Every business brings its own unique needs and concerns to the table. Sometimes, it’s a matter of the industry. IT service businesses require different things than a natural gas drilling company. In other cases, it’s a matter of approach or location. After all, an Asian fusion restaurant in Chicago will face different hurdles than an Italian restaurant. Something every business needs, though, is sales. As a general rule, the more sales, the better. If your numbers aren’t where you’d like them this year, keep reading for four unique ways to increase sales.
1. Up and Cross-Selling
For most business or marketing majors, the terms upselling and cross-selling are old hat. Yet, many small business owners didn’t major in business administration or marketing. For anyone in that bracket, upselling means recommending an improved version of the product or service to customers. Cross-selling essentially means recommending complementary products or services to your existing customers.
So, let’s say that you’re buying a new car, the salesman might try to talk you into the deluxe package for that model of car. Essentially, they want you to buy the same product with extra bells and whistles. So, let’s say that you offer IT services, and someone signs up for the basic cloud storage option you offer. A basic upsell for customers would be more storage in the cloud. For example, you could offer them twice the storage and throw in a discount. That’s one approach to upselling.
You also see upselling, where instead of a better version of the product, you get more of the product. So, when a customer orders a pack of six of a product, you may recommend that they upgrade to a pack of 24. This works particularly well with consumables. Most people aren’t going to buy a backup TV to throw in the closet, but everyone knows they’re going to use up those paper towels eventually.
The idea behind cross-selling isn’t to drive sales of the same product but to drive sales of products that work well with whatever the customer is purchasing. So, let’s say that you sell kitchen products like pots and pans. The non-stick coating you see on a lot of pots and pans doesn’t react well with metal spoons and spatulas. So, this creates a basic cross-selling opportunity. When someone orders non-stick cookware, you can recommend wooden spatulas or spoons.
Look for upselling and cross-selling opportunities in your business. The odds are good that you offer better or at least bigger versions of your products. Also, give some thought to which of your products or services have a natural connection to each other.
2. Get Your Online Game in Order
More and more people are heading online to make purchasing decisions. They search for, select, and even order products and services without speaking with a human being or ever visiting a physical storefront. That means you need your online game in order if you plan on converting online visitors. Of course, that’s often easier said than done. The online world is big and complicated, which makes finding unique ways to increase sales easier, in some ways, but often harder to execute. There are some key areas you must focus on if you want to turn online shoppers into your specific online customers.
You must at least chip away at your basic website SEO. That means doing what you can to reduce page load times, smooth out navigation, and boost overall user experience. Of course, you also need to take care of the behind-the-scenes things that Google pays attention to, such as mobile readiness, tags, using secure HTTP, and having a readily accessible sitemap for the search engine to look at.
While related to your overall search engine optimization, you must also give some serious thought to your content strategy. One of the ways that Google decides who shows up on the front page for any given query is the relevance and quality of the content on the site. If you have no content or minimal content, it’s going to hurt your rankings. On the other hand, if you only have poor content or largely irrelevant content, that may actually hurt you more.
You need a plan for what topics you'll cover backed by solid keyword research. Ideally, your plan will let you build a solid block of closely related content that helps you build authority. That, in turn, will make search engines more likely to show your pages when people search using your preferred keyword terms.
Don’t neglect social media in your bid to perfect your website. Social media may not drive your search engine rankings very much, but it can drive traffic to your site and boost sales. Make a point to develop a profile on at least one major social media platform.
Incentivizing offers you several unique ways to increase sales because there are multiple paths you can follow. One of the ways you can do this is through simple sales and discount offers. Even here, though, there are ways you can get creative. For example, you can offer exclusive deals and discounts through your newsletter. This is a two-fold win because you often see an uptick in sales but get people signed up for your email list.
Another way you can incentivize people is by offering them personalized sales or discount offers. For example, let’s say that you collect birth dates when people sign up for your email list. You can use those birthdays to send out an exclusive discount for that person. You can even encourage them to share the discount with friends and family members. Sure, you take a little hit on the profit margin for each unit, but you’ll routinely make it up in volume.
You can also incentivize people with referral programs. There are many ways to set up a referral program. The exact type you pick will usually depend on your business model. A very simple version is that you give customers who make a referral, and the person they refer, a discount on their next purchase. It encourages existing customers to make more purchases and to refer others they think will make more purchases.
4. Modify Your Tiered Pricing Plans
A lot of businesses these days are pure service providers, especially online. If you’re offering pure services, there is a good chance that you use some tiered pricing plan. Many businesses with this pricing approach include a free tier. Granted, the freemium model can help you attract users in the beginning, but it’s ultimately a flawed approach. It depends on a steady influx of new customers, at least a percentage of whom will upgrade to a paid plan.
That model works great if there are infinite potential users out there. Unfortunately, there are not. There are a finite number of people on planet Earth. There is an even smaller number who speak the language your website or service primarily uses. Of those people, an even smaller number actually need your service or one like it.
Dropping the free tier can send chills down the spines of many business owners, but it can also prove beneficial. For one thing, it removes an ever-growing strain on your resources. It also encourages people to sign up for a paid plan. You can restructure your pricing plan so that the free version becomes an inexpensive version with slightly enhanced functions. For the truly cost-conscious who are used to using your service, the cheap tier will likely still look like a good deal. It's easier to pay a little and stick with what you know than start over with a new service and save a little money.
You may also want to experiment with adding more tiers. While the three-tier structure is popular, it doesn’t make it the ideal choice for every business. You might want to try out a five-tier structure. You still want the tiers to be different enough that people can identify the benefits, but it can improve your overall sales or at least your overall revenue from sales.
Increasing Your Sales
It’s the rare business owner indeed who doesn’t get a gleam in their eye at the thought of increasing their sales. Fortunately, there are several unique ways of increasing sales that you can test. You can embrace upselling and cross-selling. You can refine your online presence and offerings. You can incentivize your customers with deals or referral programs. You can also experiment with new approaches to tiered pricing if you use it. If you’re not feeling confident about where your business may be weak in its sales or marketing game, consider getting a free company report.