Although “slow and steady” is treated as common wisdom, the truth is that small business owners simply cannot afford to wait around for customers to take notice of them. There is nothing more frustrating than putting in the work to create a business that offers amazing products and services, only to find yourself still not knowing how to increase sales and build lasting relationships with your customers.

Fortunately, there are steps virtually any business can take to expand their customer base, without needing a lot of expendable money or a strong background in marketing. If you are ready to take your small business to the next level, we have you covered with this helpful guide to help you figure out how to drive sales and make meaningful connections:

Run a Content Audit

A content audit might sound daunting at first—after all, does anyone ever feel perky and at-ease after hearing the word audit?

As stressful as it may seem, a content audit does not need to be a frustrating or time-consuming ordeal. In fact, with the right mindset and insights, a content audit could prove to be exactly what your business needed to flourish.

It is important to remember that one of the best things about content in the digital age is the fact that content can be easily changed and revised– addressing problems can be as easy as editing a blog post, rather than replacing thousands of flyers and print materials.

If you are wondering how to get more sales, you can start by reviewing the content that you already have. One of the most important tips to remember during a content audit is the fact that the emphasis should be placed firmly on the customer’s experience. How does your business benefit from your products or services?

Ultimately, providing a convincing answer to this question is more valuable than promoting your brand name.

Run Promotions

Running promotions can be one of the most effective ways to improve business quickly and find repeat customers. No two businesses offer the same customer experience, and for that reason, the promotions every business uses should be tailored to their specific audience.

Luckily, there is no shortage of options available to business owners, especially with social media and email marketing campaigns booming in popularity. Here are just a few potential promotions your business could take advantage of:

  • Bundle sales:
    By offering customers to save money on what the entire bundle would cost individually, you can easily convince shoppers to invest in products and services they had not even considered
  • Gift giveaways:
    Even if the gift items are small (like customized lanyards or pens), customers love the idea of free products
  • Email coupons:
    Email is a critically underrated tool for maintaining contact with your customers, and offer exclusive opportunities that keep them coming back
  • Daily or weekly deals:
    Whether you can offer small discounts to certain customers (like seniors or students) on a daily basis, or can offer weekly promotions such as kids eating for half off, this tactic can help drive traffic even in typically “slow” periods
  • Limited edition or seasonal products:
    Add a sense of urgency by focusing on the fact that this promotion has a limited time frame, and that customers must act now.
  • Social media contests:
    If you’re wondering how to get more sales online, you could not go wrong

Ask for Feedback

One of the best ways to increase leads and conversions is to focus on the customers that you already have. Whether in person or through social media and email, you can gain valuable feedback by asking these simple questions in a follow-up survey or email questionnaire with a call to action (CTA) included at the end:

  • Did we meet your expectations?
  • How did we do today?
  • How did you hear about us?
  • What could have made your experience better?
  • What were you using before you find us?
  • Did our staff help you out today?
  • Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your experience?

Verb-ify Your Product

If you are considering how to increase sales of a product or how to improve business in general, it might be good to start by changing the way in which you think about your business. For example, an easy way to guide your marketing strategy is to verb-ify your product or service. By focusing on what your products do, and what role they play in your customer’s lives, you can successfully appeal to new audiences.

If you own a restaurant, for example, it may be beneficial to focus on the experience of eating, and how your menu can amplify this experience.

Similarly, if you sell office supplies, consider the actual day-to-day responsibilities of the customers who will use these products, and how your business can make their experience easier. This mindset can not only help you freshen up your marketing strategy, but also build relationships with your existing customer base, which is incredibly important.

Invest in Influencers

Social media is a big deal right now. Social media marketing boasts many benefits, especially for businesses wondering how to improve sales online. In such a saturated market, however, it can be hard to stand out simply by having an active presence. That’s why influencers are so important for any small business.

Influencers can help you establish your brand and reach wide audiences. They can also give you access to niche communities, and help you focus on specific social media channels (like Instagram or Snapchat) that you might want to prioritize as an outreach tool. If you have not yet carved out some of your marketing budgets to focus on influencers, now may be the time to do so.

Focus on the Features and Benefits of Your Product

If you are running a business in a saturated market, your first impulse may be to focus on what you do better than your competition. However, to pull off this strategy, you must first familiarize yourself with the unique features and benefits of your product.

How does your product improve your customer’s life, and what problems can your business solve? What are the specific features that make your product unique?

Only once you are familiar with your products can you focus on what makes it different from any competing businesses. More than anything else, it is important to approach your marketing strategy from your customer’s perspective more so than that of your own or your competitors’.

After finding your content, would your customer base understand the features and benefits as well as you do? If not, you should consider revamping your content and advertising strategy to reflect this better by simplifying your message and communicating your value proposition clearer.

Leverage Your Online Presence

Get the most out of your website and social media accounts by leveraging your online presence. Here are some straightforward ways to turn your online presence into one of your most powerful assets:

  • Collect data:
    Data collection and analytics can be a useful tool to understand and appeal to your online market as effectively as possible.
  • Cross-promote:
    Anything worth being promoted on one platform should be promoted on all platforms, including your website and email lists.
  • Utilize your email lists:
    Whether your customers shop online or in-person, it is always a good idea to ask for their email address. Sending out consistent and valuable content (such as newsletters, coupons, and any relevant updates) can boost sales from both old and new customers.
  • Increase your social media channels:
    Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are not the only options you have. If you are not gaining the traction you were hoping for on one platform, consider adding a new account such as LinkedIn, Snapchat, Medium or Quora.
  • Take advantage of multi-media tools:
    Do not limit yourself to just written content. Solid, accessible written content will lend to your credibility, but you can also greatly increase the appeal of your online presence by utilizing videos, infographics and high-quality photographs, and uploading them on the appropriate platforms.

In Summary

If you are looking for one key answer on how to increase sales quickly and how to increase business both online and in-store, then you are unfortunately preparing yourself for disappointment.

In reality, there is no single, simple solution to drive sales, but several tools and tricks you can employ. Every business will have different needs, different products, and different features that make them unique. For this reason, various sales tactics, from special promotions to social media influencers, will have varying degrees of success when finding how to increase sales.

What may be affordable and effective for one business may be irrelevant or cost-prohibitive for another. The key is to mix and match and use a method of trial and error to find which combination works best for you.