Sales are the lifeblood of any small business. Increasing sales translates into increased customer interest and relationship building. The methods of increasing sales have changed dramatically over the last few years with the rise of the internet and social media. Here are the best techniques available today for improving small business sales:
- Relationship selling. Over the last few years, research has shown that people are more willing to buy from brands that they feel a personal connection with. Creating and nurturing relationships with customers makes them feel valued, which in turn makes them want to support your business. The best way to build relationships with customers is to show that a business is run by people, not a faceless corporation.
- Use the web. Social media can be a gift to small business owners. It is a cost-effective way to begin immediately building relationships with customers, without a middleman. Everything done on social media is free advertising, so take advantage of it. Begin funneling funds for print ads into Facebook, Instagram, and web ads instead.
- Define your brand. Customers want to connect with businesses that they can easily identify with. That means creating a business brand that people want to be a part of. Selling outdoor supplies? Create an adventure-loving explorer persona and tap into the wanderlust market. Identify and define your brand clearly.
- Advertise “small business.” These days, people are becoming more aware of how they spend their money. They want to move away from buying from big corporations and instead support small businesses. Don’t be afraid to advertise that you are a small business, especially in your local area. When customers purchase from your business, they will feel like they are supporting a community that they are a part of.
- Offer deals. Promotional deals and events are an old trick of the trade, but they work just as well today as ever. With the internet and social media, there are more opportunities to publicize deals and entice customers. Don’t be afraid to make a little less on a good deal if it opens your business up to new customers who will come back for more.
- Give out freebies. Everyone likes to get stuff for free. Create online contests to create a wider customer base and promote your brand. Even if customers don’t win the free prize, you will have a new connection with them and the possibility for future sales.
- Create a loyalty system. This goes back to relationship selling and helps nurture community. It can be as simple as giving a free product after a certain number of return sales to your business or offering sneak peeks at new products. Give them something that lets them know you appreciate their continued support.
- Email marketing. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing approaches today. Once a customer arrives on your landing page, entice them with a discount for signing up for your newsletter. You now have regular and direct contact with those customers.
- Partner with other businesses. The best way to succeed is to work together. Find another small business whose products complement your own and create a marketing deal. Offer a contest together or put on an event. You have now doubled your potential customer base and sales.