The Top 10 "Game-Changers"
to Boost Sales in Any Economy
- Over deliver -- In a world filled with businesses who have a "whatever" attitude, if you deliver more than you promise you will stand out. Give a little unexpected bonus or gift with their purchase. You will attract loyal customers like teenagers to an iPod sale.
- Increase customer service -- After purchase follow-up with your customer. Think of your customer service department as a marketing center. How many businesses even send a follow-up email or note to their new customers or check in with them? Do it. Your customers will love you for it. How do customers show their love? The buy, stay and refer other customers.
- Move your marketing budget to measurable methods -- Online marketing can be laser targeted, trackable and provides more bang for your buck. The Direct Marketing Association reports email marketing returns $50.45 for every $1 spent. This means if you only have $100/month to market, you could see sales of $5,045 if you spend it on email marketing.
- Re-contact previous customers -- Failure to follow-up with contacts and customers is the number two reason businesses fail. The average business loses 50% of their customer base every year. It costs 5 times more to sell to a new customer than an existing one.
- Build relationships with your contacts and customers -- When someone contacts your business for information or makes a purchase -- be sure to keep in contact with them. Sign them up for your newsletter, collect their email address and continue to provide them with valuable information to position yourself as the one they talk about when they say "I got a great person for that".
- Ask current customers for referrals -- You do not have to rely on organic referrals. Ask for referrals. Make it easy. Put a "forward to a friend" link on your website. Put up a sign all your customers see that says: "Know someone else who needs a great _________? Let them know about it and you both get a $50 Best Buy card when they become a customer." This is just an example, you can tweak it. The key is to make it so great your customers start thinking hard about all the people they could refer to get a bunch of those great gifts.
- Joint venture with other businesses to create offers to customers no competitor can match -- What businesses could you team up with who offer products or services that complement yours? If you are a plumber or a home service business how great would your customer feel if you left a wrapped sample brownie from a local baker or a single flower and card from a local florist on the counter when you are done? You could arrange with one of these kind of local providers to get these free or at cost in exchange for leaving their card with the little gift. Might cost you $2 at most per customer. What might that generate in goodwill, future business and referrals?
- Run a contest for customers and contacts -- You can run a contest to draw in customers. Use the joint venture idea above in #7 to get a bundle of prizes from other local merchants and create a win-win all the way around. Build the contest around your business. Own a small retail store or restaurant? Build the contest around your "solutions". Have your customers and contacts interact with what your products and services: a simple quiz about the products you offer, or a recipe contest to create a brand new desert you name after them.
- Write articles to establish you as a expert in the solution your contacts care about -- Use your articles to distribute them on your website, the Internet and in your print newsletters. Over time you build up a reputation, and a bank of quality content you can reuse to create booklets and helpful tip sheets your customers refer to again and again (don't forget to put your business information on them!)
- Give your marketing copy a makeover - Great copy increases sales, period. You cannot go wrong studying copywriting or hiring a professional copywriter.
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