How to increase sales as a small business
As a small business, you understand the importance of building a brand through long-term, sustainable marketing strategies. But you need sales now to maintain operations, pay your employees and generate the funds you need to create that firm foundation.
There are many ways to increase sales as a small business now. But finding the best way involves exploring the methods at your disposal and how to effectively use them to cost-effectively and efficiently accomplish your revenue-generating goals. Let’s explore how to do just that.
1. Building a Social Media Presence
3.48 billion people around the world use social media regularly. Regardless of where your small business is located or who your target customers are, chances are that they’re on several of the big social media sites.
As a small business, you’re not expected to dominate all of these platforms. That would spread a small business budget too thin. But customers do expect a business to be present on social media.
The Analytics firm Global Web Index interviewed over 77 thousand social media users ages 16-64. They found that 29% primarily use social media to discover, research and find new products and companies. Social media does increase sales both directly and in indirect ways like:
- Building instant trust – The Internet offers a level of anonymity that makes it easier to mislead customers. Because of this, trust isn’t automatic, even among naturally trusting people. When people don’t trust, they don’t buy or may not spend as much. But seeing others interacting with your brand, sharing reviews and otherwise engaging builds trust.
- It makes communication easy. Customers contact you directly familiarly and conveniently. You seem more approachable and available to both help with the buying decision and solve problems.
- It turns happy customers into promoters. Social media gives your happy customers a channel to express their appreciation for your brand. This increases your overall visibility online, keeps you top of mind and helps new customers find you. This “free” advertising can help you save on your marketing budget.
All of this positive activity sends high-value traffic to your website. From there, use Google Analytics to see where they go and turn those visits into sales.
Tips to Increase Sales Through Social Media
- Completely fill out your profile.
- Explore all the business features and analytics that help you get the most out of your page.
- Generate social media reviews by asking for reviews after every transaction.
- Create and share content that helps people discover and research.
- Launch contest to get people excited about your brand.
- Showcase brand-related content created by customers and fans.
- If you’re a local business, find ways to incorporate local events, celebrities and locations into your posts.
- Avoid being overly promotional. Instead, seek to educate and engage.
- Be consistent. Plan some time each day to respond to messages, comment, share and be social.
2. Social Media Advertising
Reach your target customers based on their interests and other information collected by social media sites in accordance with privacy laws in your area. Depending on how you use social media advertising you can accomplish great things. Drive new customers to your website and increase the number of repeat customers. But social media advertising doesn’t just involve putting up random promotions.
Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Social Media Advertising Budget
- Set clear goals and build your campaigns around them.
- Learn about the different types of ads and how they help you reach various goals. For example, Like campaigns let a person know that one of their friends liked something on your page, which can influence brand affinity. Remarketing ads help you re-engage customers who’ve visited your website before, made a purchase, liked a post, etc.
- Target narrowly. Build several ads targeting a narrower group of customers to connect in a more meaningful way.
- Geo-target. Only target people who are likely customers in your geographic area.
- Create landing pages that align with your ads.
- Measure and optimise. If your ads under-perform on, for example, Facebook or Instagram, these platforms increase your ad costs. So it pays to keep ads relevant through testing, analytics and optimisation.
3. Google AdWords
Today, over half of all website traffic arrives through search engines, primarily Google. 35% of all product searches begin there. These customers are high intention, meaning that many are ready to buy now. So it stands to reason that you need to be visible in searches to increase sales.
And since it takes time for search engine optimisation (SEO) to increase visibility, AdWords allows you reach the top of search results now. In the long run, AdWords costs more than SEO. But you can quickly increase sales cost-effectively when done right.
Tips to Improve Your AdWords Campaigns
In addition to the tips listed under social media advertising,
- Learn about the Quality Score. Google charges as much as 400% more for ads that don’t maintain quality. Google defines “quality” by how well your ads perform. If people don’t click your ads, Google will see your ads as low quality as lower your score. If people immediately leave your website, that also suggests low quality.
- Align your keywords, ad copy, and landing pages with searcher intent.
- Exclude negative keywords that change the intent of a search. Don’t waste your pay per click (PPC) budget on people who aren’t your target customers. For example, someone looking for “free” or “cheap” bookkeeping may not be the ideal customer for your accounting services. You can exclude these words so that even if the query includes your keywords, you do not appear in these searches.
4. Local SEO
Chances are that as a local business, you primarily serve a smaller geographic area. And we’ve already established how important search engine visibility is to increase sales. Your local business must appear in these local searches to thrive locally.
Fortunately, Google’s algorithm favours local businesses in their local area. This gives Google’s customers (searchers) more relevant local options. It prevents large companies with monstrous marketing budgets from dominating in your local area. So small local businesses can take steps to optimise their visibility in searches performed by people in their local area even if they have little chance of ranking in those searches nationally.
How to Increase Website Visibility with Local SEO
Like “regular” SEO, local SEO is complex and requires ongoing maintenance. Your local competitors are likely also using local SEO strategies you’ll need to overcome. But the good news is that If you haven’t yet attempted to locally SEO your website, taking small steps can make a huge difference.
- Test your site. Make sure it’s fast, responsive, easy-to-navigate and mobile-friendly.
- Fill out your Google My Business (GMB) page as well as other local review sites. Ask customers for reviews.
- Update your directory information (Name, Address, Phone, Email, Website) also called NAP in industry, local and other directory sites. Make sure it’s consistent across sites.
- Clearly state your contact information on most pages of your website in a header or footer.
- Network with other local businesses, charities, news sites, industry organisations, and government entities to generate business mentions and hopefully links to your site. These mentions and links are votes of confidence from your local community. Google uses them to determine how authoritative you are in your local area.
5. Email Marketing
Permission-based email marketing involves acquiring permission from a customer to send offers and content directly to their inbox. Sending the right mix of highly-relevant content and advertising to a customer can increase sales, speed up the sales cycle and improve the lifetime value of customers. Email marketing can be very effective with a 40:1 ROI.
But, proceed with caution. Unsubscribing only takes a few clicks. If customers feel that you’re abusing the permission they’ve given, they’ll rescind that approval. So keep emails relevant and enjoyable with these tips.
Tips to Increase Sales Through Email Marketing
- Find a balance between direct promotion and education. Review your email analytics to determine what the right balance is.
- Add a clear Call to Action (CTA) button on your email. Direct people back to your website.
- Align your website landing pages with your email’s message
- Test email subject lines on smaller groups before sending out to everyone.
- Segment your email list to keep the emails optimally relevant. You can segment based on things like demographic information, location, purchasing history and more.
- Invest in automation that segments your subscribers and sends the right email at the right time. Automation takes monotonous, repetitive work out of every aspect of marketing and creates a level of consistency that most small business owners and managers have trouble achieving as they juggle their many roles.
Increasing Sales with a Comprehensive Strategy
As a small business, you focus on long-term success. But you need to increase revenues today to meet both short-term obligations and long-term goals. Because you’re working with a limited budget, you need methods that are both cost-effective and efficient. These digital marketing methods work together, increasing sales today and helping you grow your small business into the future.