As a small business owner, you certainly have experienced high peaks in sales, as well as the Grand Canyon sized troughs of low demand. At certain times of the year, your sales are going well, and you think you might be able to take a nice vacation. Other times, your customers seem to have disappeared in a fog, leaving you scratching your head wondering what happened.
When times are lean and you are waiting for the sun to come out once more, there are strategies you can implement to entice customers to your place of business. The key is your approach. Here are a few tips:
Buck the Temptation to Slash Prices
Many small business owners take the approach that when sales are slim, the only way to get customers back in is to cut prices on everything. Certainly you’ve witnessed the business with a sign twirler on the street advertising “50% of EVERYTHING!” However, this could result in even fewer sales and an even thinner profit margin.
Rather than simply and dramatically slashing prices, consider the following ways to gently use financial motivators to improve customer demand.
Create a “Featured” Discount
Avoiding price cuts doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t create strategic discounts. Cutting prices is one thing, but simply creating demand for a certain feature product can get wallets back in the door.
Consider making a “featured item of the week.” This could be a product or service that is experiencing slow sales or any other product you choose. Use your social media fans and followers to get the word out about your featured discount.
Consider Raising Prices
This may seem to go against logic, but raising your prices could work to your advantage. People know they get what they pay for, and if you cut prices, they may feel they are getting something ‘cheap.’
Take for instance a struggling wedding videographer. She was slowly getting into the business and making a few gigs by charging less than most of her competition. However, with a simple strategy of drastically increasing her prices, even above the level of a well-established videographer in her metropolitan area, she found that more clients began booking her services. Her prices gave the consumer a psychological notion that her product was superior, and her business thrived!
Encourage Word of Mouth
Maybe your customers don’t need your products or services right now. But what about their friends and family? Encourage a little business action by inviting customers on your contact list to invite someone else to try your products.
Consider giving a discount for a referral or even a free service for their help in bringing in a new customer. This kind of incentive puts the work of getting new customers in the hands of old ones. Consider offering them a commission for their recommendations.
Another way to attract new attention from customers both new and old is changing up your product or service. Maybe you have been selling the same old pizza for years and years. Perhaps it’s time to change your menu to feature more locally-grown ingredients! Maybe simply renaming your pizzas to reflect local history can give your sales a boost.
Pizza is just an example. Whatever you sell, make an effort to examine how you can improve it. Changes could be simple like a modification of product packaging, a change in color of your product. Or you might decide to make major changes and improvements in your product. A product makeover is a great way to get customers to take a new look.
Leverage Giveaways for Exposure
The blogging community is an excellent opportunity for businesses to gain tremendous exposure – and usually for just the cost of a product. Consider contacting relevant blogs in your industry, or even local bloggers for your brick-and-mortar business, and offer them products, discounts, or gift certificates for them to giveaway to their readers. This is one of the cheapest forms of advertising, yet it can be highly targeted and lend tremendous exposure to your company.
Larger bloggers with a considerable audience may charge you a fee to host a giveaway, but the results may be significantly worth the investment. Think of bloggers are the largest word-of-mouth spreaders online.
Slow sales and valleys of slumps can seem defeating to a small business owner. Use these helpful tips to kick-start your business back on the sales superhighway.