Increasing sales is a perennial concern for growing businesses. Digital startups and online businesses need to constantly pay attention to their sales pipeline and ensure that it remains well-stocked. Sales suddenly drying up could spell disaster and staff layoffs for your small business.
While you might already have a robust sales plan in place, have you really explored every possible sales avenue? As well as sales developments happening in 2018, you need to ensure that the tactics you use are diverse and adjusted for your business model.
Here are 5 quick tips you can use to start driving up sales for your online business without placing great demands on your time or finances.
Invest in your SEO strategy
SEO is a great sales channel in terms of CPA (cost per acquisition) and ROI.
Don’t completely neglect your organic search efforts in favor of ‘quick win’ strategies; SEO should be one of your core sales drivers as your company grows and matures.
While SEO can get very complex, the technical basics are very simple, yet can have a massive effect on how much traffic your website gets through search engines.
For example, do you have a well-reviewed and optimized Google My Business page? Do all your pages have compelling and unique metadata? How do your landing pages compare to the other search results? If your titles are bad and your value propositions don’t stand out, users won’t click on your website.
Here’s a checklist you can work through to cover the SEO basics. It’s fairly long, but you don’t need to do everything at once. Just do a couple of things whenever you have a little bit of time.
Keep investing in refining your SEO strategy and jump on any relevant niche keywords and industry developments as they emerge. In SEO, being the first market can be incredibly powerful.
Clean up your sales copy
Can you genuinely say that you’re 100% happy with every single word in your sales funnel?
Don’t stop your brand copywriting project at the first iteration, but keep pushing to increase on-page engagement, conversion rates, and converted leads. Copy is an important trust signal, and good copy will help drive sales years after it’s first written.
Start with an audit. Great copy can take a fair while to write, but it doesn’t take long to scan what you currently have. Read through the text on your website, especially on the homepage and product/service pages. How does it strike you?
Do you think “Hey, I trust this company! And, these products/services sound great!”?
If not, why not? Is there something missing? Is there a problem with what’s there?
You might be surprised by how often companies and online stores lose sales through basic copy problems. Typos, grammatical mistakes, missing details, unclear phrasing. Problems that don’t take very long to fix, even if you don’t have a professional copywriter at hand.
HostGator have a pretty convincing landing page that’s direct and clear, with just a hint of personality. Directly appealing to the user with terms like “You’re different. So are we” is a simple way to build trust.
And if you’re not hammering home the most persuasive points in a really obvious way, you’re playing a dangerous game. Turns out people don’t like to read very thoroughly online.
Get a killer sales landing page put together by copy ninjas and you will see a guaranteed sales uplift.
Get users to review you
We derive a lot of our confidence in a value proposition from what other people think of it. As such, if you’re not making a big deal out of every solid recommendation that comes your way, you’re more than likely missing out on some sales.
You might already have some glowing testimonials and customer reviews on your website; if so, that’s an excellent start. But however many you have, you don’t have enough. You need more.
The more comments, the better
If you’re not already seeking feedback at every opportunity, you should reconsider your sales process. Make sure to reach out to existing customers, clients and partners for comment, and keep collecting that information indefinitely. It’s enormously valuable.
Also, don’t overlook the presentation. What seems more persuasive: a small italicized comment at the bottom of a product page, or a big bold highlighted quote right next to the product image?
It’s the latter, of course, and enormously so. You want everyone to know about the positive feedback, and that calls for the website equivalent of shouting it from the rooftops.
Think about how you can use genuine user comments and video reviews throughout your sales process: in email marketing, feedback forms, social ads etc. The more community-focused your sales messaging is, the better.
Host a sale or give deep discounts
This one is straight from the textbook, but you can’t overlook the classics, and nothing can spark a speedy turnaround in fortunes like a sale. Opening up your sales strategy with an outlet or budget arm of the business can help you find new customers quickly and efficiently.
Seeing reduced prices does something magical to our brains. It sparks the fear of missing out, drives us to make purchasing decisions more quickly than we normally would, and grants the thrill of feeling that we’ve scored points in the eternal battle between retailers and consumers.
In most cases setting up temporary discounts for an ecommerce store is fairly easy. Online store builders like Shopify in particular have free or low-cost apps that make the whole process 99% automated, with social proof adding to the FOMO.
Now, it should go without saying that reducing your prices isn’t really a long-term solution (unless your prices are way too high, that is), but it’s a reliable way of drumming up interest without all that much effort. And think about whether deep discounts might be a way for you to offload unwanted or old stock.
Give it away for free
Free samples, that is, if you’re selling products. If you’re a service provider, then naturally you’ll be offering free trials instead.
And where should you be sending all that free value?
Why, to relevant influencers, of course!
Start by searching around for bloggers, stores, and companies in your market niche who rank highly in search for relevant terms and attract decent audiences.
Think you’d have success at an event? Give out samples (and your website address!).
Once you’ve identified them, reach out and offer them that wonderful free value. You needn’t plead for coverage; just say you’d like to get their opinion. They’re extremely unlikely to pass up the opportunity to get something free and have something new to write about.
This strategy won’t affect you immediately, but over time, as reviews and articles start to go up, you’ll see a boost in attention, and, if the feedback is positive (which it should be; don’t offer low-quality stuff), a boost in sales, too.
In the grand scheme of things, giving away a handful of free samples or trials won’t affect your bottom line, but it might well spur some publicity that does.
As well as having a great CRM system and sales pipeline, you need to be constantly thinking about new and innovative ways to make more sales. Giving stuff away for free, working with influencers, and investing in sales copy are just the beginning. Be ready to embrace automation and AI in order to help you scale effectively, and bring the sales process into close contact with your branding, content, and customer support efforts.
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