3 Ways to Increase Small Business Sales

There are only three ways to increase sales in your small business. I know what you’re thinking. There are more than three. Well, that might be true, but I’ve grouped them under these three ways to give you a framework for thinking it through.

The three ways are:

  1. Attract new customers
  2. Increase customer frequency
  3. Increase the average sale per visit

Seems easy right? It is easy, but it’s not that simple.

Let’s dive into each one and the strategies to help you accomplish each of these objectives.

1. Attract new customers

I don’t care how old your business is, there are always opportunities to attract new customers. The good news is there are always new people are always moving into your area. New housing brings new people to the area. Have you seen some new home developments pop up recently? New homes, townhomes, apartment complexes? Chances are, yes. And sadly, there are probably people who have lived in your area who have never even visited your business, despite how long you’ve been there.

Strategies that work to attract new customers include:

Facebook and Instagram advertising. Chances are you’ve tried a few boosted posts – which I don’t recommend. (See article on this here). You have to leverage the incredibly powerful ad platform called Power Editor that Facebook has to reach your customers, in hyper-targeted ways. For example, you can target people on Facebook who have a birthday coming up in the next 7 days, people who specific health and fitness interests, people who have upcoming anniversaries, people who like spas, diet and weight loss pages, BBQ lovers, newly engaged couples, craft beer enthusiasts, people in a particular income bracket or who have expense purchasing behavior and more.

The targeting can be very specific, and for a campaign to work well, it might need to be. Instagram is now part of the FB ad platform, and the engagement rate on Instagram is second to none. If you don’t have an engaged presence on these two platforms, you’re missing out on the most potent way to attract new customers.

For example, you can target people on Facebook who have a birthday coming up in the next 7 days, you can target people who buy catering, those with upcoming anniversaries, BBQ lovers, newly engaged couples, craft beer enthusiasts, people in a particular income bracket or who have expense purchasing behavior and more.

Instagram is now part of the FB ad platform, and the engagement rate on Instagram is second to none. If you don’t have an engaged presence on these two platforms, you’re missing out on the most potent way to attract new customers.

2. Increase customer frequency

Getting customers to come back to your small business, again and again (and more often) requires a separate mindset and strategy from attracting new customers. It starts with great food and great service. We all know that. I’m assuming that’s a priority for you and something you take seriously. Keep the bathrooms clean too, people stay away sometimes just because they know the bathrooms aren’t pleasant. And the great food and service won’t take precedence. I’m assuming you have your priorities straight and it’s time to get smarter at marketing to customers who have had a good experience. We don’t just want them to come back, we want them to come back more frequently.

Strategies that work to increase customer frequency include:

Wi-Fi marketing, Email marketing, SMS (Text) marketing, Facebook, Instagram. Wi-Fi marketing companies, like Zenreach, have taken off this past year because of their innovative Wi-Fi marketing solutions that tie in email and SMS into their platforms, all of which help retain customers and increase customer frequency.

If you aren’t adding hundreds of emails to your small business email database (through creative social media marketing campaigns and in-house promos to get emails) then you are missing out on a major piece of the retention puzzle. And SMS, Text marketing? Well, keep in mind that the Gen Y and Z prefer text over email…so, what are you waiting on?

Keep in mind, having these tools are great, but if you don’t have a good Wi-Fi, Email and SMS strategy, your retention won’t be what it should be and your frequency won’t increase like it could if you had one. I’ve seen small businesses invest in these tools, and then they don’t know how to maximize them to get results. That doesn’t increase sales.

What about Facebook and Instagram? Of course, it’s powerful for keeping in front of fans and existing customers as well. If you have an email list (and you should), you can also upload your email list to Facebook and market to those customers – which can help increase customer frequency as well. Facebook Live video and Instagram stories should also be part of your marketing mix and retention strategy – and if you don’t know what these are or how to use them you are already being left behind.

3. Increase the average sale per visit

Yes, you could raise your menu prices. That’s one way, but there are other ways as you already know. I’m often surprised how many small business owners don’t leverage the time they have with the customer while they are in the business. They’ve already decided on you and your business, and they are already spending money.

Strategies that work to increase the average sale include:

In-house promotions and customer service training. This one is on you. Having great in-house promotions and specials (that they learn about when they visit) can consistently increase your average sale. But, often times it’s just a matter of training your staff on how to gently, yet persuasively, up-sell customers. For example, a server in a restaurant may ask, “In addition to starting you off with drinks, what appetizer can I start you off with this evening? Can I recommend the Pig Pen Nachos? They’re a customer favorite here!” This presupposes the sale, it’s not a question of “Can I start you out with some appetizers…” which is a yes/no question, it’s asking which one they want to start out with. Sometimes the smallest adjustment in your language can make all the difference in a sale. Another example? A salon staff member might suggest a new spa package for a discounted rate if purchased that day, “For all of our new customers we’re offering a one-time offer to get one of our spa packages for 20% off if purchased during your first visit. Which package are you most interested in?”

Remember to plan

I’m consistently surprised and shocked how many small business owners don’t have a marketing plan, let alone a digital marketing plan. Social media and the other strategies discussed here are all very real ways to get results and increase sales. Unfortunately, if you are failing to plan, you’re really just planning to fail.

If all of this seems a little overwhelming, let us know, we’re here to help. We’ll work through a strategy for you in a complimentary 45-minute strategy session. You’ll come out of it knowing exactly what you need to do, to grow your sales in your small business.

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Author Joe Soto

Joe Soto is a leading expert in social media and inbound marketing. A self-described online marketing evangelist, Joe has over 15 years of experience in all aspects of sales, marketing, online lead generation, and Internet marketing. Joe is the CEO of Revenue Inbound, an inbound marketing agency helping clients generate more traffic, leads and sales online. Visit Joe on Twitter @JosephSoto

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