A Guide on How to Increase Sales Online During Covid
Finding ways on how to increase sales is a mission that every business finds itself on. Brick-and-mortar or online businesses of all sizes often hit a bump in the road. That bump is most often stagnant sales figures.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made things hard for brick-and-mortar businesses. As people spend more time inside and online, the need for boosting your online presence has never been more pressing.
Even if you’ve never really had much business online, you can start selling online today. Retail businesses of all sizes can start taking online orders and advertising online in the space of just a few days.
There are a lot of things that drive online sales, but there are at least equally many ways that efforts to increase sales can backfire. If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’ve already tried some of those methods.
Trying to sell anything to anyone is a trap many business owners fall into. Marketing strategies that are too broad never provide optimal results.
Likewise, focusing on customer retention is something many businesses simply forget to do. Retaining existing customers to increase your sales is a complete topic on its own. Your methods for customer retention will be different than those for attracting new customers.
To create the best results, a thorough plan is required. But every aspect of your plan should follow several rules. So, let’s start with the things you can do to make sure all your online marketing efforts contribute to the results you want. For more innovative marketing tips, read our ‘Creative Ideas to Increase Sales‘ e-book.
How To Increase Sales: Things To Remember
No matter which methods you’re trying to increase your online sales through, there are a few things you should remember.
Your sales copy needs to be honest for your customer retention to remain high. In many cases, your copy might seem quite honest, but your customers may end up disappointed in your promises. Make your promises simple and straightforward. If you must choose between over-promising or under-promising, under-promising is always the preferable option.
A crucial component of good copy is congruency. Congruency means that your ads should all align with your company’s image. If you’re running a small mom and pop shop, you have a great selling point! But if it reads like you’re running a multinational corporation, your brand will be incongruent, which will hurt your sales.
Good copy will ultimately tell an honest story of what your business is and what it will provide for its customers.
Proving your product was used by other happy customers is critical to maximizing your sales. Today’s world is dominated by social media, making customer feedback more important than ever before. But that also means it’s easier for your happiest customers to provide testimonials.
Testimonials are the strongest weapon in your ads arsenal. They can (and should) be displayed on your site, on your business social media pages, and in some of your ads. Trust signals are incredibly important for the online wing of any business.
The point of social proof is to make objection handling easier. Online readers will always have reasons to be suspicious of any ad. But they will still be suspicious of organic posts as well. Trust signals like testimonials help you overcome those issues.
You should also keep in mind that awards or certifications also serve as amazing trust signals. Even if you don’t think very highly of your certifications or awards, it pays to display them. Even something as simple as a Better Business Bureau certification or rating will melt many viewers’ ice walls that stop them from taking your content and ads seriously.
Urgency helps create an urge for customers to make a purchase. You need to be honest in your promises, but injecting a sense of urgency in your marketing is a proven path to more sales.
Marketing time-sensitive discounts and limited-edition products are good examples of urgency. Ad tools allow you to include a countdown on your special offers.
Asking for genuine customer feedback will answer most of your important questions. If you’re wondering why customers don’t come back, a feedback tool will allow your customers to tell you exactly what they liked or didn’t like about your product or service.
Creating a survey for customers to fill out is easy. You can use a free survey service online. Free surveys will often only offer limited options, but you can pay for incredibly comprehensive surveys and reporting features.
Appearances & Quality Imagery
Appearance matters. We will delve deep into the specifics of how your marketing can appear more professional soon. But what you need to keep in mind is that if you’re using any images, videos, or other visual aids, they must look good.
If the visual accompaniments of your product or service ads are low-quality, people will overlook them. It’s estimated that thanks in part to modern digital media, Americans are exposed to at least 4,000 ads per day. Some digital marketers have estimated that the average is closer to 10,000 ads per day. Whoever is right, one thing remains the same: your ads will be drowned out by an ocean of other ads competing for consumers’ fickle attention spans.
This may sound pessimistic, but it doesn’t have to be! You just need to make sure you don’t overlook the design elements that matter. Give all your paid and organic marketing designs the extra attention they deserve and watch your sales go up.
Catalogs are getting shorter in almost every industry. Even restaurant menus are getting shorter. Why?
We’ve gone over people’s attention spans. Many industries also have their own reasons to display fewer choices to their customers. But across all industries, displaying more choices creates indecision and leads to customers going through information overload. The result? Fewer sales.
This doesn’t mean your business should start cutting products from its catalog. But it does mean that you will have more success if you display only the most popular products on catalogs. Your customers will have an easier time making a choice, which means you’ll have an easier time getting more sales.
Return Policies & Guarantees
There is no excuse to not provide guarantees. All of your serious competitors are already doing it.
Yes, it’s true that every money-back guarantee you honor does cut into your profits. But risk aversion is a concern that most of your customers have when shopping online. You can easily overcome that objection with a money-back guarantee.
The money you make back through a money-back guarantee will cover any returns you end up making.
Remember, money-back guarantees aren’t only important for high-ticket products and services. Buyers’ remorse can be triggered by small purchases as well.
More Payment Options
If you don’t offer many payment options to your customers, you’re sacrificing your sales figures.
This aspect of increasing sales can be difficult to handle. There are more payment options than there were just a decade ago. New payment options like Google Wallet and Stripe are also becoming increasingly popular. But offering more payment options is an easy way of increasing your sales.
Customers are just more likely to pay you if you allow them to use their preferred option. So, more options = more sales. It’s as simple as that.
Shopping cart abandonment is a killer. If your payment processing is too slow or difficult, you will lose sales.
People are used to things being fast these days, especially online. If your payment processing takes just a few seconds too long, you’re losing out. So, do a checkup on your payment processing and make sure your customers aren’t abandoning their purchases because paying you is too slow or stressful. You can create a QR code for payment and put it on your website so customers can pay fast by scanning the code.
You will want to make sure your customers are engaged with your brand. There are many ways to do this, including a blog, videos, and fun tasks.
Communicating with customers genuinely and interestingly will always provide better results. If you aim for long-term customers providing more sales over time, you need to engage with your customers. The key is also making sure that, like your copy, your engagement efforts are genuine.
This means that if you’re going to start making a YouTube channel, don’t create “clickbait” videos. Offer the entertainment or educational value your customers are looking for. Sample your products and show your viewers how they can be used to achieve the results they want.
If you can come up with a long-term plan to keep customers engaged, you won’t just need to rely on attracting new customers to increase your sales.
Increasingly, consumers use mobile devices to browse and shop online. So, keep mobile users in mind when you’re working on driving your sales up.
This means that when you’re making ads for social media platforms, consider how they appear on mobile devices. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. Make sure your banners are displayed properly on mobiles.
You can make sure everything is marketed well on mobile by:
- Using provided specifications for image sizes
- Having developers make your site mobile friendly
- Browsing your own site on your mobile and making sure it’s user-friendly
We’ve touched on congruency when discussing your copy. But congruency is important for every aspect of your branding. Your entire sales process must be congruent, or it will raise eyebrows and cost you sales.
Imagine clicking on a Facebook ad for an attractive product. The ad looks great, but when you end up on the landing page, the copy, color scheme, and design look like they belong to a completely different company. Would you continue buying without having second thoughts?
You want to avoid this happening to you. You can do so by double-checking all your copy, imagery, and other communication to ensure it all sticks to the same brand image.
Common Methods For Increasing Sales
Now that we’ve gone over the themes you must remember no matter what you’re working on, let’s delve into the sales-driving methods and actions.
There are two ways you increase your online sales. Organic methods don’t require you to spend any money. These methods include social media posts, website content, and any outreach you don’t directly pay for access to. This is normally where you communicate with people who are already following your business.
Paid ads are for reaching out to people who haven’t followed your business yet. You pay platforms like Facebook and Google to reach out to people who would likely be interested in your business.
Increase Sales With Organic Marketing
Organic marketing is important for a few reasons. Even after you’ve attracted potential customers through ads, you will need to focus on retention. A new customer who makes one purchase is great. But the real sales start once you have a collection of loyal customers who keep coming back to buy more.
Get Connected With Customers
You can connect with people in different ways. You should have a newsletter that you send out to people on your email list. Then, you can have a blog or even a YouTube channel.
The more you can provide for free, the better. Many great businesses have driven their sales to new heights by keeping customers engaged through informative, engaging blogs and entertaining but valuable videos.
The key is to constantly look for new ways to hold customers’ attention. You can do this by giving them what they want. This part of organic marketing will depend heavily on what products or services your business offers.
There is always room for you to expand and improve your organic marketing strategy.
Having a business blog is now the norm for small or large businesses.
You can use a blog for many different purposes. Each blog can focus on promoting a product or service. Or, a blog can be used to just keep your audience attached to your business for the help it gives them.
When you’re maintaining a blog, you need to make sure all the content you put there is useful to readers. You can promote your products, but you must make sure people also take away useful information when they read it. A blog isn’t an advertisement, after all.
Email newsletters can be used for many of the same things blogs can. If your newsletter is good, it can be used for increasing customer retention.
Newsletters are good for promoting products as well as providing useful information that customers will be grateful for.
One of the keys to a good newsletter is to gain permission from the recipient and avoid landing in their spam folder at all costs. Google is fairly good at filtering through emails and letting the genuine material through to peoples’ main inboxes. But you need to be careful of both your content and the email marketing software you use. Some users complain that email marketing software lands their content in the spam folder too easily.
Email newsletters can be a part of organic or “paid” marketing. You can run a newsletter for very little money if you want to take care of everything yourself. But you can pay for an email marketing service to make the job easier.
When you’re sending emails to your mailing list, using images is a great way to arouse emotions. Plain text will not distinguish your newsletter from the many other emails crowding their inbox. But using appropriate designs, you can highlight promotional events.
Speaking of promotional events, the quality of your sales posters will determine their effect on your sales. Design Wizard offers templates that follow proven industry standards with high quality to drive your sales.
Have a look at what you can design with our quality templates and design tools.
Increase Sales With Paid Ad Campaigns
Paid ad campaigns are used to reach out to people on one of the many online platforms. Using popular platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, you can find cold leads that will turn into paying customers if your advertising is done right.
Facebook is one of the most popular platforms in the world. With over a billion users, you can be sure that there are people on Facebook that would be willing to buy your products.
The problem with Facebook is that it’s a competitive space. The social network has become full of ads competing for precious attention. Because of that, the cost of Facebook ads has also gone up over time. But with the right advertising practices and the right use of Facebook’s targeting algorithm, you can pay less to get more sales.
First of all, a good Facebook ad needs to capture attention. The difference between Google Ads and Facebook is that on Google Adwords, users are already searching for something when they see a relevant ad. On Facebook, users are looking at cute puppies, checking on their grandchildren, arguing about politics, and doing just about everything. Everything except actively shopping.
If you want to drive sales through Facebook, your ads will need some flair. Quality images will help you grab the attention you need to gather new customers. Add some quality copy, and voila.
Start editing Design Wizard’s Facebook ad templates. They are all optimized to fit perfectly on Facebook.
Facebook Research Tools
Facebook offers analytics that you can use from your business page. From here, you can break down your target audience and only reach out to specific demographics.
Analytics tools come free with your business account. All you need to pay Facebook for is the publicity, which is based on how long your ads are up and how much time they are visible to people.
If you need help, there are plenty of agencies that help business clients with their Facebook ads.
Google ads are displayed as:
- Links at the top of a search results page
- Banner ads inside webpages
- Ads in email inboxes
The great thing about Google ads is that when you use them, you’re reaching out to people who are already searching for the products and services you offer. You just need to choose which search terms to advertise for, and a few other settings.
Google Research Tools
When you’re marketing with Google, you have access to great research tools. Use Google Analytics to track and receive reports on your website traffic.
Google Analytics will provide you the information you need to improve your Google ad campaigns. You can also see your up-to-date ROI so you know exactly how much your Google ads are making you.
LinkedIn is the place you should advertise your goods and services to professionals.
LinkedIn is becoming increasingly popular as the main professional social media platform. They have over 690 million active users and offer a unique targeted ads system.
If you need to market within a certain industry or profession, LinkedIn makes it much easier for you. You can target your ads based on professional title, function, industry, and other relevant career-based inputs. Many of those ads land in users’ inboxes, which makes them more apparent than other platforms’ ads.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to control your advertising budget. You have control over how much you’re spending. The more you spend, the more people will see your ads, and for longer. But you can change your budget or stop your campaigns at any time.
Paid Ads Tips & Tricks
Platforms like Facebook allow you to retarget your ad campaigns as they move on. Using their analytic tools, you can make your targeting more specific based on your past results.
This process involves finding new groups to focus your advertising on. At the same time, you will end up weeding out the audiences that are not worth the ad budget to advertise to.
Retargeting is a critical component of online paid ad campaigns. You will need to constantly monitor your campaign results, or pay an agency to do it for you.
Buyer personas are important for organic and paid advertising alike. But forgoing on them for your paid ads will cost you money.
Most businesses use personas to focus their message across all marketing mediums. If you haven’t already created your buyer personas, you should get to work on them immediately. If you already have, there is always room for you to get more specific.
Personas are important because they help you navigate the complex world of ad campaigns. If you start advertising on Facebook right now, you’ll notice that there are an extremely high number of targeting options. Age, gender, education, location, and hobbies don’t even come close to scratching the surface. Your targeting options are limitless.
Unfortunately, your good options for an ideal target are microscopic when you consider how many tweaks you can make when targeting. Then, you need to consider every different social media platform and all the ways your existing customers are consuming your online content.
Your buyer personas should be based on who your ideal customers are. They should be detailed enough to target all the demographics that your business relies on.
How To Increase Loyalty
There is proven science behind customer loyalty programs. They simply increase the money your existing customers spend on your products.
There are many ways you can launch a customer loyalty program. Depending on your business, some ways will work better than others.
Every business that isn’t selling extremely high-ticket items, online or otherwise, needs a loyalty program. If you don’t offer one, you are choosing to let your competition grab many of your would-be long-term customers.
Covid-19 has had an unfortunate effect on many small businesses. But it’s also created new opportunities for businesses that can sell online.
Selling online is a simple process, but it will take some work. Fortunately, many of the aspects of your offline marketing can be brought online. Sales, loyalty programs, and more can be easily replicated for online stores.