Sale, promotion and traffic are vital parts of any business’s success. But what types of promotion will actually be effective? How can a small business use promotion to boost sales? And can a business actually improve sales with old-fashioned marketing?
The real issue in many small businesses is that a large proportion of your resources are devoted to low-level tasks such as record keeping, admin, marketing and accountancy. These tend to get the first thoughts in the calendar, and often the attention of your sales team. But a lot of them also spend their time actually selling – so what are the best techniques to use when you want to boost sales?
This article will focus on 5 important types of sales promotion strategies.
1. Focus on customer retention over pure sales
Everywhere you look, it seems that business owners are obsessing over increasing sales.
But often we hear that sales management can be a bit of a Catch-22: you can’t spend marketing budget without sales income, but without sales income, you can’t really spend on marketing.
Yet successful sales management is still very much under-rated. For a start, it’s relatively simple to implement – for most businesses, the keys to the kingdom are customer retention.
Sales management is a crucial component of any successful business. Selling is about finding new customers, managing customer relationships and keeping existing customers happy.
Feedback is a two-way street
Soliciting feedback from your customers is a great for your business in two specific ways. First, it will keep your customers engaged in your business, excited and happy to have spent money with you. It may make them likely to buy again. It may make them likely to recommend to a friend. The list goes on.
Second, soliciting feedback is not only helpful for keep the customer, you can also use it to show the satisfaction of your clients. For instance, say you have a mailing list or a website and you want to include real feedback from your clients. This has now become a marketing tactic!
2. Revive your online presence
Most businesses have heard of search engine optimization (SEO), but many haven’t taken it to heart. The most effective way to spread the word about your business is through organic coverage about your brand. This gives your brand more authority than advertising or press releases.
In a nutshell, organic coverage is basically about having writers at reputable blogs do an article about your brand, review your product or service, or do a feature article on the owner in which they explain various aspects of the business. These articles help reach clients that wouldn’t have found your service otherwise.
Additionally, with enough organic coverage about your brand you will slowly build up a reputation online and when people search releated queries about your business or product, those online articles will be the ones that get to the potential consumer.
For more info on SEO check out this article or check out our website for information on how you can get organic coverage to your brand.
Once you invest in SEO it’s time to work on your website.
A little digital coloring on your website and promotional content can work wonders in terms of attracting traffic, so it’s a very cost-effective way to spread the word about a new product or service. Just remember not to go overboard with gimmicky images and ‘pop-ups’ – the worst things you can do in terms of SEO are get people’s attention (or indeed mine) without giving them any reason to come back.
Another technique, especially worth considering with a small business, is website customization. There are plenty of companies that would be happy to design a new website for you – it’s fairly low cost and low impact. Or, if you can create your own custom website yourself via WordPress. The key is to ensure that your website contains a very focused offering and that all relevant information is easily accessible.
Nowadays, all good businesses have a website and a social media presence. However, if your customers are under the age of 40, chances are they might not be online at all. In this case, it’s better to make the marketing online as much of a focus as the marketing offline. This means that your social media pages should be a lively, interesting, and engaging place to be, but if you can make your website work as a marketing tool as well as a social platform, you’ll soon see your customers logging in from all over the world.
3. Worldwide distribution
Latch onto someone big
The days of looking up who to buy your product from in a book shop or online are long gone. Products like Amazon now offer free next-day delivery for purchases above a certain amount – although don’t forget to factor in international VAT. Also, although retailers may no longer want to be tied into supplying your product, other businesses will.
Distributing your product with a big company like Amazon, depending on the product, can increase your sales tremendously since everyone and their mother uses this service. There is no shame getting on this train. However, there is no reason you can’t also look for other companies to latch onto and distribute your products.
Amazon can even provide storing spaces and take care of ‘red tape’ in selling laws internationally for different countries.
4. Distribute with a smaller company
For in-country shipping, you can of course use Amazon, however, there are plenty of smaller (yet still quite big) retailers to reach out to for selling your product.
When approaching a company that sells your product, make sure you make your intentions very clear. Make sure you let them know exactly how much you expect to pay. It might be tempting to ‘tip the scales’ so that you end up paying less than you initially thought – but your reputation will come under threat if you end up paying the vendor too much. They may have valid reasons for the price they’re quoting, so keep asking questions and building up a good relationship with your vendor.
Be ready to get a little less for your products or services when you’re dealing with a smaller company – particularly if you’re dealing with an online business. The difference in ‘time to pay’ between smaller businesses and bigger ones is enormous.
A lot of businesses will do the research for you – such as by looking at your bank balance and suggesting vendors in the area. Alternatively, many businesses may do their own price comparison, or go to a reputable company like Price API to do it with them for a small monthly fee.
We often recommend dealing with a smaller company to clients who want to buy products online – but we’re finding that there is an emerging market for smaller, higher-quality products. This is particularly true if you’re dealing with a larger business that doesn’t want to be tied into distributing or supporting too many products.
5. Be sure to do your research
Before you rush into a deal with anyone be sure to vet them thoroughly and if possible speak to them on the phone. You’ll also want to make sure to discuss with friends who have a strong sense of business which are the sales strategies they have found the most successful.
Avoid traditional advertising only when you have a strong plan of attack and means to track and convert those customers. Time and time again we’ve seen businesses and brands throw money into advertising without having idea what they are doing.
- Get hasty in making decisions about a business partner – no matter how good a deal it seems.
- Use advertising expecting good quality public relations work.
- Expect results overnight—it is a marathon, not a sprint!
Good luck with all your business endeavors! Check out our site if you would like more help in public relations for your business.