When you increase sales and average order values across your company, it boosts the value and profitability of every business.
Marketing strategies and techniques employed by companies are ever evolving to ensure that they secure the edge over the competition and convince the public to make a purchase.
In this article, we dive deeper into eleven different strategies looking at research to answer whether your business could benefit from these methods.
This blog uses statistical research data and theories that have helped provide success stories for many other businesses across a variety of sectors.
1. Does marketing increase sales?
Marketing is important part of the sales process as this is it’s the tactic your company uses to introduce your target audiences to your brand, your products and services, and what makes you different and better.
“People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you do it.”
In Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, he deconstructs how companies like Apple operate their business model differently.
Apple start with the ‘why’ their company does what it does before looking at ‘how’ they should do it.
It is only then that they look at ‘what’ product can be created to represent these principles.
Sinek stresses that this model replicates how the human brain functions.
He warns that far too many companies begin with asking ‘what’ we can create and this leads to the creation of products which, as a result, have limited interest value to the outside world.
The ‘why’ should form the basis of your business strategy.
Your strategy should address:
- who your target market is
- what issues your target market have that you could solve
- how you could create a product or service for to solve these issues
- the most efficient and cost-effective ways to find your customers physically or online
Any successful marketing strategy begins with the research stage – understanding your buyer.
If you already have existing customers, you might understand them even better by:
- using surveys to ask what they think about your products and services
- inviting them to interviews for deeper conversations
- offering incentives to increase the volume and depth of data you hold on your clients.
If you have leads to follow up on:
- contact them to ask relevant questions
- research the person and the company they work for to gain a better understanding of what they might want
It’s important that your interview questions are thorough enough to help you build a buyer persona – a profile of the customer(s) that would typically be interested in your products or services.
Find out about:
- their age
- family situation
- where they live
- job role and responsibilities
- shopping preferences
- who they work for
- any goals and challenges in their personal life or at work
- their preferred sources of information on the products and services they purchase for themselves or their companies – for example radio, TV, newspapers, blogs, websites, social media, friends
Once you have created a buyer persona, the next stage is to identify all the benefits your products or services would offer them.
Categorise these benefits under two headers: tangible and intangible.
Tangible benefits are ones that are easy to perceive and justify – for example, a light bulb is useful to lighten a dark room, to allow you to see more clearly.
Intangible benefits are often those associated with emotions like the sense of warmth and companionship a well-lit room can offer.
Successful marketing is often designed to elicit an emotional reaction from your audience.
Once you have identified the benefits, it is easier to work out what problems your customers might have that your products or services could solve for them.
A knowledge of customers’ hopes and problems which you address in your marketing and sales approaches increases the chances of a sale.
In the next stage of your marketing strategy, you need to begin exploring how to make your company stand out.
You may operate in a competitive marketplace so what gives you the edge over competitors?
Why should your customers choose you?
It’s time to draw up a competitor analysis.
Your competitor analysis will help you to:
- identify opportunities within the market,
- shape your marketing and the questions your marketing answers, and
- choose keywords which are most relevant in search queries – online marketing is now the most important form of marketing.
Marketing does increase sales – it’s the way you establish channels of communication with your target audiences and how you address your audience when their exposed to your advertising and your online content.
2. Do websites increase sales?
Most business decision makers and consumers visit a potential supplier’s website before either getting in touch with them for more information or making a purchase.
Even if you have a physical office or outlet, many buying journeys start online.
According to Google, 53% of shoppers do research before making a purchasing decision.
Companies which “use their website as a tool to connect with customers online see an average growth of 15-50%.”
Yet nearly all small business websites have fundamental issues which make their websites ineffective, the most significant of which are:
- 23% get updated less than once a year,
- 70% have no call to action, and
- 82% don’t have associated social media accounts.
Research shows us what design features increase or decrease the chances of a sale.
94% of first impressions are design related.
Two of the more effective design techniques to better engage visitors include:
- Trust icons – building a relationship with your target audience is about building trust and, if they can see icons on your site indicating customer satisfaction like Google Reviews or TrustPilot widgets, this gives you a competitive edge
- Don’t use ‘sliders’ – websites featuring carousels or sliders that feature rotating content have been shown to confuse consumers because the information on display often changes too quickly for them to read it.
Standard University research revealed that 46.1% of people put web design as their top criteria for judging a company’s credibility.
3. Do samples increase sales?
Let us consider this statement by behavioural economist Dan Ariely, at Duke University: “Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct. If somebody does something for you, you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them.”
Costco has become synonymous with giving away free samples, a successful strategy for them which has helped them increase market share and revenues for decades.
It not only increases short-term sales but it also increases long-term custom and loyalty too.
The 6 major advantages of using free samples in marketing are that they:
- help to change behaviours encouraging people to habitually buy products or services they never used to buy.
- allow customers to become aware of new or unusual products.
- raise brand awareness, spread the word and associate your brand with generosity.
- give businesses the chance to get feedback, acting as a form of market research. Tip: encourage samplers to use a hash tag on social.
- encourage existing customers to consider more of your products
- show confidence in your products or services.
Samples do increase sales but, at the end of a campaign in which samples were a part, be sure to factor in the cost of giving away those samples.
You can then determine whether you made enough profit on it or not on the campaign based upon:
- the value of one-off orders generated from the campaign if yours is an occasional purchase or
- likely lifetime value of the customer if you sell fast-moving consumer or business goods.
4. Do giveaways increase sales?
Giveaways aren’t freebies – they often take the form of competitions and discount vouchers.
Let’s consider the use of competitions in marketing and sales promotions.
Prizes are offered by businesses in the hope of increasing sales or building brand/product awareness.
It works – the latest statistics indicate that:
- 33% of consumers who take part in a competition are open to receiving further information from the brand and associates.
- 34% of new fans are acquired through a contest or giveaway.
Traditionally, competitions were the reserve of companies with large budgets which had the resources to monitor the uptake and purchasing paths, supporting competitions with other marketing to reinforce their key messaging.
The internet now allows much smaller businesses to enjoy the benefit of multi-channel marketing and competitions that can reach and engage large numbers of participants.
There are several giveaway techniques that are more likely to ensure success:
- prizes should be desirable – you can substantially increase the number of entrants by offering a particularly appealing prize
- prizes should be relevant to the business’s target audience – a carpet cleaning company may choose to give away a holiday and their customers may like holidays but, ideally, there needs to be a connection otherwise participants will only remember the prize
- registration should be a simple process – the higher the barrier to entry, the lower the take-up
- create interesting content around the giveaway – a variety of content increases the number of potential future customers who participate in the promotion.
If you are interested in running a giveaway, there are more techniques available here.
Giveaways may increase sales but they nearly always increase the number of contacts you can get in touch with who have shared their contact details with you as part of your promotion.
However, please be aware that the majority of people who enter a competition may only be doing so for the prize and they may have no interest in what you’re offering.
This means that, when you do follow up marketing like sending an email newsletter to these entrants, the response rates you get from them may be substantially lower than your standard opted-in email newsletter recipients.
5. Do discounts increase sales?
Offering discounts grabs the attention of customers.
All potential customers, whether B2B or B2C, find themselves more engaged when they believe that they can take advantage of a bargain and save money.
Coupled with a time limit of when the sale will end, the sense of urgency in a buyer increases as does the ‘fear of missing out’ if a purchase isn’t made.
Using discounting may:
- drive customers quicker through the buying cycle to the point of purchase,
- move excess or outdated stock, and
- create new product or service demand.
You may also attract new customers or boost your reputation within the particular audiences you are interested in engaging with.
There are drawbacks, however, and these must be balanced and taken into consideration before launching a sale.
Before launching a marketing campaign around a discount, please consider whether it may:
- show a lack of confidence in what you’re selling,
- set a bad precedent – it’s much easier to lower prices than it is to raise prices,
- create a lower perceived value of your products or services, or
- reduce profit margins overall if your customers only choose you because of the prices you charge.
You’ll also need to consider:
- how many products you discount,
- how often you discount, and
- by what percentage you discount.
If you always compete on price, you become a hostage to fortune to bigger, better-funded rivals.
Discounts do increase sales but it takes careful planning and good market insight to make discounting work for your business.
6. What to do to increase sales in retail?
Retail companies with bricks and mortar are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of both the shift of consumers and businesses to online shopping and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a result, new strategies are being developed to integrate ecommerce into business models.
What can retail stores can do to encourage sales in physical stores before we explore ecommerce opportunities?
Inside a store, you should address the following six points:
- customers need to feel safe – integrating health and safety messaging into marketing offers reassurance. Ensure that staff have been trained and are following these procedures to build trust with your customers.
- provide excellent customer service – the experience that customers get when visiting a store needs to be exceptional enough to make them want to visit again.
- offer click-and-collect – 45% of click-and-collect customers also bought something else whilst they were collecting.
- manage stock levels as efficiently as possible – build trust with customers by having what they want in store when they visit.
- offer in-store experiences – product demonstrations and product launch nights give customers the chance to get hands on.
- have a special ‘returns’ or ‘ex-display’ section – much like the IKEA ‘bargain corner’ concept – offers that are only available in store and are different every time you visit.
For your online presence, please consider the following:
- encourage online reviews – customers trust other customers’ opinions. Offer incentives to your customers for leaving reviews. Got bad reviews? Reply to them to show that you are willing to listen and improve.
- offer genuine money-back guarantees – if consumers are put off by risk, take away that obstacle to the sale.
- be selective when offering a choice of products and services – similar to the Aldi in-store business model, less choice makes buying decisions easier.
- answer every question and objection on the product pages – try to cover as much detail in your product descriptions. Amazon and Argos take this one step further by building in customer questions and answers to these pages too.
- ensure your store is mobile optimised – 43% of online UK purchases were made using mobile phones in 2019 and a further 24% on tablets.
In addition to offering your products and services for sale via your website, you may wish to consider using much bigger platforms like Amazon and eBay to increase your reach.
Successful sales techniques you could choose to use on both Amazon and eBay include:
- plenty of high-quality pictures – your products should be professionally shot, preferably against a plain, light background to make them stand out.
- memorable product description selling the benefits, not the features – as the old saying goes, “Buyers don’t want a new bed. Buyers want a good night’s sleep.”
- find a niche and take ownership of it – the more specific your niche, the easier it is to sell and much higher profitable margins are possible
7. Do influencers increase sales?
An influencer is a person who has built up a loyal following though one or more social media marketing channels.
Their opinions often influence the purchasing decisions of their followers.
For younger clients, the photo sharing app Instagram is an increasingly important way to showcase products and services to your potential clients.
How you increase sales on Instagram is not straightforward however.
That’s because each product or service requires a different style of presentation to specific audiences.
Businesses must plan their influencer marketing carefully.
If you intend to use influencer marketing, you should:
- partner with an influencer who would be a credible consumer of their products or services as “authenticity” is key to many business and personal clients
- find an influencer whose followers match your target client demographics as closely as possible
- prioritise creativity – what memorable content can be created that is in line with the influencer’s personality?
- ensure that they copy you use addresses the audience personally and promotes the benefits fo your products and services avoiding any hard selling.
- always measure success of working with each influencer by diligent tracking of your campaigns with them.
Investment into influencer marketing is on the increase.
65% of influencer marketing budgets were due to increase in 2020 compared to just 39% in 2018.
80% of marketers find influencer marketing effective and “89% say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels.”
8. Does email marketing increase sales?
Email marketing campaigns are a particularly effective strategy to generate strong and actionable leads which lead to immediate sales.
Email usage is still increasing across the world and businesses are enjoying the benefits that it brings.
Writing and designing highly responsive email marketing pieces is complicated and greater returns are often achieved particularly when the text in them is composed by an experienced email copywriting professional.
Your open rates and clickthrough rates improve when:
- the subject line is compelling – it’s the first thing your audience will read. Like a newspaper headline, it needs to grab their attention and make them want to open the email.
- the main text (copy) is engaging, short and broken up into segments – emails should ideally be between 50 and 125 words, with anything longer available with a click through to the company’s website.
- you have just one ‘call to action’ – make it clear what you want the recipient to do.
For B2B email campaigns and campaigns targeting schools and the education sector, the open rate and clickthrough data reports can be used by sales teams to contact the recipients who interacted most with an email.
Whether used alone, or as a part of multi-channel marketing, email marketing should form part of nearly every business’s strategy.
9. Does telemarketing increase sales?
Almost half of chief marketing officers stay that telemarketing is still an effective tool.
The return on investment is impressive.
“For every pound spent on B2B telemarketing the delivered ROI was 11 British pounds.”
Businesses should ensure that their lists are regularly cleansed for old or inaccurate data.
Telemarketing carried out by a trained team offers several benefits:
- it’s two-way, interactive, and person-to-person creating rapport and building a relationship
- you can generate leads and appointments for sales teams
- you can ask for feedback on the products and services
- the results can be measured so you can calculate exactly your return on investment.
More Than Words has its own in-house telemarketing team offering outsourced campaigns to clients.
If you already have a telesales team and you want a fresh set of eyes on the approach they’re using over the phone with clients, please contact us about our telesales script writing service.
10. Does contacting existing clients increase sales?
Targeting existing customers is a cheaper and effective way of increasing revenue.
Selling to existing customers can cost up to 25 times less than the cost of finding a new customer.
Try to record as much information as possible about your existing customers.
Take time to get to know them because, once a relationship is established, it becomes easier to know what you have to say, do, and offer to encourage them to by more from you.
Regular contact like sending an email newsletter once or twice a month makes a difference and you should incorporate this into your marketing strategy as soon as possible.
Your existing customers can provide excellent feedback and asking their opinion will make them feel valued, especially if you reward them for doing so.
Create a loyalty programme shows to customers that you appreciate them.
It encourages repeat business and discourages your customers switching to the competition.
Encourage word of mouth marketing between friends and family.
Ask your customers to spread the word if they’re happy with the service they received from you.
Make this easier by creating appealing social media posts for them to share and comment on.
Working out a plan to increase sales and average order values for your company
At More Than Words, we create bespoke plans to help every business focus on increasing both the volume and the value of orders.
Our services range from copywriting and telemarketing to marketing databases and content marketing.
Please call us on 0330 010 8300 or click here to email us.