Running a small business requires a substantial amount of multitasking. One of the important tasks of running a small business is identifying key sales trends to increase revenue and benefit your bottom line. According to the National Retail Federation, there’s never been a better time to grow your business, and according to a survey from American Express, growth is the number one focus for small businesses.
One of the hottest trends in business today is monthly subscription sales. Consumers can buy just about everything on a monthly subscription. The monthly subscription business model rewards the consumer with better pricing and a hassle-free way to get products on a predictable time table. It also rewards the business owner with a predictable sales stream for the future. Small businesses that can implement a subscription model will win in the future.
The airline industry figured this out decades ago. Loyalty programs work, period. Loyalty programs reward the consumer with a discount for their repeat business. Think, buy four car washes get the fifth one for free. Consumers feel good when they get a deal. They will reward the small business that gives them a discount for purchasing products that they could easily buy elsewhere.
Content marketing material
Content marketing enables a small business to publish information that can be used by prospective customers. The objective of content marketing is to communicate the uses and benefits of products and services. When used effectively, content marketing can educate potential customers before they ever step into a store. Content marketing is not advertising, but is marketing material designed to drive traffic to a store by identifying a problem or need, and then highlighting a recommended solution. Online short content marketing videos are a great way to create awareness and to build consumer confidence in a product or service. Social media selling, a close cousin to content marketing, is an excellent channel to bring attention to your small business. The Small Business Association offers excellent tips on developing a content marketing strategy and acknowledges that content marketing is here to stay.
Subject matter expertise
Most of us can simply go to any other online retailer to buy a specific product. However, if the consumer is not sure what he or she needs or wants, they will migrate to the stores that provide expert advice. For example, there is a big box home improvement retailer within fifteen minutes of most Americans, however, the local small hardware stores have a loyal following because they offer expert advice. The service and knowledgeable staff at these small stores clearly differentiate them from the bigger stores and that drives their sales.
Sales pipeline management
Large companies have long since adopted and embraced sales pipeline management. A typical sales pipeline starts with identification and qualification of an opportunity, and driving that opportunity down the pipe to negotiation and ultimately to a sale. It is a great way to focus the company’s assets on opportunities with the highest probability of success. Small businesses typically use a shotgun approach to sales. In other words, they pursue almost every lead. By adopting a disciplined sales pipeline approach, a small business can invest their time and money on pursuing qualified opportunities.
This article was written by Michelle Guilbeau for CBS Small Business Pulse