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Business Tips & Hints

You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising to direct more people into your business. Events provide a great opportunity for businesses on the Sunshine Coast to tap into an already captive market… our event guests! These people who often travel from around Australia and even internationally to our region for an event are always looking for things to see and do and places to stay.

In the section below we have provided some easy tips and hints on how you can entice and welcome more event guests into your business.

Event Stages

Pre-event
Promote to your database and social media followers
Distribute event dates and information through monthly / quarterly newsletter
Place event information on website and social media
Develop event packages and special offers
Brainstorm other ideas

During event
Put out the welcome mat – signage
Staff training
Staff uniforms
Promotion of special offers
Daily updates on social media – include photos
Brainstorm other ideas

Post event
Offer deals to encourage repeat business
Thank them for coming
Advise of future events through database and/or monthly / quarterly newsletter
Update event calendar on website and social media
Brainstorm other ideas

Marketing

Marketing
An Industry survey of Sunshine Coast businesses* showed that whilst 43% of businesses had a Marketing Plan which they referred to regularly, 57% either did not have a Marketing Plan or had one which they did not refer to. To support businesses across the Sunshine Coast, this section gives you all the marketing tips and tricks for leveraging the benefits of major and regional events.

Marketing Tips & Tricks
Tip #1- Choose an event – focus on event audience that matches your business offering, demographic
Tip #2 –  Contact event organiser – plan months in advance to attract people before they arrive
Tip #3 – Consider visitors your guests, roll out the welcome mat before / during their stay i.e. welcome sign in business on your website, social media pages, train and dress your staff
Tip #4 – Upload events calendar to website / social media providing regular updates i.e. dates, images , video which can be accessed via event websites
Tip #5 – Collaborate with your businesses, develop offers / packages or reasons for guest to ‘stay another night’
Tip #6 – Develop key messages, reasons, offers for guests to visit your business
Tip #7 – Work with accommodation houses to give guests reason / offer to come to your business
Tip #8 – Collect guests details who visit your business or website (enquiry, newsletter, contact forms) to create / build database
Tip #9 – Communicate to database through monthly newsletter upcoming events on Sunshine Coast, giving people reasons to come back again and again
Tip #10 – Work with SCDL, become a member,  to develop event packages to communicate to their 80K social media audience
Tip #11 – Download free Tools+ app – event calendar, event organiser details, latest event news, event friendly business network, latest event news
Tip #12- Keep prices realistic – provide guests with value for money event and destination experience so they come back again and again and again
Tip #13 – Contact event organisers to understand opportunities to display / participate in event i.e. stand, signage, sampling, handouts, offers
Tip #14 – Promote your business on the Offers+ app to attract more visitors before they arrive and give them reasons to come back again and again
Tip #15 – Focus on the lead in to the event and immediately after the event as visitors arrive early and leave later and are looking for things to do or buy
Tip #16 – Be event friendly – welcoming, key messages, displays, offers and giving guests reasons to return
Tip #17 – Join your local Chamber of Commerce to access information, collaborate on ideas / offers to welcome more guests to your area

How to better market your business
Develop a marketing or business plan specifically around events
Determine what you want to achieve from these events – be specific
Identify the target market for these events
Communicate and promote your business to them before they arrive
Collaborate with other like-minded businesses for these event

Website

Website
An industry survey of Sunshine Coast businesses* showed that close to 100% have a business website which is pleasing. Is your website working to drive enquiries and convert these to sales? To support businesses across the Sunshine Coast, this section gives you all the website tips and tricks for leveraging the benefits of major and regional events.

Website Tips & Tricks

  1. Home Page – does your home page clearly promote your business Value Proposition and prompt visitors to look further, take action and/or make contact?
  2. Great Content – creating regular, relevant, quality content that your visitors want to share and link to, will position you as an industry leader and raise your website’s credibility.
  3. Offer a guarantee – give people a compelling reason to buy from you and importantly, promote confidence in the quality of your product or service.
  4. Clear Call To Action – what do you want visitors to your website to do? You may want them to sign-up for an email newsletter, make a purchase, call for a free quote, download a file, fill out a survey or click to another page.
  5. Include a lead capture form – try to capture the details of every visitor to your site. A lead capture form enables you to build a customer email marketing list. The less amount of information you require a person to provide, the greater chance of converting that browser into a lead. Their first name and email address is enough to build a successful email marketing campaign. To maximise sign ups, include a compelling and relevant incentive for people to submit their email address. Examples include a giveaway, a discount on their first purchase, or the chance to win a free product or service.

Fast Facts
94% of Australian households have internet access (ABS)
77% of Australians now own a smartphone (Sensis eBusiness Report, Sept 2014) and 56% of Australian own a tablet device (Sensis)
55% of mobile users now use mobile as their primary or exclusive means of going online, an increase from 40% in 2013 (Inmobi Report, 2014)
53% of mobile users access the internet more than 5 times per day, with 1 in 5 accessing it more than 15 times a day (Sensis)

Source: Economic Profile, Sunshine Coast Council

How to improve your business website
Improve the conversion of visitors to your website
Have a strong call to action on your website
Create a lead capture form on your website
Use event information to regularly update the content of your website
Link events to your website
Ensure your website mobile responsive

Social Media

Social Media
An industry survey of Sunshine Coast businesses* showed that Facebook was clearly the most popular social media being used by businesses followed by LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. To support businesses across the Sunshine Coast, this section gives you all the social media tips and tricks for leveraging the benefits of major and regional events.

*Sunshine Coast Events November 2014

Social Media Tips & Tricks

  1. Create great content – keep it short, snappy, entertaining, newsworthy and involving. Keep it visual – images are much more engaging than text alone.
  2. Jump in and join the conversation – follow key influencers, other businesses and contribute to their posts.
  3. Tag or link to key influencers – tag people, businesses or places you mention in your content which provides them the opportunity to see, comment and share it.
  4. Share photos on Instagram – of yourself and staff. Make use of captions, and reply to photo comments using tags (@username) of the people who leave comments.
  5. Increase your Facebook likes – have cards, signs, posters in your business to ask people to ‘Like Us’ and give them an incentive or reward for doing so.
  6. Get your fans off Facebook – and onto your email list by giving them an incentive to subscribe to your email list.
  7. Hashtags # – help when people are searching for relevant topics, places, businesses or events and can be used across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you are posting about an offer related to a particular event, be sure to use the event hashtag, (usually found on the event website)

Fast Facts
65% of Australians use social media, 95% of those use Facebook
67% of those access sites on a smart phone
Nearly 80% of people that attended a regional event used social media, with 30% using social media to engage with the event before, during and after
Pictures on social media are between 30% and 150% more engaging than text alone

Source: Sensis Social Media Report May 2013

Improving your social media
Use events calendar to send regular social media updates
Research event hashtag and use in all posts relating to that event
Post photos during event of not just the event but your business and staff
Follow events on social media, comment and join the conversation

Database Management and Email Marketing

Database Management

Your customer database is one of your most valuable tools for maintaining relationships with existing clients and developing relationships with new ones. To support businesses across the Sunshine Coast, this section gives you all the database tips and tricks for leveraging the benefits of major and regional events.

How To Increase Your Prospect List

  1. A subscribe form on your website – sell the benefits and keep the form short.
  2. Subscribe links should always be included in your email signature and newsletters.
  3. Social media is a fantastic means of encouraging your audience to join your database – consider a subscribe form on your Facebook page.
  4. Point of sale – it can be as simple as asking, “Would you like to join our mailing list?” or adding “I would like to receive more information” check boxes on existing forms.
  5. Business card bowls – an easy way of inviting people to provide contact details with minimal effort. Give an incentive for customers to share their card, and ensure people know what you will use their information for.
  6. Tailored campaigns – the user must forward your email to receive a prize encourages existing subscribers to share your email.
  7. Competitions – a great way to give your database an instant boost. You will need to use all of your creativity to find a prize that promotes your brand, is relevant to your audience and stands out.
  8. Mobile technology and apps (such as email clipboard) can help you to add people to your database whenever you like using your mobile device.

Tips For A Successful Email Newsletter

Be committed
Send regularly (i.e. monthly) and ensure you have the necessary resources to put together a quality newsletter.
Keep it short and sweet
Use bullet points and images to keep it interesting.
Engage the reader by using “you” language
Focus on how the customer can benefit. (e.g. Have you planned your next holiday?)
Encourage new subscribers by creating shareable content
If your content is worth sharing, your readers are likely to share your newsletter with their networks
Respect your readers’ privacy
Include an unsubscribe button

Fast Facts
The information people are most likely to provide is:
-Gender (87% of consumers)
-Postcode (83% of consumers)
-Email address (78% of consumers)
Only 33% of consumers are likely to provide information about their income

Source: Australian Government Department of Communications, Digital Business 2014

Building your database
Determine how you can collect customer information during event periods
Reward people by having competitions or business card draws
Put a subscribe form on your website and social media
Commence a regular email newsletter
Make it easy for people to subscribe to receive more information

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty Program Tips & Tricks

  1. Customer loyalty is driven by discounts and special offers
  2. Loyalty Programs should offer incentives for customers to reduce their business switching by offering them better value
  3. Customers are most interested in what’s in it for them i.e. discount versus information about your business
  4. A reward can be an incentive to your customers for the privilege of collecting their data
  5. The more your customer spends with you the more information you are collecting about their tastes and shopping habits, allowing you to direct more relevant rewards towards customers
  6. Keep customer information up to date
  7. Allow customers to share rewards with their family, friends and other (i.e. charity, school, club)
  8. Build partnerships with other businesses, offering more choices, more benefits and collecting and sharing more customer data

Top 10 loyalty programes – Australia
Coles Flybuys
Woolworths Rewards
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Velocity
Myer One
Commonwealth Bank
Priceline
Accor
American Express
IGA

Fast Facts
88% of Australian consumers over the age of 16 are members of a loyalty program
80% will buy more from companies whose program they are a member of
55% will choose a product / company with a loyalty program over one without
Men are on average members of 3 programs
Women are on average members of 5 programs
80% feel that the discount is the most important value
81% consider personalised email the most preferred channel of communication

Source: 2013 Consumer Study Into Australia Loyalty Programs, Directivity and Citrus

Your Loyalty Program
Offer incentives for customers to return after the event is over
Communicate these offers before, during and after the event period
Partner with other businesses to offer more benefits.

The Customer Experience

Enhancing The Customer Experience
To support businesses across the Sunshine Coast, this section gives you all the customer service tips and tricks for leveraging the benefits of major and regional events.

How do you know if you’re providing good customer service?

  1. The customer is not in a rush to leave
  2. They ask your opinion
  3. You have repeat customers
  4. The life-time value of your clients or their average purchase is increasing
  5. You are making more profit

8 ways to create exceptional customer service at no cost

  1. Be the first to say Hello
  2. Smile in your liver
  3. Be present and remember names
  4. Listen to understand NOT to tell
  5. Be curious
  6. Genuinely care about your customer
  7. Seek a Win-Win solution for all
  8. Be clear on your role and the role of the customer in finding a solution
  9. Stay in touch regularly
  10. Your email newsletter is a great way to keep your customers informed about what is going on in your business and region. It also gives them a reason to come and visit again and again and again.

Customer Experience
Roll out the welcome mat
Go above and beyond
Excite your customers to stay a little longer

Fast Facts
It costs up to 10 times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing customer
In 2014, around 74% of surveyed Australians reported reading online reviews of businesses
Negative online reviews reduce the likelihood of new customers trying your business
30% of social media users post business reviews/ratings on social media

Sources: Queensland Government Business Portal, Sensis 2014
Your Customer Service

Make customer service a priority in your business
Use the events planning calendar to plan ahead for increased customer numbers
Develop things like special ‘event’ menu items to attract new customers
Offer ways for customers to provide you with feedback
Roll out the welcome mat
Go above and beyond
Excite your customers to stay a little longer

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