The most important part of owning a business or launching a product is sales. Getting sales and keeping them coming in is the most challenging thing for a business, and is at the centre of all it does. This can often be hard, which is why we've compiled this three part blog series to help you build sales in store and online, and grow your brand awareness through out of home advertising.
Social media advertising
The biggest step forward for marketing in the last 20 years? Social media. This is because it is one of the only marketing platforms in which brands can actually have strong, two-way engagement with existing and potential customers. It is one of the best platforms for nurturing leads because social media allows conversations to happen.
Social media's visual nature means that customers can get a much better understanding of both your product, and your business as a whole. This increases the likelihood of making a sale, as people can buy into your product or business' ethos and ideology.
The best bit? It's much cheaper. It's completely free to start on most social media channels, such as Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn. Advertising on these platforms is much cheaper too, according to LinkedIn. To reach 1,000 people through direct mail, you would to spend $57 (roughly £42) but using social media it would be $2.50.
Influencer marketing has also seen a huge rise in the past decade. This has been often overlooked, but it has its positives. If you sell to a community, there will always be people who have more of a positive reputation than others, and this is something you can take advantage of. People value other people's opinions and if it's someone they like, this effect is doubled - that's how influencer marketing works. Think of how beauty brands such as Head and Shoulders have used Claudia Winkleman in adverts, or Johnny Depp with Dior Sauvage.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Having an all-singing, all-dancing website doesn't really count for much when nobody can see it. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the art and science of getting your website higher up the search rankings. You can improve your website rankings through various methods, and SEO can be broken into on-page SEO and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO includes:
- Keyword optimisation: making sure that you are using the same words that your customers are.
- Meta titles/descriptions: these are similar - making sure you are using words that your customers are using.
- Internal linking: linking around your site to keep visitors engaged, and the link text telling the search engine what the page is about.
- Quality, engaging content: making sure you are creating content that people will read. Answering a question you or your business is familiar with is a great way to position yourself to potential customers.
- Safe and secure website: making sure you have a valid SSL certificate is a big part of this.
- Images: including alt text so that the search engine knows what the image is, and making sure that large image files don't slow your website down.
Off-page SEO includes:
- Local SEO: this is how well you rank locally. If you were to type in 'takeaways near me' those displayed first would have the best local SEO.
- Backlinks: this is probably the hardest of them all. Getting other websites to link back to yours can be very difficult, but not impossible.
- Pay per click: also known as online advertising. These can be beneficial if targeted well, however, if done badly it can actually be detrimental to your site's rankings.
Speaking more generally, it's important to keep in mind that 'content is king'. This means that even if all of the above is nailed down, if the content isn't interesting then you will struggle to get visitors to your site and keep them there.
Everyone loves a bargain, and promotions are a great way to boost sales. As we covered in the first part of this blog series, promotions are great as they help the customer believe that they are saving money, when they often spend more money than they intended to. Promotions can take form in a variety of ways. For online channels, some of our favourites include:
- Contests, such as giveaways and sweepstakes: Giveaways and contests are great for brand awareness. You may've already seen businesses running competitions in which they ask followers to 'tag 3 friends'. These can actually be really beneficial as they help put your brand in front of people who are also likely to be interested.
- Flash sales: The scarcity tactic is great for helping people into buying from you. Short time, high savings mean that people will have a fear of missing out.
Streamlined buying process
Making it easy for customers to buy your products is an important part of ensuring sales. If customers find themselves agitated when visiting/buying from your site, you may find that they're going elsewhere - and if they're not shopping with you, they're shopping with a competitor. This includes making sure that the buying process isn't complicated, and has as little steps as it realistically can. This will make the customer experience much more enjoyable, and increase the likelihood of a repeat purchase in the future.
Let your products speak for themselves
The obvious downside of online retail is that the product is not there for the customer to justify purchasing it. Making sure that product descriptions are true to life are important, as they help the customer make the best informed decision about which product is best for them. The same goes for product images. Make sure that you are truthful when photographing your products, and that they are taken in good lighting. This will help customers really get to see your products when they do not have the opportunity to see them in the flesh.
Making sure that you know what you are selling cannot be understated. It will help you make the most informed decision that you can about what type of online promotion is best for your brand. This way you will receive the most from your marketing efforts.