A slow market can be especially tough on small businesses, as they are often run on a shoestring budget which leaves very little room for the cost cutting and expense reductions that corporations implement in times like these. Whether it's real estate or certain sectors within the retail industry, there are always ups and downs in various industries.
Since you don't have a lot of room to cut costs for your business, the only other way to boost bottom line profits is to increase revenue. With that in mind, here are three things you can do today to shake up your business and stir up some sales if you find yourself in a slowing market.
Offer a Deal: Discounting is not a long-term strategy for success, unless you're the size of Walmart and can afford to make small margins by moving huge volumes of product. However, when you need to shake things up, a temporary discount to the price of your product may be the ticket. It should help to convince those people who are sitting on the fence to pull out their wallets and make the purchase. Consumers are more price-sensitive these days, as evidenced by the continuing success of Walmart and other big box retail stores offering low prices. A modest discount that you can live with could be a great tonic to help you grow your sales numbers. Also, remember that plenty of good things come from sales, including testimonials, positive word of mouth, and more. As the old small business saying goes, "activity breeds activity."
Get Feedback from Non-Buyers: The people who don't buy from you can sometimes be more important than those who do. Understanding the reasons why a potential customer did not pull out their wallet might open your eyes to problems with your website or your in-store merchandise selection that you hadn't noticed before. In sales theory, they call these things "barriers to purchase." Take a moment to contact some recent prospects who didn't buy your product or service. Ask them what the barriers to purchase were for them. Was your price just a bit too high? Did they not believe your testimonials? Did they misunderstand your guarantee? If you can find out what some key barriers to purchase are for your business, you can get to work on fixing them. As a thank you for their feedback, you should offer them a free gift of a nominal value. The feedback will be well worth the modest expense.
Do Something Different: If ever there was a time to try something different, it's now. If your newspaper ads aren't working, try putting that money towards a news release instead. Perhaps you can generate some publicity for your business, which is just as valuable as advertising. Or perhaps you can pull back on your online advertising this month and put that money towards a targeted email campaign. If your business is more traditional, maybe you can go door to door in your area and meet face to face with potential customers. By taking a different approach to promoting your business you may learn something you didn't know before that can be used to your advantage in the future. Your news release may be a great success. Your email campaign might uncover a new target demographic that you hadn't considered. Your door-to-door sales efforts might teach you more about the composition of your community. If you're not seeing results from your current marketing efforts, a change in tactics may produce a more positive result for you. At the very least, you will usually learn something new about promoting your business through different marketing tactics.
Boosting bottom line profits means shaking up some sales. Short-term discounts, non-buyer feedback, and a little experimentation when it comes to your marketing tactics may be helpful in stimulating your sales in a market that might be somewhat sluggish.
Will Dylan is the author of Small Business Big Marketing a powerful e-book for small businesses available through his website www.marketingyoursmallbusiness.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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