Any small business-owner knows the frustrations of trying to raise sales and increase marketing on a budget. Most new businesses don’t have a lot of money for such things, even though they’re crucial to the survival of nearly every business model. However, even if you don’t have a lot of money, there are lots of things you can do to help increase your sales. It may take some time, so you’ll want to be sure to prepare and organize yourself accordingly, but a strong communications plan, good networking skills and these three ideas are sure to help you build some new business and increase sales without spending a dime.
Use social media correctly
There are a lot of myths and lots of incorrect advice out there when it comes to using social media to increase sales. Even if you have a small following on Facebook or Twitter, this is a great way to help build your sales, increase brand awareness and reach out to new potential customers. The trick here is to not just use Facebook or Twitter as a sales tool, but as a communications tool. It’s there to help you open up the lines of communication with customers, both current and potential. Respond to everything that is posted on your page. If a customer posts a review, thank them. If a customer has a question, answer it. Keep the lines of communication open on social media, and you’ll quickly find that your own social media following will grow in response to your activity.
Another great way to use social media is to offer unique and original content for your customers. Post articles that your customers may be interested in, go behind-the-scenes and offer a glimpse into your organization that is not normally seen. A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule. That means you should only spend 20 percent of your social media time posting direct calls to action like “go to my website” or “buy my product.” The rest of the time you want to share interesting posts, photos, videos and other content that your customers are likely to find interesting and shareable.
Ask for help
It may seem like the simplest solution possible, and it really is. Your current customers are your best marketing tool. If you’re looking for solutions to increasing business, try asking your customers what they think might work. You’ve already built a relationship with them, so this is your chance to use that relationship to help you increase your sales. After all, your current customers already like your product and/or service, so they’re the most likely to help you find more customers. Ask them for referrals and see if they will give you a quote or two to use as a customer testimonial on your website or social media pages. Of course, be sure to get permission when using it, but it’s another great way to use your proven success to help build more success.
A seemingly counter-intuitive move, raising your prices can actually be very effective in increasing sales. Before you make any moves however, be sure to analyze all the potential pros and cons of a price jump. Then, as soon as you do decide to raise your prices, do it loudly. Make sure all your customers know that the prices will be going up, and then give them a chance to renew or sign contracts to log in the lower rate, before prices go up. You can even offer longer-term contracts and grandfather clauses to help your customers feel like they have a stronger connection to your business as they lock in that lower rate.
This article was written by Deborah Flomberg for CBS Small Business Pulse.