How to Increase Sales on a Shoestring Budget

You’ve got to spend money to make money. Right?

Well… maybe. The truth is that it’s not that simple.

Many of the tried and true marketing tricks you read about do require a substantial budget. But some don’t.

In fact, there are ways to increase your sales even if you’re running on a shoestring budget. It’s all about getting creative and taking chances with your marketing where it makes sense to do so.

So, with that in mind, here are some super-effective marketing tricks that can help you grow your sales without blowing through your (small) budget.

Use Customer Feedback to Create New Products or Services

This first technique can be free – or nearly free. Basically, what you’re doing is talking to your existing customers to find out what else you can do for them.

Let’s look at a simple example. Say your company creates and prints custom business cards. By talking to your clients about their other printing needs, you may be able to attract additional business without spending anything on advertising.

Instead of printing only business cards, you might find an opportunity to print letterhead and envelopes, too. That way, you increase the lifetime value of a single customer, and you can offer your expanded services to new customers, too.

Create a Promotion Schedule

Do your existing customers know when you’ll be running a special? It might sound a bit mundane to run promotions on a schedule but doing so gives your customers something to look forward to. And, it increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you regularly.

This technique is perfect for building customer loyalty, but it can also help you attract new business. When your existing clients know that a promotion is coming, they may be more inclined to tell their friends and colleagues about it.

This is another sales-growth technique that can be carried out for only a few dollars. You’ll want to advertise your promotion a bit. But, once you’re on a schedule – where, say, clients know that you run a promotion every other month – they’ll start to expect it. That means you won’t have to spend as much to promote it!

Cross-Promote Your Products with a Partner

Local businesses sometimes miss out on opportunities to team up to generate sales. Scanning the membership list of your local Chamber of Commerce can provide you with plenty of opportunities to cross-promote your products or services.

For example, the owner of a catering company might pair up with a florist or party rental company and offer a special to attract new business. Planning an event can be pricy, and you can attract new clients by giving them an incentive to hire both companies to help them with their event.

Another option might be partnering with another business to create a night out. The owner of a restaurant might offer a free appetizer to people who come in with a ticket stub from the local movie theater. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Doing so can make your business the destination of choice for local patrons.

Revamp Your Content to Focus on Customer Benefits

One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced marketers make is focusing too much on their product’s features and not enough on what the product can do for their customers. Fortunately, this is something you can fix with little to no money.

The first step is to audit your website’s content. If you find that you’re not talking about how your products or services can improve your target audience’s lives, revamp it so the focus is on them. You know your product is awesome, but you need to explain how buying it will benefit your customers.

After that, you can use the same technique to rethink your social media marketing strategy. Focusing on benefits makes your content more shareable than it would be if you simply touted your products. You’re likely to see a bigger return on your investment because you’ll be enticing people to buy your product.

Bundle Products and Services

Every consumer likes to feel that they’ve gotten a bargain when they buy something. That’s true both in B2C and B2B marketing – and you can use it to your advantage.

There are two ways to approach product bundling. The first is to bundle a basic product with some upgrades and add-ons and offer a price that’s slightly lower than what it would cost to buy everything separately.

The other option is to bundle products that go together in some way. A gift basket is a good example, and businesses use this technique around the holidays. For example, a Valentine’s Day bundle might include perfume, scented lotion, and a candle.

Increase Engagement on Social Media

Many companies make the mistake of not trying to engage their social media followers when they promote content. That’s a mistake – and in a way, implementing this technique can save you money by increasing your ROI on social media.

One simple technique is to ask your audience a question. Everything you post should include a call to action. When you ask a question, you encourage your followers to respond. The question might be asking their opinion about something you post, or you might ask them which question they’d most like to have you answer in a future post.

Either way, you’re not taking your audience for granted. Getting your social media to engage with you by providing valuable content triggers the cognitive bias called Reciprocity. That’s where people feel obligated to return the favor when you give them something for free.

Nurture Your Leads

You probably already have an email list – but are you using it well? A lot of businesses aren’t — and revamping your technique can make a huge difference in your sales.

If you’re emailing subscribers rarely, you’re missing out. Most email automation services charge based on the number of subscribers you have. That means you won’t pay any more for increasing the frequency of your emails.

Try creating one or more email sequences, also known as a drip campaign. Focus on explaining the benefits of buying your product, and you’ll likely see an increase in your sales, too.

Marketing Isn’t Just for Millionaires…

… and you don’t have to double your budget to double your sales. Using the simple, inexpensive techniques outlined here can help you grow your business without busting your budget.

Second – A Good Website Keeps Visitors Engaged

You can have the most beautiful home page in the world. But, if it doesn’t encourage people to read, explore, and stay a while, it won’t matter.

There’s a reason that your Google Analytics tells you the average time visitors spend on your page. That information is valuable. It tells you how engaged visitors are.

Let’s face it, a visitor who lands on your site and spends 90 seconds on a page that should take 10 minutes to read isn’t engaged. And the chances are good that that person didn’t navigate to another page on your site. Instead, they probably clicked the “Back” button and went in search of a more engaging site.

So, what does this mean in terms of defining a good website? It means your site must have:

  • Well-written, engaging, valuable content that keeps visitors glued to your page until they’ve read everything there.
  • Intuitive navigation that allows them to find what they need easily, and navigate your site with a minimum of time spent wondering what to do next.

It also means that your site should have a responsive design. Mobile use is on the rise and that’s a trend that’s likely to continue. People using mobile devices won’t stay on your site if it’s not easy to read on the device of their choosing. That means no horizontal scrolling, and buttons and menus that adapt for use on a small screen.

Third – A Good Website Converts Visitors to Customers

Ultimately, your goal isn’t just to attract visitors to your site. You want to turn those visitors into paying customers. If your site isn’t designed with conversions in mind, then it’s not a good site.

Of course, not every guest will convert on their first visit. That’s why your site needs to present multiple conversion opportunities. Some will focus on turning visitors into leads, while others will focus on making sales.

There are three main features to consider here.

  1. An opt-in form that entices people to sign up for your mailing list is a must. Once someone gives you an email address, they become a lead. It’s your job to nurture them, overcoming their objections and making it impossible for them to resist buying your product or signing up for your service. Ideally, you should have an opt-in option on every page of your site, not just your home page.
  2. A strong call to action is the next must-have feature for a good website. Here, I’m not talking about a single call to action. The most effective websites offer multiple calls to action at strategic points. You might have a static form above the fold on your home page, and then include a scroll-triggered form and a pop-up form to capture people if they leave without opting in. You’ll also need direct sales CTAs on your product pages.
  3. The third conversion-friendly feature to include is a simple, intuitive checkout process. When your checkout process is slow, unwieldy, or intrusive, people may abandon their shopping carts without completing a purchase.

A site that has all three of these features is likely to do a good job of conversion. There’s a missing piece of course. Lead capture is only as good as your lead nurturing campaign. You’ll need to use your email list, social media, and other resources to convince the leads you collect to convert.

Not all websites are good websites…

… but yours can be. Focusing on these three elements – information, engagement, and conversion – can help you capture leads, nurture them, and earn the profits you deserve.

Is your website getting traffic and bringing your business sales? If not Contact us to create and implement a solid plan.