When small business owners are looking to increase sales, one of the first tactics they look to is online advertising.
However, increasing your online sales doesn’t need to cost you in advertising fees. It is worth first considering lower cost and free options to improve the efficiency of your sales and marketing.
There is a popular misconception out there that you have to spend money to make money. While there are always a few costs, such as website hosting, your overheads don’t have to extend too far. You certainly don’t have to go into debt to gain an increase in online sales.
Let’s look at 5 ways to gain more online sales, without laying out any extra budget.
1. Email Newsletters
Sending a newsletter to your email subscribers is an excellent way to bring in fresh sales.
Announce a new product, or create a special offer for the season to get people excited. And make sure that the offer has an expiry, so that a sense of urgency is created.
Open-ended offers don’t motivate people in the same way. So add an end date, perhaps with a “while stock remains” clause too.
To give your newsletter even more power, you can add some customer reviews.
Don’t forget the power of striking images and strong branding – these can make or break your results. An attractive, branded email gives customers a feeling of trust in your business.
2. Social Media Offers
You can create a simple coupon code for a small discount on your offerings, and share this on social media. You can also build some buzz around the post by tagging people who you think might like the offer. Then ask your fans to tag their friends in the comments.
On platforms like Facebook and Instagram especially, you are fighting the algorithms whenever you post. These platforms want to charge you money to boost your post, so that more of your fans see it.
But you don’t have to spend your money there. By tagging people, and asking fans to tag others, you are getting past the algorithm and getting more eyeballs on your offer for no cost at all.
3. Multimedia social posts
Following on the theme of social media, it’s worth thinking about adding some video to both your business website, and to your social media posts too.
This works whether you run an ecommerce business, selling physical products, or a consultancy or training business too.
If you sell physical products, then showcasing them on very short videos uploaded to Facebook and Instagram can really catch more attention.
And if you are concerned that your product videos are too low quality, then only post to Stories. Those videos disappear after 24 hours. The Story feature was originally designed for that lower quality content you wouldn’t want sitting on your Instagram grid forever. So you can’t lose with this idea.
For service-based sales, a short explainer video can work really well. Or if you have some previous clients that wouldn’t mind doing you a favour, you could try asking for a short video testimonial.
There is a lot of power in seeing a real person recommend a service. And being on video, rather than text and image, makes them seem even more real to the viewer.
4. Cart abandon email sequences
Many ecommerce platforms, and even some ecourse platforms like Kajabi, have a built-in function to send follow-up emails when a shopper abandons their cart.
According to the Empire Flippers blog, the reasons why people abandon their carts before purchase can be grouped into two main categories.
- The customer was not ready to purchase
- The customer was uncomfortable with your prices
Try sending a 3 email reminder sequence, that both encourages your customer to trust you and reminds them of how good the product is. This can typically recover around 30% of those previously abandoned sales.
With so much competition out there now, customers know that they can shop around. So while they are still searching and comparing, you can email them some more evidence for choosing you over another provider.
Testimonials, star ratings and competitive pricing all help with this.
When it comes to ecourse sales, these are typically a big investment for the customer, both in terms of money and their time too.
It does take a little more work to secure their commitment, and this is why a sequence of follow-up emails can really serve to increase your sales. It also helps to have a clear money-back policy in place, to help your customers feel more confident.
5. Upsell at the checkout
Similarly, your software might have an upsell feature for you to explore. You can show related items at the checkout, or offer multi buy discounts where appropriate.
In the ecommerce world, a staggering 70-95% of revenue comes from either upselling or repeat sales. If you are missing out on this, then you are probably working way less efficiently than you could be.
Taking a little time now to figure out upselling, and to use the previous 4 tips in your business could make a huge impact on your bottom line. And none of these things need a big investment.
In order to have the website capabilities to upsell or to send a follow-up email sequence, you may find you need to upgrade your existing website capabilities. But with these things in place at a small cost, I hope you can see how you can significantly increase your sales.
Above all, I hope this gives you the inspiration to think outside the advertising box. With a strong brand that people can trust, and a few systems in place such as those email sequences, you don’t need to spend on ads if you don’t want to.
You can increase your online revenue simply by improving the efficiency of your sales and marketing.