How do you increase sales? Is it by getting your message in front of more people through advertising? Maybe. Is it by offering sales and discounts? Sometimes.
Those strategies can work, but they both have a few problems.
Advertising: If you can manage to find a good website or magazine to advertise in that reaches your target market, it will probably be very expensive. And how many people actually pay attention to advertising? We see tons of ads every day (even if you don't watch TV)... how many do you remember? How often do you see an ad and decide to click on it or remember it later?
Discounts: A discount offered for a short period can cause those potential customers who are busy sitting on the fence to finally make a purchase and maybe you end up getting some good business out of it. But what happens when the sale ends? My guess is that you've just sold to a sector of people who just want a deal and they'll probably wait until your next deal to come back again.
So, what else is there to do?
What about adding value? This strategy will grab people's attention, push those fence sitters off balance and possibly help your company's image overall. There are many ways you can add value.
Increase the quality of your product. Use your creativity and change something about your product so that it actually increases in value. For instance, I offered an upgrade to a wool backing on a quilt for one lucky customer once. I got an order right away. This can come in the form of a giveaway or a limited edition of your typical product. This also provides a great excuse to share something new on your blog or through a email newsletter.
Give your customer a good experience. If you offer a service, maybe you can find a way to keep them up to date on your progress. If you sell a product online, maybe you should think about your packaging. I once ordered a camera lens from Photojojo and in the package they included a tiny green toy dinosaur. It was so random but also it made me smile. Make sure your customers get that good feeling when they think of your company.
Support other small businesses. This month, over at Queen B Quilts, I'm offering my customers a free cupcake with every order. Not only will this hopefully (fingers crossed) increase sales, but it's just fun and it gives me the opportunity to support another small business simultaneously.
What strategies have you used that have shown results?