Times are tough, and so is the competition.
If you’re looking for ways to improve business sales for 2012, Op Ed Marketing recommends 3:
1. Email and Social Media Marketing
No matter how big or small your business, or what industry you’re in, you need to be communicating with your customers and potential customers. Always.
Email marketing still has the highest ROI of any channel, so don’t believe anyone who says “email is dead” if you’re looking to improve business sales. Focus on growing your email list by making the email opt-in very prominent on your website: above the fold and on every page if possible.
I’m not about to go down the long, oblique road to social media success in this blog. However, what I will say is that any social media efforts should be converged with your email strategy. Ask that your Facebook fans or Twitter followers sign-up to your newsletter or eflyer, and vice versa.
And don’t forget about mobile marketing! Use SMS to communicate with those who prefer text messaging.
2. SEO and SEM
Your business has a website that you likely invested heavily in. But a website is like a human body: it needs constant nourishment, exercise, and attention to keep in optimal shape. You can do this with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
SEO is all about improving your site in the effort to drive organic traffic (free traffic) to your site. Although it’s free traffic, it will still likely cost you money to “SEO” or optimize your site for keywords that are relevant to your prospective customers. However, if done properly, by SEO experts, the ROI could be enourmous.
On the other side of SEO is SEM. SEM is probably the easiest way to connect you to potential customers who are already seeking the product or services that your business offers. However, like SEO, you really do need to work with people who know what they’re doing or you could quickly lose a lot of money. A good SEM agency or consultant will have all the proper certifications, experience, and willingness to understand your business needs (and customer) to run a truly successful campaign and improve business sales in 2012.
3. An Ecommerce or Online Store is Best Bet to Improve Business Sales
This is granddaddy of them all. Starting an online store for your business may be the fastest way to improve business sales for 2012. According to our number crunching friends at Forrester Research, US online retail sales are to reach $248.7 billion by 2014.
Many businesses say about online stores: “I don’t sell to consumers”, “I sell services, not products”, “My customers wouldn’t be interested”. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. If you sell B2B products, consider setting up an ecommerce portal where customers can order directly from your site and help you cut down on admin costs. If you sell services, get creative. You know your customers better than anyone else, so what else do they need? A whitepaper or eBook? A useful app? Subscription based services? Think of what your customers need and you’ll definitely peak their interest.
Think of ecommerce as a new business venture, even if it has nothing to do with what you’re doing now. It involves technology, marketing, and customer service – things your company is probably pretty familiar with already. So why not give it a try and add another revenue stream to your current business? Easy, peasy.