Small Business Marketing and Sales:

Why You Need To Advertise Beyond The Cash Register

Advertising campaigns need clearly defined objectives, especially when the offer is a low margin sale on single (or a few) items. Most ad efforts by small to mid-size businesses leave the real money on the table. Here's how to extend your strategy beyond the initial sale.

Plan A Long-term Customer Strategy

Have you noticed that most of the 'Sales' you see offer “bargain basement” discounts with painfully low margins for the seller? Sure, there’s the expectation that a buyer will make an additional purchase, but as someone very accurately pointed out, “hope is not a strategy”.

While it might seem to be safe “percentage play” to hope that a buyer will make multiple purchases—a more proactive conversion strategy will produce more impressive, and far more profitable results.

Formulating longer-range objectives in all your ad campaigns will lower your overall marketing costs by increasing the profitability of each campaign.

You Know They’re Coming, So ‘Bake A Cake’

Attracting buyers isn’t the same as acquiring a customer, and your marketing strategy has to take this distinction into account. A business that’s not converting buyers into customers is just an endless series of promotions!

Why not have your salespeople ready with pre-planned up-sell and cross-sell strategies, as well as bundled offerings to go along with your initially advertised ‘specials’? Granting authority to offer discretionary ‘one-off’ discounts to complete a bundle can add tremendous power to your sales force and turbocharge their effectiveness.

When an ad campaign is well thought out, your product offering gives a lot of clues about what the buyers who respond really want to accomplish. Instead of thinking about the products you’re selling, consider what problem your buyers want to solve as a result of the purchase.

When you think like a solutions provider, you can create upselling and cross-selling tactics in advance, and instruct your sales force accordingly. This is where discretionary ‘one-off’ discounts come in handy. Your sales staff can then construct a personalized bundled solution that may have otherwise been missed.

Show The Advantages Of Being Your Customer

Do you sell to a return trip by offering a ‘first time buyer’s certificate’ that is good for some special offering if redeemed in the next 15 or 30 days? What about a ‘bring a friend coupon’ that may get a response from an additional buyer that your campaign may have either missed or failed to convince.

Your sales staff should have a range of 'bounce-back' options since the same offer isn’t going to be attractive to everyone. Just guessing by what is being bought at the time is a very inaccurate way to judge. After all, the guy whose buying exterior paint supplies for his home isn’t going to be doing that again for a long time!

Relationship Building: Capture Their Personal Data

Do you enroll them in your automatic ‘birthday discount shopping spree’ program to capture their personal information? You’ll need it in the future to involve your new buyer in your relationship marketing efforts.

When you can correlate this data with their first purchase, purchase amounts, etc., you can begin to develop accurate individual customer profiles. As time goes by you’ll know the buying patterns and preferences that will let you deliver laser focused, irresistible offers that generate high volume, high profit responses.

The Takeaway

The deliberate planning of the micro-steps all along the conversion process will generate higher returns on your advertising investments and ensure a continuously widening customer base. You’ll soon see a dramatic upsurge in revenue that you may have otherwise thought impossible!

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