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10 Proven Marketing Tips to Help You Boost Your Sales

Aug 10, 2020 10:41:00 PM

Whatever type of business you operate, boosting sales is often a matter of understanding your customers. Other times, it’s all about making the most of what resources we have available. Below we share some ideas related to these two key concepts that have, time and again, helped businesses of all sizes to increase their sales.

1.) Make It Easy for Customers to Buy from Your Store

The first thing you should do to boost your sales is to remove all barriers to getting paid. In the context of Filipino businesses, this often boils down to increasing the available payment methods offered.

Businesses that don’t offer customers their preferred payment methods are practically rejecting money. A classic example was Uber’s failed entry into Southeast Asia. Unlike its regional competitors, the rideshare giant did not initially accept cash payments and would only accept credit cards— a fatal mistake in a region where credit cards are used far less frequently than cash.

Making it difficult for customers to buy from you is the direct equivalent of leaving money on the table. As much as possible, you want customers to be able to use any payment method they want, be it cash, cards, or contactless payments.

PayMaya Enterprise offers a wide range of payment solutions that allow businesses to accept any form of payment their customers prefer. PayMaya offers everything you need to get paid, from easy website checkouts and digital invoicing to innovative contactless QR payments and mobile all-in-one payment acceptance solutions.

2.) Understand the Idea of Customer Journeys

If there’s one thing you need to know to succeed in marketing, it’s the experiences of customers from their perspective. The “customer journey” is any of several theoretical models used to illustrate how a prospect learns about a brand and becomes a customer. 

Several different models attempt to explain the customer journey, including the classic marketing funnel, the marketing flywheel, or the more literal customer journey map, among others. There are countless variations of these models but it’s important to understand that they are all simply visualizations for better explaining how a customer experiences your brand.

Knowing the idea of customer journeys can allow businesses to identify which people are truly their customers as well as evaluate the most appropriate strategies for reaching out to them. These models also let you to break down the otherwise complex idea of marketing into more manageable chunks.

What results is a leaner, more focused approach to marketing and fewer wasted resources. This allows the business to not only boost its sales but to spend less money earning each sale as well. 

3.) Aim to Get Customers for Life

According to the Pareto Principle, 80 percent of a business’s income is typically generated by 20 percent of its customers. Knowing this, it’s also important to understand that there are only a finite number of people that can buy from you, especially if you are targeting a niche market. This makes it crucial to think beyond the first sale and to cultivate repeat business.

In practical terms, this means to avoid common mistakes that can get you a sale but end up turning off repeat customers. Instead, try to understand what is expected by most customers. Your product and service should be fair or slightly better than most of them would expect for the price. In other words, you should be aiming to delight.

As author Carl Sewell notes several times in his seminal marketing book Customers for Life: How to Turn That One-Time Buyer Into a Lifetime Customer, delight (a positive feeling of surprise), is a key ingredient for creating loyal customers.

Doing this usually means learning about your competitors’ offers as well as your customer’s experiences. By simply not making the same mistakes everyone else in your niche makes, you can cultivate delight and other positive feelings about your brand, hopefully gaining valuable repeat business in the process.

4.) Build Your Credibility

Going off the previous point, it can be difficult to build delight, much less a loyal customer base, if your brand has no credibility. Without credibility, it can be hard to get any sales at all, and getting repeat business will be all but impossible.

Unfortunately, building credibility is not a one-off project. It involves saying and doing the right things continuously throughout the lifetime of the organization.

Some things that can reduce credibility include illegal but unfortunately common Pinoy business tactics such as “bait and switch” as well as asking customers to “PM for price.” Even things that are not strictly wrong such as ugly visual branding, not having enough online reviews, and badly-written social media content can also reduce your credibility.

While the journey towards credibility will be different for each business, it’s important in every case to understand the customers’ perspectives. What makes a brand credible for one group may not necessarily work for another. Only by understanding what appeals to your customers can you begin to truly start building a more credible brand.

5.) Use Marketing Automation Tools

Marketing automation is an extremely complex and intensely debated subject. However, the concept is simple. Marketing automation is any technology that handles different parts of the marketing process automatically. These processes include lead generation, reporting, and virtually everything else related to marketing. Automation can also be used to reach out to customers at every stage of their journey, from the initial awareness phase to the decision stage.

Whatever technology you use, you will have to set up a workflow, which is a process that defines what different customer actions trigger. A classic example of a workflow is automated birthday greetings through text or email. Another would be the auto-reply function used by businesses that you might see on some messenger apps. Another is leveraging a website to gather customer data through cookies or forms, which could be later used for any marketing project.

While setting up a marketing automation workflow might be complex, they’re usually worthwhile as workflows tend to be scalable. You won’t need a large team to get better results. and the technology can continue working in the background to collect data and send out automated messages to customers without your team’s intervention. This means that automation software can be used to exponentially increase sales without additional staffing or intervention.

6.) Develop a Data-Driven Approach to Marketing

The difference between a gamble and a calculated risk is data. Employing data in your marketing decisions is far more sustainable in the long term compared to going on instinct, and it can help your team develop a deeper understanding of customers.

Using hard data can make it possible for you to gain insights that you may otherwise wouldn’t. For instance, Old Spice, the men’s deodorant brand, was able to build a significant market share in the 2010s after decades of decline after gaining unintuitive insights from their data. They found that most sales of men’s deodorants were actually to women buying them for their husbands and boyfriends. As a result, the brand launched an iconic and pioneering social media campaign that was targeted at women, which gained massive sales for the brand in the 2010s.

While you may need to go with your instincts sometimes, the world is littered with failed ventures that were built on nothing more than a good feeling. When in doubt, find the data and go where it tells you.

7.) Make Your Business Easy to Find

People can’t buy from you if they can’t find you. Gone are the days when it was enough to have a phone number, a website, and a Facebook page. These days, you want to have a presence wherever your customers are. And if your prospective customers won’t have any problems finding you online, that means you can spend less on advertising, which hopefully means a lower cost per sale.

Again, doing this means understanding your customer and following what your sales data tells you. This will tell you if you want your business to have an account on Instagram, Twitter, or some other platform, and it will also give you an idea about the level of investment needed.

Once you have a website or have a presence on a social media platform, you will also need to do what it takes to stand out. Understanding the principles of search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing will help boost your online presence and help you reach more potential customers with less effort.

8.) Use FAQs to Answer Customer Questions Before They Ask Them

Potential customers who are serious about buying something from you will typically spend a couple of minutes researching on your website or social media page. If they have questions, not all of them will bother to message you or leave a comment, which can ultimately mean lost sales.

Addressing a frequently asked question (FAQ) on an easily accessed part of your website or social media page will not only help potential customers make a decision, but it can also save your customer service team from having to repeatedly address the same questions over and over again.

To find out which questions to include, it may be helpful to ask your customer service team and other frontliners which questions customers are most likely to ask. You can also use search engine analytics tools to learn more about what customers are likely to ask.

9.) Focus on Benefits, Not Features

Sharing benefits rather than just features can boost your sales by making it more clear to customers why they should buy your products. Confusing features for benefits is an easy mistake to make when it comes to your products and offers. This is because you know more about what you’re selling better than anyone. Unfortunately, a feature doesn’t mean anything to most people unless it is contextualized as a benefit.

Let’s say you’re trying to sell a water bottle. Advertising it as “vacuum insulated” won’t necessarily be as powerful as saying it “keeps drinks hot or cold for two days.” While only a few people may be able to appreciate what vacuum insulation means for them, most would understand the benefits of a bottle that can keep drinks hot or cold for days at a time.

This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t include features. Including specific features on your copy will help strengthen your arguments and it may also appeal to customers with very specific requirements.

10.) Set Up an Automated Email Campaign

Despite being one of the most powerful lead generation channels out there, it seems that good old email doesn’t get a lot of love. There is still a lot of confusion about the role email campaigns play in the marketing mix. A lot of small businesses give up on email marketing after receiving dismal reply rates. However, while high response rates are great, email marketing also provides value to your marketing efforts by simply reminding customers and prospects that you exist.

Email campaigns can also have goals beyond simply building and maintaining awareness of your brand. They’re a great way to learn about your customers. You can do it the old-fashioned way by sending surveys in exchange for discounts, freebies, or coupons. A less obvious way to learn about your customers would be through A-B tests, where you send different versions of an email to customers and observe which ones receive better response rates.

Regardless of your goals, the great thing about email marketing is that it can be highly automated, which leaves you a lot of time to do other things that matter for your business. You can trigger emails based on responses, store purchases, abandoned carts, birthdays, schedules, or whatever else you define. This is conceptually simple, but it does get quite elaborate if you invest a lot of time on it. In any case, it sure beats actively following message threads and sending emails manually.

Conclusion

Contrary to what you may have seen online, boosting sales in today’s digital economy isn’t all about getting and using the latest technology. So long as we market to human beings, time-tested marketing and sales advice will continue to be relevant, albeit in a way we might not have imagined a generation ago. As with so many things, it’s not the marketing tools that are the most important for boosting sales — it’s how you use them.

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