The two things that every business has in common no matter what service or product they may be selling is 1) They need to make (more) money and 2) They need to reduce expenses. This is true for every business no matter what they sell, who the customer may be, what part of the world they are located in, or any other factor that can be imagined. Every business struggles with the balance of revenue that can be generated, while managing costs included in their product or service based on the cost of goods, labor, rent, shipping, and any number of other charges and fees involved in getting that product or service to their customer.
While many of these factors are outside of the control of any business owner, there is still one thing that an entrepreneur can ALWAYS control to their advantage, and that is MORE SALES!! There are always things that can be done to more visible to customers, be more targeted in ads, be more persuasive in sales pitches. And with technology allowing for more user-friendly digital marketing platforms and practices, a digital amateur can easily dive in and start seeing results in online sales and marketing tactics.
Here we have compiled our list of top things (digital and non-digital) any business owner can do to increase sales without breaking the bank.
Leverage the Relationships with you Current Customers
Hands down the number one thing any business can do TODAY to foster future sales is to take good care of your current customers. They are valuable, they are trusted, they are loyal, and they likely feel the same way about you and your company. Think about it from their perspective – they have shopped around, have researched you and your competitors, they asked questions, made a purchase, and assuming they liked it, you never heard from them again.
Typically, when a customer is unhappy you will hear about it, unfortunately, it doesn’t always apply the other way around. But that is ok because that is essentially your job. Reach out and ask them for feedback. What do they like best about the product, and how often do they use it? Is there something that could be done to make it better? This can be done with a follow-up email, a simple survey, or even a phone call. If you can get this feedback from a current customer, it could be invaluable when pitching your product or service to a new customer. If there is a way to broaden your range of services or utility of your current product, you become even more essential to their lives or careers. That increased value shows them you are there for the long haul and people like to feel like they have made a good decision by supporting a company that truly cares about them.
Here are some helpful stats to make the point:
- 80% of future sales will likely come from 20% of your existing customers.
- Repeat customers typically will spend an average of 30% more than a new customer.
- Existing customers are 50% more likely to try out your new products.
- Studies show that 65% of sales will come via existing customers.
- The likelihood of selling to a new client has a conversion rate of 5-25%, while conversions from existing customers are 60-70%.
Run Great Promotions Often
Everyone loves a deal, and people are always looking to save money. Consider why loyalty rewards programs are practically ubiquitous these days for what seems like practically every company you shop with everywhere. The business wants to keep the customer returning to spend money with them, and a customer likes being valued to the point of earning freebies for their spending loyalty. Jump in on this and start capturing those extra dollars now, it will add up quickly.
These can be setup up monthly, quarterly, or whenever makes the most sense for your customers, your product or services, and your business. Maybe you run a winter-themed clothing store, you probably don’t need to incentivize people to spend with you when it’s cold out, as the demand for your products will automatically drive them to seek you out. But maybe a few months prior and as the seasons start to change makes more sense to get in front of them as they start thinking about those purchase decisions.
Whatever the rhythm is that works for you, you must keep it consistent so that you begin to train your customers. They will start to look forward to them, and the more a customer is excited in anticipation of your promotion or sale, the better it is for you. Think of the Black Friday example – people lined up for days outside of stores in hopes of saving money. If you can get a customer excited for your next sale or promotion, you can almost guarantee they are going to share that info with their friends and family, raving about the great deals they have discovered from that great business across town. This leads to our next example of the power of the referral, often referred to as the most valuable word of mouth praise a business can ever receive.
Initiate a Referral System
Smart business owners don’t wait for good reviews, they proactively ask for them and incentivize them. Establish a customer referral program and offer existing customers free products, free upgrades, or additional ongoing services for referring new customers or leaving positive reviews online. Word of mouth is still the most trusted form of marketing for any business, and the number of online review sites paired with social media makes this approach easier than ever.
One of the most immediate ways to increase sales for your business is by increasing the number of positive reviews you have on Google. Consumers trust what other customers say and often use those reviews as a key factor when choosing a business. Positive reviews will also help you increase your business’ star rating that is seen next to your search result on Google, which is always a good thing for increasing customers and sales. The best part about setting this up is not difficult, or expensive, but the results can be extraordinary.
Making it Easier to Spend More Money with you
This is an interesting tactic because it can actually be applied in a few different ways. From a technology point of view, having an easy-to-use website, with one-click purchasing, etc. can all be used to make the process of the shopping experience and the transaction smoother. But, for this example, we are going to focus on the concept of increased spending capture or bulk buying. Said another way this is the tactic of creating packages, bundles, bulk deals, discounts on large orders, and more. Think of the shopping experience of buying at Costco, where everything comes in bulk packages, and often more than one shopper typically needs, but the cost of purchasing in such bulk justifies the extra items because of those savings. Consider using this tactic for your own company, creating scenarios for customers to utilize your products or services as a more comprehensive buying experience where they know they can save on bulk purchases or multiple items purchased together.
Obviously, some companies will have an easier time figuring out ways to combine services into a package or multiple products into a bundle, but it’s a worthy exercise, nonetheless. If it is not so obvious to put together similar services or products together, look at ways of putting different things together that allow your customer to get a great deal while checking multiple things off of their to-do list. Your customers will appreciate the convenience and savings of the entire experience.
Or opt for the tactic of offering discounts for high volume orders or purchases. We have all seen these – “Buy 4 get the 5th one free” or “Get 10% off when you spend $100 or more”. When you think about it, we actually see these everywhere, and it’s because these offers work. If your customer is going to spend money on something somewhere, they might as well save a few dollars by spending that money with you right? Every customer is looking for a better deal and will likely choose to spend with a business that provides them good quality AND good value. Sometimes this tactic can be considered a loss leader, where a business offers a small discount to get the customer in the door for purchase, anticipating they will spend more during that visit, and return again to purchase again and again. In the end, this is worth it and the stats at the beginning of this article only help to validate that.
Make Sure you have a Targeted Digital Approach
Up until now we have focused on utilizing non-digital tactics to target and attract more customers to look at your business and consider purchasing or working with you. But a well-rounded marketing approach will certainly include effective digital tactics a well. This can be a slippery slope, however, as there is a fairly low bar for entry for most digital options for marketing these days, but to really energize your footprint and drive sales, the costs of services can really add up very quickly. Here are our suggestions for things to consider to ensure a dynamic online presence.
With more than 2 billion users on Facebook, it is safe to say that social media is a valuable tool for any business to get acquainted with, if not already. The great thing about social media as well is that there is seemingly no end in sight in terms of existing or newly added platforms. While this can feel like an overwhelming and daunting feeling, the main thing to remember is that any business can take advantage of this multitude of options to be present in front of their target customers.
The first step is really to identify the right platform for your product or service, as the easiest example is to say the average user of LinkedIn is far different from the average user of Snapchat as they are vastly different platforms. There are countless resources that can help you to make this decision, but our focus will be once you have decided on one or multiple platforms, and some tactics and strategies to get you started.
Make Sure Your Social Media Profiles are Dynamic and Complete
Consider any profile you set up for your business a mini version of your company website, as that is essentially what it is. Consider that for many people the first time they will come across your business could very well be on social media and you want to make sure you make a good first impression. Each profile should clearly convey who you are, what you do, and what values you stand for. Since you might not be on their radar for long, make sure you immediately resonate and connect with your ideal customer.
Go to Where Your Customers Are
Social media platforms are treasure troves of information on customer behavior, which means getting the attention of your target buyer can be set up to go after them like a laser beam. Once you have worked to define this, you can easily use sales or promotions to communicate with your ideal customers, in real-time, and on their turf. Frame your message correctly, or in other words – not too sales-oriented – and you can end up with a very effective social media strategy that brings in new customers, provides great customer reviews, and spreads your message faster, farther and cheaper, than you could ever do with just traditional marketing.
Create Great Content
Lastly, we want to touch on content marketing, a creative and fun way of engaging your audience that has proven extremely effective in both the traditional and now digital space. Think of content like blogs, newsletters, videos, infographics, and so much more. It is basically anything that a consumer can read, watch or look at. What makes good content is when it is so good the reader just has to share it, and what makes great content, is when it is easy to share. This is basically the dynamic value inclusion that digital content provides. Start by writing a blog, host it on your website, then share it on your social channels, and include a teaser in your monthly emails. The more you ensure your content is relevant to your customer, the more valuable it will be considered and the more you will establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Wrapping up right where we started, reiterating the need that all businesses have for more sales. But the final takeaway is that this doesn’t have to be an expensive process. With some creativity and attention to the fundamentals, anyone can start utilizing the free tools around them to start making an impact on their customer and their bottom line. Whether you are on a limited budget or just trying to be more effective in your approach, use these low-cost sales and marketing tactics to improve existing customer relationships, rev up your promotions, create a dynamic digital footprint and realize increased sales.