What makes a small business successful?
Is it a great product or service? Or maybe the team behind the business? Or plain old relationship-building tactics?
Whatever the case, we can all agree on one thing — running a successful small business is a challenging task in 2023.
Most small businesses struggle to get things moving in normal times. Top it up with the global lockdowns during the pandemic! And even though the world has moved on from the pandemic woes, a lot of small business owners are still waiting to take their revenues and sales to pre-COVID levels.
What can they do to increase sales?
Some believe if they do everything right and maintain relationships, their business will boom. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the sales will grow with time too.
If you want to make sure that your business is as successful as you want it to be, you need to know how to effectively promote your products/services to grow your sales revenues.
In this blog post, we’ll cover a few tips on how to increase sales as a small business owner. Let’s dive in.
- Create packages and offer deals or free trials
- Benefit from complementary partnerships
- Engage in relationship selling
- Optimize your Google My Business listings
- Host local community events
- Start an affiliate marketing program
- Seek feedback from existing consumers
- Know your audience
- Generate word-of-mouth publicity
- Structure your local SEO strategy
Tip #1. Create packages and offer deals or free trials to attract customers
Just imagine. You visit your local ice cream parlor, and it’s free to try out new flavors. Naturally, you’re tempted. You try a few flavors, end up liking something, and before you know it, you’ve bought a whole pint.
This strategy works marvelously for any business!
Your customers want to try your product/service before they buy it. They want to experience, understand, and explore before they spend their precious money on something.
Instead of telling a prospect about how good your product/service is via your website, pamphlet, or email campaigns, your solution does the talking in case of a free trial, deals, and bundled offers.
We especially love product bundling! When you create a bundled offer, consumers enjoy the ‘extras’ they’ll be getting from their spending.
You can create bundled offers by:
- Combining similar or complementing products in a single package.
- Creating thematic bundles or boxes (like Christmas-themed decor boxes).
- Offering discounts on bundled purchases.
Mixing and matching offers, bundles, and discounts will also give you more chances to upsell, re-engage, and retarget your existing customers.
Tip #2. Benefit from complementary partnerships
“Buy One Shampoo and Get a Conditioner for Free!”
Saw such offers in the grocery aisle of your local Costco or Walmart? They’re a perfect example of complementary partnerships. Similar to the fast-moving consumer goods industry, you can even explore partnership opportunities locally:
- If you’re a garage owner, you can partner with a local car wash.
- If you’re a retail gift shop, you can partner with a local baker.
- If you’re in apparel and accessories, you can join hands with a footwear seller.
The point is — you should always see other companies as an opportunity. Even if someone is into the same business, they always have a different set of clientele, reach, and expertise.
You can use complementary partnerships to upscale your operations and sales. Here are a few ways you can execute this plan:
- Build a custom package, bundle, or joint product together.
- Get into a referral marketing agreement.
- Co-sponsor events and reduce advertising and marketing costs.
As a small business owner, such partnerships bring several benefits, as you can see below.
Brand collaboration is a great way to enhance your brand image and show your customers that you value them.
Thoughtful collaborations will keep your customers hooked, and they’ll keep coming back for more. Top it up with entry into new customer segments, and you’ll see how such partnerships make you a winner.
Tip #3. Engage in relationship selling
Every small business runs on trust and relationships. But how do you engage with your customers and nurture relationships without being spammy?
It’s simple. Give them something valuable at regular intervals.
While you can’t keep giving freebies every other week, launching a useful resource can be a wonderful strategy to boost your credibility and even sales.
For example, creating a newsletter establishes your authority and gives you a chance to stay on top of their minds. Think about the pain points of your customers, write them down, and find a way your product/service can solve their problems by sharing your expertise via a newsletter. Pick up a common theme around your business and share tips, resources, and occasional deals/coupons that they can avail.
You don’t even need to do that manually. Once you have a prospect’s email address, you can use email drip campaign software like Snov.io Email Drip Campaigns to stay in touch with them. With it, you can build long chains of automated email sequences so that your prospects will get your follow-ups based on their reactions to your previous emails.
Remember, don’t be spammy and over-promote your solution. Instead, try to add value to your subscriber’s life, and you’ll see them reaching out to you whenever they need something.
Need a resource or refresher on newsletter best practices? Here’s a detailed guide on launching newsletters that people love to read.
Top #4. Optimize your Google My Business listings
The most significant chunk of your sales as a small business comes from local residents and the community.
Naturally, you should focus on being discoverable, and what’s a better way to do that than being on Google?
64% of customers use Google My Business (GMB) to find business information like addresses or phone numbers. Having a GMB listing gives you a chance to attract a local audience via search.
Just putting your hoarding up on GMB won’t help much. The key is to keep it relevant through contextual updates and optimization.
Google gives several free features for small businesses to leverage the GMB platform:
- Increased visibility in Search Results and Google Maps for optimized profiles.
- Offer posts and updates to give customers and the general public a heads up about what you’ve got to offer.
- Communication and messaging features for customers to directly contact you.
- Business review feature to let customers share their experiences and let others know about how good you are.
Make sure to complete your full GMB profile, including your name, address, phone number, photos, and more. GMB profile completion is an important ranking factor, ensuring that your business is always on the first page, ready to be discovered by your customers.
Tip #5. Host local community events
We can’t stress it enough: community is a strong pillar of support for any small business, so reciprocating support through community events is an excellent idea.
But how do you make the community interested?
Well, a thoughtful event is enough to keep people excited. Here are a few ideas you can get started with:
- Live thematic events: Host a local fair around a particular theme. For example, if you’re a local baker, think of foods that would make people come to you.
- Contests: Host in-store contests for kids and parents where they bond, learn, and have fun. Don’t forget to give away your branded merchandise to the winners.
- Workshops: Have a skill people would love to learn? Host workshops and enroll local folk to learn the tricks of the trade.
- Sampling events: Offer free samples at a local fair, giving people a chance to experience your product/service without commitments.
- Charity events: Sponsor a philanthropic event to get much-needed attention.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg!
Tip #6. Start an affiliate marketing program
Why not encourage others to be your salespeople?
An affiliate program pays its members a certain percent of commission on every successful sale. As per industry statistics, affiliate marketing is the top customer acquisition channel for 40% of the merchants in the US (including small business owners).
You can motivate current customers and the general public to advocate your business by launching an affiliate program. All you need is an affiliate management platform and a decision regarding just 3 things:
- Your commission rate: What you’ll pay your affiliate marketers.
- Terms & conditions: The basic conditions of signing up and operating the affiliate program.
- Tracking mechanism: How you’ll track all sales.
Remember, be generous in your commitments to affiliates! Only then you’ll be able to attract marketers who are ready to promote your business’ products/services.
Tip #7. Seek feedback from existing consumers
We all know people trust their family and friends more than any company.
No wonder asking for reviews and referrals is extremely rewarding for any small business. In fact, referred customers are 18% more likely to be loyal to your brand.
In the day and age of social media and the internet, asking for referrals is not that hard. All you have to do is ask a few of your loyal customers to introduce your products in their circles, and you’re done.
If you have a website, you can even have a dedicated landing page with incentives for each successful referral. And if someone introduces you to others, they can be rewarded through deals or coupons.
Tip #8. Know your audience
As any business owner, the least you can do is to know who you are selling to.
You probably have seen great salespeople tweak their offers by understanding customers’ needs. They stay in touch with their customers throughout the years, just in case they’d buy from them again someday.
Similarly, if you know your audience, you’ll be in a better position to stay in touch with your customers, understand their pain points, and give them an offer they can’t refuse.
Knowing small things about your audience allows you to make changes to your product line, pricing, offer, or sales strategy. At the same time, you’ll be able to cement a better relationship with your customers.
You can use technology at your disposal to gather more insights about your audience. If you already have a website or are thinking of launching a newsletter, as mentioned before, that would be a great start to researching your target personas.
A marketing automation platform like Encharge would help you kill two birds with a single stone. You can launch and manage a newsletter, segment your audience, use that information to create better offers, and increase your sales revenue easily.
Tip #9. Generate word-of-mouth publicity
User-generated content is one of the most engaging forms of online content. As a small business, you can also use this tactic to increase your sales.
Let’s use an example of a local eatery or restaurant owner.
They can ask their takeaway customers to click pictures or shoot reels to post on Instagram. Anyone who posts and tags their IG page would get a free dish or discount code for their next order.
Every time someone posts about them on their feed, they’d be promoting them to their followers and friends. If the product is tempting enough, others will also order from the same restaurant or eatery, boosting restaurant sales.
Plus, such a tactic would help you start an organic promotion channel for your business, which is always good to have.
Tip #10. Structure your local SEO strategy
Local SEO involves optimizing your website for local search, including Google Maps.
As a small business, you need to think about local SEO because shoppers always go online before making a purchase. Local SEO ensures that you are discoverable to local shoppers around your city of operations.
When thinking about your website and online operations, here are a few tips for planning your local SEO strategy:
- Add Google Maps to your website using embed API
- Ask for reviews on your GMB listing from your existing and new customers
- Create backlinks for your website and add links to your website on review websites like Yelp and other niche websites
- Create local citations (online mentions of your business) for your company on websites like Yahoo, Facebook, Yellow Pages, etc.
- Start content marketing channel and write relevant content around local keywords to create backlinks
You can also partner with local influencers, pitch to local media outlets for mentions, or even guest post on high-authority websites. All mentions and content you produce will add up to your authority, which will boost your rankings on local, regional, and national level, if done right.
All these tactics and ideas will bring compounding benefits to your small business in terms of increased recognition and sales.
Keep improvising, register small wins, and stay consistent with single (or multiple) tactics based on your bandwidth.
Remember, in the end, everything is about the relationships you build with your customers. If you crack it well and keep adding value, you’ll enjoy sustainable levels of growth for your small business for life.
All the best!