April 26, 2019

With the second quarter of 2019 well underway, there’s still an opportunity to develop additional growth strategies for this year, but it will take a well thought out plan to execute. There are several areas you can choose for growth, however this article covers three very specific steps that can prove to help generate increased revenue for the businesses that consider and implement them.

Build out a formal referral program.

A lot of data suggests that customer referrals are a significantly effective, but extremely underutilized. Specifically, 91 percent of customers would give a referral, but only 11 percent are asked. As consumers are offered different subscription model services, referral programs allow your customers to help you grow by becoming a brand ambassador for your company. It might seem to take time for the program to catch on, but our current culture likes to get insights from family and friends, before anyone else.

When building out this new program, there are some important considerations, such as the main benefit of referring. You can offer a free classifieds ad to be used within the next 3 months for Garage Sale or Services categories or first access to popular local summer family event coupons. This can also include offering local partnerships with floral businesses to offer a free bouquet for Mother’s or Valentine’s Day or even discounted dry cleaning, and your advertisers can choose the option according to the quota available. Another benefit can be offering a free one month print subscription for current digital subscribers that referred their family and friends. Similar to cell phone companies, you can alternate benefit options according to higher and lower seasons.

Once the plan for the referral program for the sales team, a very important aspect for sustaining the program is balancing the load with part-time or seasonal staff to help verify the details of the referral benefits confirmed and solidify customer relationships by dealing with calls and emails. Make sure that your staff offers mainly one benefit for each period of the referral program. If you offer all options at once, it would be harder for the customer to make a decision or not see the clear value.

Streamline your signup process.

The more technology gets into our every day lives, the more streamlined we want all processes to be. Many users want websites to easily recognize their access and just login to get their needs done. A single fingerprint tap, and the world is literally at your finger tips.

One of the main things you will want to try to do is reducing the amount information you require and collect during sign up. Initially test all your marketing and trust-building messaging and see which welcome page gets better results. Do not treat your sign up form as a database to capture a lot of demographic, interest and behaviour data. Once you get the customer in, using your services and getting access to information, you can always send reminders to build out their profile for better customized flow of information. This can be offering sports pages first before editorial, if they consider themselves to be a sports buff; while other customers might want the crossword to be one of the first pages. Allow digital previews to be customizable in the PDF version and allow customers to save their selection. Above all, do not forget to include security badges throughout your website, which will improve your sign up rates. Data protection and site security are high ranking for all customers.

A new take to your sign up process can be to integrate a live chat within your website. Depending on the length of inactivity, this can mean that the customer needs helps or advise. Live chats are now a must for many service providers, as it is less intrusive and less work than contacting your company over email or phone call to speak to a representative. This strategy can be combined with your referral program team. Customers can easily close the window or actually chat with a live representative and ask any question.

Other options to include in your sign up can include offering different pricing options, such as only weekend or morning/night time access to your digital content. Maybe some customers only have time to read in the morning and do not login again till the next day, this can be a way to get their interest to sign up for a specific package. With many digital books and reading material, you now have audio options. While driving or on the train to work, some customers might want someone to read out the article that interest them from the editorial. If you have a newspaper app, this might be an easier option to add to the features.

Consider a broader geographic reach.

This might be a very straightforward strategy but sometimes many publishers might miss  to reach some smaller areas in their community. Without doing a new research about your local neighborhoods, specifically trends and changes in the current demographics, can impact your revenue growth. Many publishers just keep everything in a manageable territory, while focusing on other things within their marketing and sales budget plan.

Tasking some of your staff to look into expanding your current distribution channels might be a more beneficial step than you think. Some of your direct competition might not be giving some local areas much thought, but looking at the bottom line to cover the additional distribution cost, might be worth the cost to double potential sales. Do not assume anything, until proper investigation has been done and potential evaluated. Once possible opportunities are assessed, a phased approach to ensure that all facets of requirements are addressed and tested.

Your geographic reach can be offered both in print and digital options. Your website articles and classifieds SEO description or keywords can also include geographical locations in smaller areas that you want to reach. It can also include looking into tourism trends and offering special digital subscription discounts to out-of-state areas that might be interested in following your editorial and news. Utilize social media to tag geographical locations in your posts and comments, to be able to link to possible travellers about upcoming summer events happening in your local area. This can also be achieved by editing your digital reach profile.

Whether your print and digital projects are newly launched, ready for grow, or mature and steady, a thoughtful implementation of these growth strategies can help you succeed well into the future.