It’s no secret that we’re living through unprecedented times and that businesses are suffering while the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
Small businesses are the ones suffering the most:
41% of small business owners feel “uncomfortable” with their current cash flow due to the Coronavirus.
However, the ongoing global crisis does not mean that you as a business owner have to shutter your marketing efforts, freeze your budget, and silently hope for a quick resolution. There’s plenty that can be done in the short-term to increase sales and keep your small business’s head above water until life returns to normal.
You just have to be smart about it. You need to keep a close eye on how much money is going out and how much you have coming in. By paying attention to your potential for ROI, you can continue to pull in money with minimal risk.
Utilize these tips coupled with the organizational power of a CRM to improve your sales performance throughout this pandemic and into the future.
Improve Your Website User Experience
When increasing sales is your goal, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, what’s stopping me from making sales currently?
A lot of times, the fault lies somewhere through the user experience found on your website.
If there is no clear path to conversion, your potential customer is going to get frustrated and look elsewhere for the services you provide. That’s why it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of your target audience.
By understanding your demographic, specifically zeroing in on what they like and (more importantly) don’t like, you can design your website to be a conversion machine.
There are a number of important updates that you can make to your UX in order to increase your chances of a successful conversion.
First and foremost, make sure that it’s optimized both for desktop and mobile browsing. When it comes to mobile, you want to make sure you’re paying careful attention to the “thumb zone.” That’s the area where most users will be scrolling with their thumb and making selections.
Include personalization options when necessary to create a more intimate shopping experience for the customer. For instance, consider utilizing quiz formats to gather information on users. Combined with conditional logic (like the example below), you can personalize your offering with ease:
Consider a well-placed live chat box for easy access to customer support. You should also make sure you’re prominently featuring reviews of your products and services throughout the website as a form of social proof.
Right now, small businesses need optimization for the user experience more than ever if they want to sell. And that’s what small business Forms on Fire is doing:
By offering a free trial during this time, they can appeal to those who’s budgets are lower, but are still interested in the product.
Later down the line, they can utilize these trial members to upsell and turn them into paying customers who are loyal for years to come.
SEO, PPC, and Influencer Marketing
Both SEO and PPC are essential to modern digital marketing success. While influencer marketing isn’t essential, the impacts can be huge.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the process of optimizing your on and off-page content while building links in order to make your site more appealing to popular search engines like Google.
Pay-Per-Click advertising is a bid-based advertising platform wherein you place a monetary value on specific keywords. Your maximum bid coupled with the quality of your ad determines your placement in the PPC ad line up.
Both of these search engine based marketing methods can seriously help small businesses generate revenue.
Currently, they are being utilized more than ever.
SEO is more of a long-term investment, especially if you haven’t paid much attention to your SEO before now. Thankfully, there are a number of SEO tools out there that can help guide you in the right direction and start you off with that slow climb up the search engine mountain:
If you are a total SEO newbie, it’s recommended that you outsource factors of your SEO campaign to a professional agency, freelancers, and writers alike.
Remember, SEO isn’t just about keywords.
According to Adam at Loganix, “You have to focus on building links both on and off your page if you want to achieve search engine success.”
PPC gets you more of an immediate return. When you activate your PPC ads they can start to boost your conversion rate immediately. With PPC, you’re also only paying when someone clicks on your link. That means you’re seeing very little in the way of wasted budget. PPC ads can run on both Google and social media platforms like Facebook.
For the short term, it might be a good idea to allocate more of your marketing budget toward PPC, siphoning off some of your SEO budget to get more of an immediate return. However, it’s important that you don’t stop your SEO campaign altogether.
In addition, influencer marketing is being leveraged by tons of small business owners right now, and for good reason:
Influencers have powerful communities ready to purchase products.
One small business, Zoma Sleep, is currently utilizing influencer marketing via YouTube to drive sales:
“On YouTube, we’ve designed our outreach strategy to focus on individuals who are experts in the sleep and mattress industry. They’re generally more receptive to reviewing our mattress since they’re able to understand the unique design and technology we incorporate into our products. While a creative pitch might pique their interest, they’re ultimately more excited in the granular product differentiators since they know that’s what their audience is looking for too. Plus, we look to build longer-lasting relationships with them and regularly offer the inside scoop on new product launches. This has been really effective in getting us exposure to consumers who wouldn’t have heard about our brand otherwise.”
– James Nguyen, sleep expert at Zoma
Provide Stellar Customer Service
One of the best ways to continue to generate profits is to retain the customers that you already have. Customer loyalty can be a huge sales driver for any business, and one of the best ways to hold on to your repeat customers is through stellar customer service.
It’s important that your customer service representatives and sales reps be both knowledgeable and friendly. They also have to be accessible.
Having phone-based support and email contact forms is all well and good. But to provide a complete customer service experience, you should have some kind of 24/7 live chat customer service to appeal to your current customers.
Why is that?
For starters, it provides an immediate response to customers who are likely already frustrated with some issues. When a customer calls in to your support phone number and they have to wait on hold for 20, 30, or 40 minutes, their anger is going to grow with each passing second.
By the time your support representative picks up the phone, the customer might be so irate at the time they spent waiting, that there will be no saving their experience.
Live chat is an immediate solution that also gives you an opportunity to collect data on your customers. That data can then be used to improve the user experience and increase customer retention rates further.
In addition to serving existing customers, now is a fantastic time to reassure hesitant potential buyers who are on the fence of buying your product or service.
One small business, Medical Alert, is displaying customer service messages of hope and reassurance to answer any potential conversion roadblocks before they occur;
Address potential customer questions upfront right now. It’s your best chance at keeping potential customers around and interested.
Sell On Amazon
If you’re noticing a decline in sales through your website, you might want to consider switching to a more recognizable sales platform for the time being.
There’s no sales system more recognizable than Amazon.com.
By switching your sales to Amazon, you’ll be able to reach more people more easily. Amazon already commanded a massive 45% of the US online sales business before the pandemic. Now that people are social distancing, the company has seen a huge uptick in business. As of April, Amazon was up 35% from the same period last year.
So, if people are turning to Amazon for their shopping needs, it would certainly be beneficial for you to have your products featured there.
If you’re already selling on Amazon, it might be time to adapt your pricing in order to stay competitive with an increasingly desperate market.
There are Amazon repricer tools that analyze your prices and automatically adjust them both up and down in order to maximize conversions.
Use Automation Tools
Speaking of tools, this is a great time to evaluate the tools that you’re using. Sales automation tools can integrate with your existing CRM to ensure that your marketing and sales funnel is running like a well-oiled machine.
By automating your sales system, you’re able to focus on other important matters, like marketing and content creation. This is the time for you to really buckle down and make changes that will positively impact the continued growth of your organization. That’s more difficult when you’re worried about inputting data into your CRM and generating new leads.
By trusting in a sales tool that meets the needs of your organization and fits into your budget, you can free yourself up for the vital tasks that need your attention.
Keeping your eye on the prize and instituting these sales tips and tricks can help you increase sales to existing customers and potential customers alike.
By improving your user experience, running an SEO and PPC marketing strategy, offering stellar support to boost customer retention, selling on Amazon, and using automation tools, you can increase your sales volume and keep your company in the black through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.