Start the New Year off on the right path
The new year is coming fast, and the best way to grow your business -- and stay ahead of your competition -- is to look for ways to improve sales. It’s a simple truth every company has to face: to grow your business, you need to maximize your sales. The thing is, improving your sales efforts can cost quite a bit of money — and this isn’t easy to do when you’re operating on a tight budget.
So what can you do to improve sales with a limited budget? Here are some key strategies that will help you achieve your desired outcomes without breaking the bank.
1. Join social media groups
I don’t just mean setting up a Facebook or Twitter profile, I mean joining an industry-related group on LinkedIn or Facebook. These groups offer the same benefits as in-person networking, without having to leave the office. As you participate in group discussions and posts, and you share your insights, others in your niche will become more interested in what you have to offer.
2. Create your own industry-targeted group
This falls under the social media strategy, but for those who may be a bit bolder. You can create your own social media group on LinkedIn or Facebook. The group would be moderated by you and would give you plenty of opportunities to promote yourself and your business. Of course, it should not be all about you…the idea is to foster interesting conversations and insights that are relevant to your niche and target audience. Your goal is to grow your group so that your conversations as a subject-matter expert are reaching your target audience.
3. Create public relations opportunities
A great way to increase awareness for your company is to use media coverage, even from local outlets. To generate interest from the media, you will need to create events the will get journalists talking about you. It does not have to be anything fancy. It could be free seminars on a topic that you are an expert on, or hosting a charity event for the community. This may be outside the comfort zone of some, but it is well worth it.
I also connect with every journalist I can on LinkedIn. As I provide insights through posts that are relevant to my expertise, I reach out to these journalists to pitch a news story on the topic. That way, should they decide to cover the story, they may use me as a subject-matter expert on the article or news segment.
4. Start a blog
Blogging is a simple way to start a conversation with your target group, and you can easily do it with today’s website content management systems. WordPress is the one I use. A blog is a great way to share news about your products, services, company, industry insights and more. It is also a way to generate SEO backlinks and keep users coming back to your website get more information on topics that highlight your knowledge and expertise.
5. Offer a FREE incentive
One of the best ways to increase interest in your product or service is to give something away for free. Whether it’s an e-book sharing valuable industry information or a one 1/2 hour consultation, these types of giveaways are a great way to generate sales leads and collect valuable contact information. Getting potential customers into the sales funnel will make it that much easier to learn more about their buying habits.
6. Embrace automation
Wouldn’t it be great if you could automate your everyday B2B/B2C marketing tasks to save time? With marketing automation, not only will you be able to automate repetitive tasks, but you will also nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content along the journey to purchase.
Although the technology isn’t exactly free, there are a lot of affordable systems out there that are very low cost, and quite robust in the features they offer. I use GetResponse, which has an extensive set of tools to help sales and marketing deliver relevant and timely communications/promotions to prospects and clients.
7. Build your email list
This falls under the automation strategy since a robust inbound marketing automation strategy can help build your email list. Regardless of whether you run a B2B or B2C business, a quality email list, with a well thought out email automation campaign can play a big role in driving sales and retaining current customers — in one survey, 80% of marketers said email played a direct role in customer retention.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to build your email list. As I mentioned before, I use GetResponse for their email marketing and campaign automation features. Great thing is that these features are included in the low monthly fee.
8. Offer incentives for referrals
As valuable as your own marketing efforts may be, nothing is more persuasive than word of mouth. Your current customers can be your greatest advocates, but sometimes, they need a little extra motivation. Creating a referral program is a great way to get your customers to do your marketing for you.
9. Use LinkedIn for marketing
LinkedIn has released tons of features that are geared towards making LinkedIn the most efficient and cost-effective platform for reaching a B2B audience. For example, the recently released InMail Analytics features help you get more response and improve your entire team’s performance. B2B marketers are making more data-driven decisions with LinkedIn than ever before, and the trend is expected to continue in 2019 as well.
10. Align your sales and marketing efforts
This one does not cost anything to implement and goes a long way towards improving your sales growth. As much as 89% of companies that share responsibility for their sales and marketing lead nurturing efforts report measurable increases in the number of sales opportunities generated.
To get this sharing of lead-nurturing responsibilities on the right footing, you need to clearly define when prospects should be transitioned for each team as the prospects progress through the sales funnel.
To improve collaboration between these two teams, consider clearly outlining the expectations and responsibilities involved in some sales and marketing service level agreement (SLA). This will help them have a clear, identifiable basis to hold each other accountable for each activity agreed upon to nurture leads into paying customers.
So that’s it! Adopt some or all of these strategies and see your sales improve in 2019 without breaking the bank. But don’t procrastinate. The faster you start, the faster you will see results. Happy New Year!
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