A good sales strategy is essential to any company trying to compete in the market. You could have a top-tier product with a competitive price, but if no one knows what it is or why they should buy it then you’re still headed for trouble. How to increase sales is therefore a significant concern for any business.
It’s not enough to create a sales strategy when you launch a product or business and then just let it ride, either. There are numerous market factors to contend with and these factors change frequently. Some things that can impact your sales include:
- New competitors
- New product launches from competitors
- New product launches from your company
- A competitor leaving the market
- Raw material availability and price fluctuations
- Brand reputation
- Market trends
- Changes in SEO best practices
- Fluctuations in the economy
There are many ways that the market can change, and most of them are out of your control. This means it’s important to constantly monitor your sales performance and re-evaluate your sales strategy on a regular basis.
While having low sales is a major reason to change up your strategy, it isn’t the only one. Maybe a competitor analysis suggests that you’re underpricing your product, or your competitors are offering something you aren’t. Or you want to grow your business and are looking for the most efficient way to do so. Or maybe you want to enter a new market that requires a different sales approach. Regardless of your current needs, there are many strategies you can adopt in order to increase your sales.
- Understand Your Customers
Making a good product is important, but it will be more likely to find success if it’s developed and marketed with your customers in mind. Creating a buyer persona is useful here: consider who your target audience is and, if possible, collect data about your current buyers. Useful information includes:
- Industry (if you’re selling B2B)
- Job role
You can survey your customers to get this information, via forms on your site or conversations with salespeople. You can also collect data on how they move through and interact with your website. This will help you determine what your customers’ needs are and how best to sell your product to them.
Knowing your customers’ pain points can also help you improve your sales strategy. Once you have that information, you can focus your marketing on the ways that your product can relieve those pain points. You can also create new offers or develop new features in order to make your product more appealing.
If price is a significant pain point, you can emphasize the ways in which your product could save them money, or offer a bundle or coupon that will provide more value for less expense. If your product is viewed as complex or confusing, you can direct your sales team to devote more time to explaining it during sales calls, or create free written or video tutorials. Or you can develop a simpler version of that product for those who don’t need as many features. By providing targeted relief to customer pain points, you create a compelling reason for people to buy your product.
- Increase Sales by Targeting Your Current Customers
It can be considerably easier and less costly to sell to an existing customer than to attract a new one. Entice them to make another purchase by creating special coupons and other promotions just for returning customers or by creating a loyalty program. You can also create personalized offers such as birthday discounts or promotions based on their purchase history.
Loyalty events are another way to reward customers and keep them engaged. Sneak previews, early access, and free trials can make customers feel special and encourage them to purchase something “exclusive.” They can also be a good source of early reviews: your current customers are already inclined to think well of you and your products, and having reviews available when your product launches to the general public will encourage others to buy it as well.
You can also make the most of your current customers by increasing cart value per person with tactics such as bundles, recommended items, and additional services such as a warranty or installation service. Highlighting something that pairs well with the item your customer is currently purchasing is a good way to convince them to spend more while providing added value.
- Ask for Reviews and Testimonials
Customers will often trust reviews over marketing copy and other materials. Positive reviews will give new customers more confidence in your product and can sometimes provide them with information beyond what’s in the product description, such as how a piece of clothing fits on a particular body type or whether an item works for a specific use case.
Prompt customers to leave reviews by sending them a message some time after they’ve made a purchase, or by offering a discount or other benefit as an incentive. If your products or website aren’t conducive to e-commerce style reviews, you can reach out to some of your clients for testimonials and create a section on your site to display them.
Even negative comments have value. Listen to what your customers dislike or have trouble with and consider how you can mitigate or eliminate those problems. This can improve your product and your customer service, thereby helping you to increase sales.
- Encourage Referrals
As with reviews, people trust referrals from associates and friends. Word-of-mouth is a valuable tool for bringing in new customers. Consider asking happy clients to refer other people, or put in a referral plan that offers a discount or other bonus. You can also encourage referrals by referring other business to your clients, if appropriate. If your clients see you sending business their way, they’ll be more inclined to do the same for you.
- Up Your Customer Service Game
Strong customer service can have a big impact on customer loyalty and repeat purchases. If you don’t provide a certain level of service, customers are likely to look elsewhere for their needs. And if you provide high-quality service, you’ll gain an edge over your competitors.
Some ways to improve customer service:
- Make sure the customer can easily reach someone when they have a question or problem. Contact options should be easy to find on your website. A chatbot can be used to provide 24/7 access to support.
- Respond to customer inquiries in good time — assign a person or team to monitor and reply to messages.
- Offer free guides, demos, or consultations on your product.
- Curate useful articles, videos, and other content on your site and social media.
- Review Your Prices Periodically
It’s important to evaluate your pricing in relation to both your own expenses and your competitors’ prices. Over time, you may find that fluctuating costs have impacted the margins on one or more of your offerings, and you might need to charge more or be able to lower your prices. Competitors also change their pricing strategies, and new companies enter and leave the market all the time. By monitoring your competitors’ prices, you can determine whether you’re being undercut — or undercutting yourself. This can also reveal whether there’s a market niche that’s going unfulfilled, perhaps for a high-quality product at a higher price point or a lower-cost, more bare-bones alternative.
Lower prices aren’t always better: sometimes customers will take low prices to mean low quality, and will seek out a higher-priced alternative. Similarly, your prices need to be able to cover your own costs and provide you with a reasonable profit margin. Increasing sales might mean selling fewer units at a higher price, even though that can feel unintuitive.
- Make Returns Frictionless
How you handle returns can make a difference in terms of sales. A clear and straightforward return policy will give customers more confidence to make a purchase that they’re not 100% certain of, making an impact on purchase decisions even if the customer never actually returns anything. And if they do need to make a return, a difficult or frustrating process will make them less likely to buy from you again in the future.
If you’re able to, consider offering free shipping on returns. This removes one of the biggest barriers in the return process and will make customers happier. A fast and efficient return process will also make customers more inclined to give your products another try.
- Audit Your Content
Review your website, marketing content, and any other written materials. There are many questions you can ask about your content:
- Is this information up to date?
- Is this information clear and concise?
- How good is our SEO?
- Does our product copy focus on product benefits over product features?
- Is our content relevant to our target customers? Does it help them in some way?
Good SEO is an important tool to bring visitors to your site. A high search ranking gives the impression that you’re an authority in your field, and prevents your site from being buried several pages back in the search listings. Once visitors reach your site, clear and informative copy is essential to capturing interest and keeping them from leaving.
While it may be intuitive to focus on the features and specifications of your product when writing marketing copy, it’s actually more effective to focus on how the customer benefits from it. While customers need to know what your product does, the selling point is how it will improve their business or their personal life. Once they know how it can benefit them, they’ll be more interested in reading about its features.
Blog articles and other written content are a valuable way of bringing visitors to your site and establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. Content that is interesting and useful to your target audience and optimized for SEO will draw in readers and can use CTAs to send them to relevant landing pages on your site.
- Make Use of Social Media
Social media provides a way for customers to find you, a place to share your products and your content, networking opportunities, and a platform for advertising campaigns. Develop a presence on the social media platforms favored by your target customers and ensure that your profile has relevant information about who you are, what you do, and what’s important to you as a business.
If possible, make sure you’re present on more than one social media platform — not all of your customers will be in the same place, and you want to reach as many of them as possible. Keep your content consistent across platforms, but tailor it to suit the style of each one.
Many social media platforms have a lot of information about their users and allow for targeted advertising campaigns. Taking advantage of these features allows you to put your brand in front of the people who are most likely to be interested in it, and analytics features will let you track your success and adjust your campaigns as necessary.
Understand Your Market
How to increase sales is a challenging topic with a lot of different answers. It’s important to look at both internal performance and external factors such as competitors, market factors, and consumer demands in order to identify things that might be hindering sales as well as opportunities for growth. Know your target customers, make sure they know you, and tailor your offerings and messaging to address those customers’ needs.