As limitless as the internet is with regards to marketing and sales potential for SMBs, it can be just as overwhelming. With a multitude of channels and ever evolving tactics, it can be quite daunting for a small to medium sized business to prioritize exactly what to do to boost its sales online in the short term. Sure, you understand you need to build a solid foundation on which to scale your online efforts in the long term but what can you do to effectively boost your sales starting now?
Following are the 5 such growth hacks that can actually help SMBs increase their sales online from the word go:
#1. Give Customers the Inside Scoop
Say you have a few buyers that are interested in purchasing those products for which you are about to launch a special promotion offer in the coming weeks. This is the time to guide and advise them to hold on to their purchase and wait for, say next week, when the special offer will be up and running so that they will be able to get a better deal.
From the off set, this might look like a risky strategy that will postpone an instant sale but just think about the positive impression that it will leave on your customer base. Not to forget, the word of mouth that will result from engaging in such selling practices. After all, there is no better sales and marketing strategy than word of mouth regardless of what new technology may come.
#2. Introduce a Customer Reward Program
With limited resources, one of the best things to do for an SMB is to get their customers to do their selling. One of the most effective ways to do this is by introducing a Customer Reward Program. Easy to setup, such programs are incentivizing customers for different actions that they may take in favor of your company. Basically, you have a point system and for every action which you determine such as buying, or making a repeat purchase or referring a friend, your customers can get points which they can redeem.
This is a tried and tested strategy for increasing repeat purchases and overall sales. A lot of big brands, in particular the airline industry has used this model to great success. The best part about this strategy is that it is highly scalable and that too at minimal cost and effort since your customers will actually be doing all the leg work!
#3. Leverage Deals and Coupons
People are crazy for deals and coupons! Not only do coupons work online, there are many different types of coupons that can even be redeemed instore. If you notice, most onlne ecommerce stores offer coupons. As a user gets to the checkout page, they will see a box that says “Use Coupon Code”. This is where they need to enter the coupon code in order to avail the deal that you would be offering.
There’s more to offering coupons than just enticing users into becoming customers. The real benefit of this strategy is that you actually get to increase your reach and distribution using coupon sites that have an extensive audience and massive email database to which they send out regular coupons.
By submitting to websites like Retailmenot you could actually reach out to millions of people. It would take you eons to develop that kind of an audience for your brand otherwise! Furthermore if you’re offering niche products, like say tech, then you could submit to a niche coupon site like Fatwallet or if your’re targeting mommy shoppers then coupon websites like Couponmummy.com can get you in front of the right audience. I’m sure you catch the drift!
#4. Get Word of mouth from Bloggers and Industry Influencers
As mentioned in point number one, nothing is better than word of mouth for increasing brand awareness and creating sales. That effect is multiplied when its coming from popular bloggers and influential people from your industry! People look at what other people are saying about the products they are looking to buy online. When a prominent or popular individual says something in favor of a brand or product, it does wonders to influence the purchase decision of your customers.
How can you go about this? Use Twitter, or better yet use Followerwonk, a tool that allows you to enter keywords that are relevant to your industry and search Twitter profile bios that are relevant. It even categories them according to their authority and influence. So you can easily find out who the top Tweeples are in your industry.
The second part has to do with offering them a free sample and ask for a review. Of course, if your product sucks, asking influencers to review it would have a mass negative impact. But if you’re sure what you have to offer is great then this is one of the best online marketing strategies that you could possibly think off and you can be sure that its going to have a serious impact on your sales.
#5. Incentivize and Encourage your staff to Upsell
When you think marketing and sales, most people focus only on the customer without realizing one of the most powerful forces that you have is in-house. You need to properly train and incentivize your staff to upsell to potential customers. You can do this by offering some kind of a commission or introduce a bonus scheme to reward them on big sales.
While this strategy is highly effective as a motivated staff leads to bigger sales, you don’t want your staff to be pushing to hard on this in the wrong way as that would actually drive away your customers. Make sure you train them with the right etiquettes and ethics of upselling to your customers.
While the list of things that you can do to increase your sales is limitless, these 5 quick ideas can get you started in the right direction. The good thing about all of the above mentioned strategies is that they are easy to start, cost effective to execute and highly scalable.
Have you had any success with such strategies? Do you have any other quick growth hack that SMBs can employ in order to boost their online sales? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Images: “Increase sales graph/ Shutterstock.com“
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