sometimes our plans are focused on the action we want to take, not the results we want from the action. The 4 elements of an effective content marketing plan force you to think about who you are actually speaking to, why are you creating the content you want to create, what the goal is of the content, and what you eventually lead to in order to grow your business.

4 Elements of An Effective Content Marketing Plan

IS IT RELATABLE?

I start every client call and every course I have by talking about how important it is to have a target audience (seriously, so important). If you’re not relating to your target audience, you’re going to have a hard time selling anything to them. When you get inside the heads of the people in your target audience, you can really understand what they want, why they want it, where to find them, instead of just selling to them.

Take Action: Make sure you’re connecting with your audience on a personal level in some way. Relate to your audience just like you would with a friend. You may be attracted to someone because you have a lot in common or because you are opposites and they are really knowledgeable in certain areas that you aren’t. If your audience is never saying things like, “I feel the same way,” or “You totally get me,” then they probably aren’t relating to your content and that’s a red flag.

IS IT ENGAGING?

If your marketing is boring or generic, you don’t have an effective content marketing plan.  You need to be engaging your audience by giving them things to care about and helping them in some way. If you are just talking at them and not talking with them, you are not going to be engaging them in a conversation or helping them care about what you’re saying. So ask yourself, “Why should people care?” Any time you share content whether it’s a blog post or a post on social media, think about why people should care. Are you sharing just to share or are you sharing because you have something valuable or entertaining?

Take Action: Talk to your audience and ask them what they’re thinking. What do they want? Speak to a specific person, ask them a question or try to figure out what they might be thinking or feeling, and create content that way. You’ll see what happens when you create content that engages with a specific person instead of trying to appeal to a lot of people and hope someone responds. If you hear crickets, then you’re not connecting with your audience and you need to figure out why that is!

IS IT ACTIONABLE?

While engaging is figuring out the why, making content actionable is the how. Once people care about your business and whatever you’re selling, how do they take the next step to work with you or buy what you’re selling? You need to tell them what is it you want them to do and how they can do it.

Take Action: Give your audience the call to action! Ask them to sign up for a free training, tell them to request a discovery call. With all the noise in the business space, it’s easy to overlook an opportunity and move on. You need that extra push of telling people what to do if you don’t want people to scroll away and move on to the next thing.

IS IT LIST-BUILDING?

If your audience is on social media, your blog, or YouTube, you don’t own your audience the same way you do with an email list. Social media algorithms are always changing. Even if people subscribe to your YouTube channel or follow you on social media, they only view a very small percentage of what you share. But email? Everyone checks their email. More people are likely to see your content via your email list than any social media platform, average conversion rates are higher, and YOU are in control of your email list.

I’m definitely not saying other aspects of your marketing don’t matter, but if email isn’t a part of your marketing strategy I would seriously think about getting started now (sooner is better than later). #trust

Take Action: You should have multiple ways for people to get on your email list. Not everyone is going to be attracted to the same opt-in. The more ways you have for people to opt in, the more they are going to do it. It could be a free email course, a challenge, a checklist, or free training like a webinar. There are a number of ways to get people to subscribe. Your email list will build your relationship with your audience and lead to that ultimate sell.

Is it time to revamp your content marketing plan? Download my free content planning worksheets to help you get started!

 

My Highest Converting Sales Funnel

Behind the scenes of my highest converting sales funnel - from how I came up with the idea, how I launched the membership program, how I set up the sales funnel, to tactical strategies I've used to grow my business.

A few months into 2016, I was brainstorming potential new revenue streams and I knew I wanted to create some sort of membership (because recurring revenue sounded like a good thing). So in June (after 3 exhausting back-to-back course launches), I was ready for something else and wanted to test a low-priced offering because up until then everything I’d offered had been $100+ – little did I know that this particular idea would lead to my highest converting sales funnel of the year!

MY INITIAL IDEA

The Styled Stock Society happened kind of accidentally. I didn’t have a specific membership idea in mind, so I took a look at my email list to see if there were any particular opt-ins that were more popular than others. I was actually surprised to see that around 1,000 people had downloaded my free stock photos during April + May, so I thought ok, maybe I could offer regular stock photos for a monthly fee.

I decided on a simple photo subscription. I wanted it to be affordable but I also needed it to be worth my time. I don’t plan for the Styled Stock Society to be my primary income stream, so my original goal was earning around $500 / month for about 8 hours of work (2 hours on planning + prep, 2 hours shooting photos, 2 hours editing, 2 hours on admin). Not so bad, right?

Initially, the thought of “selling” my photos made me uncomfortable (because at the time I didn’t even think of myself as a photographer). I thought I had to go buy a bunch of new props to take all these photos.  And I was worried that if I didn’t make everything “perfect” that no one would sign up and it would be a huge failure blah blah blah.

I was telling my husband all of this and he basically told me to just STOP overthinking and just create an minimum viable product (MVP).

Stop overthinking and just create a minimum viable product.

To create an MVP, I basically just needed photos + a way for people to pay for them + a way to give them access to download the photos after they paid. I was hesitant to invest a lot of time or money without knowing what was going to happen, so the only props I bought were pink peonies ($16 at my local deli) and I used other notebooks / pens / etc. that I already had. All of the June photos were pink / gold / black / white because those are my brand colors, and I figured worst case scenario, if no one bought the photos, I could still use them for myself!

DURING THE “LAUNCH”

So without creating a fancy sales page, and without setting up a new membership site, I pre-sold the idea by sending 2 emails to the people who had previously downloaded my free stock photos. The first email announced the membership details with a special pre-launch offer ($25/year – which is crazy low, but I wasn’t confident that anyone would buy at all) and the second email reminded people that the pre-launch offer was ending.

I sent 2 emails and ended up with 72 members in that first week…

So I doubled the price.

For the next couple of weeks, the payment options were $25 for 6 months or $50 for 12 months. I essentially sent the same 2 emails to the rest of my email list with one announcing the new payment options and one reminding people that the offer was expiring and ended up with an additional 78 new members before the end of June.

In total, during the launch period in June, I launched to approximately 3,000 people and 150 people joined the Styled Stock Society during the launch period. That’s a 7.5% conversion – which was really surprising since most of my courses have previously converted around 2-3% – but I also took it as a sign to raise the prices again!

TESTING PRICING OPTIONS

Over the next couple of months I tested a few different pricing options – I gradually raised the prices and offered a combination of monthly / quarterly / 6 month / 12 month memberships. Knowing that I was spending 2 days per month on Styled Stock Society related activities, I doubled my income goal to $1,000 recurring revenue per month and tried to find the best combination of pricing options that would maximize my conversions AND my revenue. Currently there are 2 pricing tiers ($45 for 6 months and $75 for 12 months) – the most popular plan is the 6 month option which isn’t really surprising – even though the 12 month membership is a better value, having a sub-$50 price point for the shorter term options is more attractive to my particular audience and I’ve been pleased with the results and revenue so far.

SETTING UP THE SALES FUNNEL

After the initial launch period, I knew that if I wanted to continue to attract new members on a consistent basis I needed to have a process in place to attract and convert potential customers into paying Styled Stock Society members. I set up a really basic funnel that consists of:

A) An attractive free offer – 10 free feminine styled stock photos

B) A landing page – I also have a simple landing page to share the free offer.

C) A promotion strategy – I link directly to that landing page linked in all of my social media bios. I mention the free photos on Instagram once every 10 days and I have regularly scheduled posts on Twitter / Facebook that link to that landing page. I also have 2 different pins on Pinterest that lead to the landing page and those are re-pinned to my own board and group boards on a regular basis. I share the free photos in Facebook groups for bloggers / online business owners (though to be honest, I’m not at all consistent with that). 90% of my promotion is promoting the free photos and not the membership itself because I want people to download the free photos and end up on my email list where I can share more information with them over time! I also have affiliates for the Styled Stock Society who earn a commission for referring new members, and occasionally I offer other incentives for current members to share how much they love their stock photos on social media.

D) An automated email sequence using ConvertKit – The day after new subscribers download my free stock photos, they receive an email introducing them to the Styled Stock Society membership. I give a brief overview of the membership sharing the key features + benefits as well as share a preview of the photos that are currently available to members. A couple of days later I send a second email with answers to membership FAQs, examples of how you can use styled stock photos for your business or your blog, and brief testimonials from current Styled Stock Society members. This is an incredibly simple email sequence (though at some point I will probably add a third email), but for now, this simple automation is converting around 8-9% (meaning 8-9% of people who receive these emails end up becoming Styled Stock Society members). Sometimes simplest things are the best.

Sometimes the simplest things are the best.

E) A time-sensitive offer – As an incentive to join the Styled Stock Society, I have a time sensitive offer “pitch” included in my email sequence.

TACTICAL MOVES

While this particular income stream is fairly passive – I’ve also tested a few marketing tactics to see see if I could make small “time” investments that yield not-so-small results.

  • Flash sales – I’ve done a couple of sales on 6/12 month memberships (but never the lowest tier) that have been successful at growing the Styled Stock Society membership. I don’t like to offer “sales” too often, but once in awhile they are can be very effective – for my birthday, I held a 24 hour flash sale on 12 month memberships and increased my (average) monthly revenue by 40% in less than a day!
  • Bonus offers – If you don’t want to run a sale, offering a bonus can also be an effective sales tool to convert potential customers who are on the fence. Around Labor Day I ran a special promotion that basically meant any new members received double the amount of stock photos than normal because they were given access to a previous month’s collection. It was an easy bonus to offer since it required no extra work on my part, but increased my membership by over 30% that month. In November, I created an bonus collection of holiday-themed photos that was “gifted” to anyone who joined before Thanksgiving and that was so successful that I’m now planning to offer quarterly seasonal collections throughout the year.

TWEAK + REPEAT

I’m regularly tweaking my automated sales sequence as well as thinking about ways that I can add more value to the Styled Stock Society while keeping it affordable (and well worth my time)! Since Styled Stock Society launched (just over 6 months ago from the time this post was published), I went from having no sales page whatsoever to having a separate website with information on the Styled Stock Society membership as well as a SHOP and separate services page for custom photography.

Now with hundreds of members (consistently growing each month!), this funnel has been converting higher than any other system that I have in place, and I’ve doubled my membership goals again and again (and again) over the past 6 months. If you’re interested in learning more about the Styled Stock Society, you can learn more about membership options right the way! 

 

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