by Yuwanda Black
"Darn, only three orders last week. What am I doing wrong? What can I do to increase sales?" If you've ever had this internal dialogue, then you're not alone.
Most small business owners are surprised to find that the real work of a web site is not in getting one, but promoting it. Outlined below are three surefire ways to increase sales without breaking the bank.
1. Promote, promote, promote: When was the last time you sent out a mailing via direct mail to promote your online presence? People have to know you exist in order to visit you online.
A postcard mailing is cheap and easy to do. It doesn't have to be elaborate or expensive. Visit web sites like vistaprint.com, modernpostcard.com, printingforless.com, etc. to get started. Sending out even a nominal amount (250, 500, more if you can afford it) on a monthly basis will increase sales.
Action You Can Take Now! Go to a postcard website and design a postcard mailer. Even if you can't afford to order it today, at least you will have designed it, will know the cost and can order it when you have enough sales to cover the cost. The point is to take action NOW. FYI, it costs nothing to design a postcard on vistaprint.com.
2. Stay in Touch: Do you collect the names of visitors to your site via automated software? There are many companies that offer software for this purpose. Software from Microsoft BCentral and ConstantContact.com are two I've used effectively.
Stay in touch on a regular basis. I recommend at least twice a month. And, don't make every contact a sales pitch. Remember, you are building a relationship. Would you want to talk to someone who is always trying to sell you something?
Via a newsletter, you can inform your customer base about things relevant to your industry that help them improve their lives. For example, if you sell ethnic dolls, you might pass along info on the history of the various types of dolls you promote, children's party ideas, tips for easy-to-make doll outfits, etc. The key is to keep contact timely and relevant. In this way, the next time your target needs your product/service, your company will be foremost in their minds.
Action You Can Take Now! If you don't already have it, add a subscriber box to EVERY page of your website. If you already have subscriber boxes on your site, to get even more subscribers, offer a free gift.
MARKETING TIP: Make sure the freebie doesn't cost you anything. People love helpful information. Great giveaways are free reports, evaluations, consultations, etc. Just make sure that it is pertinent to your industry and offers a real benefit to the recipient.
3. French for the French; English for the English: In other words, speak your client's language. If your audience is teenagers, then your literature and online presence should reflect that. If you are targeting married, suburban couples, then reflect that. How do you develop the correct tone? Use the sitting-across-the-table exercise. What is this?
Imagine your target market is sitting right across from you. What do they look like? Where do they go to school? What are their jobs? Where do they live? What do they like to do for fun? How much money do they make? The list is endless.
When this picture is clear, imagine how would you talk/relate to them? Even if your product/service crosses a myriad of audiences, you should always speak to your "core" audience. Who are they?
Think of these as your die-hard fans. Every bit of advertising your business does should be done with them in mind - not peripheral customers. Now, go over all of your marketing literature. Is it fragmented, or does all of it speak to your core audience?
Tip: Write like you talk, not to impress. However, observe proper grammar and spelling rules. Phoniness can be sensed, even in the written word. Be sincere, polite and earnest in all of your communication. I guarantee that if you do these three things on a consistent basis over a period of months, sales will increase.
Action You Can Take Now! Go to your website and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite with your core audience in mind. Pay particular attention to your home and product/service pages.
Yuwanda Black is an Author/Instructor/Speaker,
and small business expert who advises others on how to achieve the
dream of working for themselves. She has written and published
numerous small business articles and press releases
in promotion of
her ventures. Her current venture, EthnicVendors.com is an
online shopping portal and catalog distributor for ethnic goods and
services. It is a subsidiary of EthnicHomeDecor.com.
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