11 entrepreneurs shared with me over 20 plus ways how to increase sales for small business owners in this multi-series post.
Often I write about marketing strategies you can use to grow your business and I love asking other entrepreneurs who’ve succeeded to share their winning strategies.
I’ve grown 2 separate million dollar plus businesses using completely different marketing strategies in each. I’ve also noticed in interviewing over 1000+ owners that everyone has a different strategy, though each share commonalities in their success stories:
- Successful business owners can clearly without any doubt explain their marketing strategy and how they’ve grown & adjusted.
- Top performers in small business take action, even when they clearly aren’t 100% comfortable yet.
As you read different ways how to increase sales in your business over the next few blog posts, the one thing I sincerely beg of you is to find a handful of strategies that you’re passionate about and take action starting immediately. You might not feel comfortable speaking publicly, you may not believe you can write well, you may not fully understand how to do direct mail…..but those who ultimately succeed in business know that the perfect time to start is now.
11 Entrepreneurs share How to Increase Sales for Small Business Owners
Sabrina Parsons | CEO | Palo Alto Software
Here are 4 different marketing strategies Small Business owners can use starting today to increase sales in their business.
- Create a sales forecast for the year, but set daily goals so you and your team are inspired to reach a goal every day. You’d be surprised how much easier it is to reach these goals when you write them down, share them with your team and create incentives for reaching them.
- Engage in co-marketing campaigns with other businesses that share your market. For example, we have a LivePlan customer who started a storefront where kids can create tee-shirts, socks, hats, and aprons in tie-dye. Her sales were slumping, so we suggested she create a package for families that included tickets to the local boutique movie house, as well as involving the local cafe to provide food. She was then able to create a half-day camp for kids and ultimately increase revenue all around.
- Local Small Business owners should start a blog to provide information and advice to potential customers. Writing a truly informative blog will build credibility and trust with potential customers.
- Looking at how to start growing your small business? Start using the email addresses that many businesses collect but never use. Send out a newsletter and special offers to your existing customers to tell them what’s new about your business. This is also a great opportunity to promote your new blog.
Here are 3 unique ways a Small Business owner can increase sales today:
- Bundle products together as sets and offer them at a slight discount from purchasing products individually. This will hopefully incentivize customers to purchase more product at reduced prices.
- Offer limited products or services on the top half of your small business homepage (every business should have a website), so that the page does not look too cluttered and the visitor stays focused.
- Make sure to get and add product reviews to your product pages for consumers to provide unique perspectives and additional feedback on the products. Product, service and business reviews both on your website and on review sites does wonders for your business.
Emily Griebel | Marketing Strategy Consultant | EHG Consulting
A unique way small business owners can increase sales is to choose a target audience that is very distinct from your competitors.
If you can find a slice of people with needs you can meet in a way that your competition cannot (and market this product/service effectively to them), you will drive sales.
Many owners feel they need to market to a larger audience, but this can actually cause your message to get lost. Focus on a very specific niche and market to them like your competition can’t.
Jeff Epstein | Founder | Get Ambassador
Word of Mouth marketing is a great way for a small business to increase sales.
In the past, a referral meant a loyal customer told individual friends and family members about your service or product in person. This type of word of mouth referral continues to be a consistent driver of new customers and growth for many successful businesses, but today word of mouth can mean much more thanks to the booming growth of social media.
The beauty of online word of mouth marketing is that it is no longer limited 1-to-1, but referrals can quickly and easily be made in 1-to-thousands or even 1-to-million increments on social networks.
Utilizing online word of mouth referrals is quickly becoming one of the most powerful business growth tools.
Jake Weatherly | CEO | SheerID, Inc.
As small businesses gear up to increase their market share, promoting exclusive offers in-store, via mobile and online should be high priority. However, offering a targeted discount, say 25 percent-off to military members, isn’t as simple as asking to see an ID.
In response, many small businesses are turning to verification software to do the legwork of vetting customers at point-of-sale for them.
These solutions enable small businesses to create truly exclusive discounts and protect their margins from fraudulent discount use. As result, verification software can complement and expand on current discount marketing campaigns, allowing small businesses to focus on targeting the most valuable consumer groups, boost revenues, grow their customer base and spark valuable evangelism.
Ryan Wallace | President | iPhone Antidote
Here are several marketing strategies we’ve used to increase sales for our business:
- Use unique promo codes to get more customers
- Use Google Adwords, or at least try it with a limited budget. This can be an excellent way to get new customers, especially if you have a business which is subscription based, or in which customers will come back to purchase again.
- Use referrals. Give your customers special coupons to give to others. These coupons can have a discount for the customers, and you pay the original customer $5 or $10 for the referral!
- Word of mouth. Tell all your friends, family, and everyone you know to spread the word about your website and talk about it in public.
- Always carry business cards. We buy broken iPhones. When we see someone on the street that has a broken iPhone, we give them a business card, simple as that. Jump on the opportunities you see.
- Buy PENS!! Pens are an excellent form of marketing. They get lost, they go places, and you can give them to just about anyone. Next time you pay your bill at a restaurant, leave your pen. Next time you sign a credit card receipt, leave your pen. Give pens to people to bring to their workplaces and put them in the pen jars. Watch the steady growth your company experiences.
- Whenever you mess up, make things spectacular. Nobody is perfect, neither is any business. When mistakes happen, overcorrect. If you underpaid someone, or overcharged them, do the opposite. If we were supposed to pay a customer $100, but instead paid them $50, pay them $150. Overcorrect and give them something to talk about next time they are out with their friends.
Gayle Carson | Owner | Spunky Old Broad
Here’s 2 Marketing on a Shoestring Budget tips for Small Business owners looking to see an increase in sales fast.
If you can begin giving programs to the local community, business and civic groups, it gives you great visibility. I grew a business from nothing to 7 offices and 350 people by doing that.
I also suggest writing special reports, e-books, a regular book, articles, columns, even Letters to the Editor. These get published and establish you as the expert in your field. I just signed a client who had read an article of mine in her mother’s assisted living facility newsletter.
I know this touches on two fears many people have–that of public speaking and the ability to write, but you can speak your writing work into a recorder and transcribe it and do your speech from bullet points. Both are very effective.
Ron Hequet | Entrepreneur & Speaker | Profit and Cash Strategist
I have created a list of 7 action items (note the word action) below that when executed, will
enhance any opportunity for sales and profit in both the short and long run for a Small Business owner:
- Over Communicate; by having multiple, enthusiastic, engaging and positive contact with customers and prospects, you will either get more business now, or be first in mind when they pull the trigger.
- Create Experiences; get past presentations, consultative selling creates experiences.
- Get a Mascot; like Disney, find a way to identify (market) your organization with a celebrity / mascot / small friend, or create your own icon.
- Beware of Common Sense; breakthroughs require you to question historically based biases to find new opportunity.
- Avoid perfection; good beats perfect.
- Don’t Correct Weaknesses; determine what your one or maybe two major strengths are, and build on that.
- It’s Not on Sale; if you make buying your product or service about price, your success or failure will be determined by a negative relationship and turns yours into a commodity.
Another powerful bonus lesson I’ve learned is that offline marketing is enhanced by online interaction. The prudent synthesis of hi-touch, face to face business building and technology, facilitates more frequent, personalized communication and is the secret to delivering a superior prospective customer experience.
Stuart Wall | Entrepreneur & Founder | Signpost
Getting found and making your small business stand out to local consumers is key. Making sure your business information is up-to-date on top directories and social platforms like Yahoo, Mapquest, Yelp and others is huge.
Next, business should promote there specials online to get more exposure and revenue.
Lastly, it’s highly important to stay in front of past customers to get repeat purchases. Remarket to your previous customers to bring them back to your business and create word-of-mouth. You can do this with automatic customer messaging with email and/or social media channels.
David Carmell | Founder | C-Suite Advantage
I am often asked by business owners how to (re)grow my business. Most would like to jump to the finish but to get there it is very important to determine your starting point or where you are in the businesses life cycle. In other words, it is key to get your house and priorities in order so you position yourself for success. Here are 4 things to consider:
Determine: WHO’S GIVING THE ORDERS? Clients tell me: “All I’ve got are order-takers. Fix the problem.” To which I reply, “Who’s giving the orders?” Once that’s answered, then you find out who the leader is, what is resonating and how to fix the problem.
Determine: How Committed are you to growing the business. Without solid commitment and consistency, it is a waste of time.
Determine: Does the compensation system match your commitment? Are you saying one thing but rewarding another? Get everyone on the same page.
Determine: Are you outcome focused? How are you and your people spending their time? You need to be focused on a solution and then make sure it is prioritized and rewarded accordingly.
Determine: Have you solicited your people for their opinions? Vendors? Clients/patients? You need to validate your model and bring others into the process that have a vested interest in your success. Allow for, and yes welcome, outside input. Remember listening is a skill. You do not have a license on brains and customers and vendors vote, which allows you to be in business. These are all constituencies that need to be satisfied and can help carry your water for you.
These are but a few of the initial tools to help you build your growth team and transform your business. Remember, when you’re excited and have a solid plan in place that allows others’ input, you now have a contagious winning formula that should spread like wildfire.
Richard Storm | Business Owner | New You Photo New York
I have found my sales increasing dramatically from posting everywhere under the sun with blogs, ads and relevant linking back to my website.
I use lots of social media as well as LinkedIn to show what I offer. At the end of the day, I treat my photography business as a corporation as opposed to a flighty art project. This builds confidence with prospects and makes the sales cycle much easier compared to my competition.
There you have it, 11 entrepreneurs share more than 20 ways how to increase sales in your small business today. This is part 1 of a multi-series post where several entrepreneurs share their top business growth ideas.
What tip are you looking to implement today and do you have any marketing strategies you’d like to add?
Please share in the comments below and if you know an owner looking for creative ways to increase sales today, please share this with them.
Wishing you Entrepreneurial Successes!