If you own a small business, you know what it’s like to experience a sales slump. Watching your cash flow dry up can be stressful—even if you run a seasonal business and you deal with this often. In fact, you may feel anxious waiting around for your sales to pick up again. This can cause you to make a snap decision to try to boost sales by discounting prices.
Before you do this, however, you might want to think again. Discounting products and services may seem like a smart way to boost sales, but this can actually hurt your sales in the long run. That’s because there’s a direct correlation between price, discounting, and a consumer’s perception of value, according to Price Intelligently. In other words, the bigger the discount, the lower the perceived value of your products. This means that your customers may be less likely to pay regular prices in the future—leaving you in a constant cycle of discounting.
If discounting isn’t the best way to build value in your brand and boost sales, then what is? There’s no easy answer, but if you get creative, these 4 marketing tips can help you boost sales without devaluing your brand. Better yet, you won’t spend any money—a welcome relief when your sales volume is low. Read on to learn more.
4 Ways to Boost Sales Without Discounting
Implement a loyalty program
According to Slant Marketing, members of loyalty programs spend 13% more than average customers. You can use a loyalty program to offer rewards and perks to your most faithful customers. The end result: You’ll attract new customers as well as keep existing members coming back.
Once you have an established loyalty program complete with an active customer base, you might then consider running some targeted sales. This way, you can consider this a thank-you rather than an angst-ridden attempt at discounting prices for a quick cash flow fix.
The write stuff
If you don’t already have a company blog, now is a great time to start one. Likewise, if you have a blog but never write anything, now is the time to get cracking. Blogging is an effective way to market to your customers. It also gives you an outlet to position yourself as a knowledgeable resource in your field. Better yet, blogging can improve your SEO and help you rank higher in a Google search. This in turn can drive traffic back to your website and keep customers there to shop or learn more about your business.
Did you know that only about two percent of online shoppers convert to buying customers on the first visit to a website? This means that regardless of what type of business you operate, you have to work hard to build trust in order to garner sales.
Customer reviews are one of the top ways to build trust. In fact, 61% of customers read reviews before making a purchase, and reviews are trusted 12 times more than product descriptions. Here’s the kicker: Reviews lead to an 18% uptick in product sales.
If you have no reviews yet, no worries. You can ask a few customers to write brief, positive reviews and post them on Yelp or to your Facebook page. You can then use your social media channels to share these positive testimonials.
If you are not already using social media to boost sales by marketing your business, products, or services in a big way, now is the time to start. According to Pew Research Center, 65% of adults were using social media sites in 2015—almost a ten-fold increase since 2005. As you can imagine, that percentage is probably even higher now.
Indeed, your customers are likely already using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest to engage and communicate with their favorite businesses and brands. By beefing up your online presence, you can join the party and begin actively engaging with your customers. For example, you can use Facebook to run contests tied into a holiday or a company anniversary. You can also use social media to post industry news, tout new hires, and talk about exciting new product offerings. And, now that you’re blogging, you can use Facebook and Twitter to generate buzz for your blog posts. One more thing: Let’s not forget about those new reviews. You can maximize exposure for your positive testimonials by sharing these with your followers.
Regardless of which marketing tactics you dive into first, the sky’s the limit when you put on your marketing hat. Remember: These are all free ways to gain and retain customers, as well as increase your sales.