By Ericka Simpson
Would it be accurate to say that your passion as a new business owner forced you to fire sales into red hot gear? Remember when you destroyed every idea that you wouldn’t make it? You didn’t wait for marketers to find you.
How it all changed
You performed market research feverishly, logging hours at your local library or searching the internet for demographic details on your target audience. If you were releasing a new book, you stopped by every local bookstore within a 30 mile radius of where you lived. Pushing fear aside, you walked right up to the customer service desk clerk and asked, “What do I need to do to get my books in your store?”
Your fire sales up efforts paid off. You got your products in mainstream stores. Online sales were strong. Then, several months or maybe even a year or more passed and your sales declined. Despite your efforts, it seemed impossible that your products would sell as fast or in as much volume as they once did.
Forget that each product has a life cycle and, when sales drop off — even if you don’t completely give up — you’ll slow down. You’ll start to doubt yourself and your work. What happens next shouldn’t surprise you. That’s right. Your sales limp along and then completely give out. But, your talent and your ability to produce didn’t change. So, what changed?
Your passion changed. Your belief that you will succeed changed. That shift altered your marketing, advertising, word-of-mouth and lead generation efforts. Like a tsunami forcing its way across a small town, your dwindling passion and belief flattened your sales.
Fire sales without breaking the bank
Read these 10 easy steps. Take action on at least three of the steps to fire sales into red hot mode.
- Ignite your passion. Like a relationship that’s gone stale, you once had so much passion for your products or services that you thought about them all the time. You allowed slow or no sales to dampen your passion. Get that passion back! Recall why you started your business. Without judging if you’ll generate a lot of sales or not, imagine the benefits that your products or services will bring to others. Remember in vivid detail how good it felt to speak with someone who benefited from what you created.
- Get fresh with your market research. Discover changes in your target audience. Does a larger number of your target audience now use Instagram versus Twitter or Facebook? Has 15% or more of your target audience moved from single family homes into apartments? If so, create a list of apartment complexes near your business. Don’t just pass brochures and flyers out at these apartment complexes. Speak with managers at the apartment complexes. Share the benefits of your products or services. Ask if you can host a seminar or give out samples. Definitely, create a sign-up sheet and get contact information on each person who comes to the seminar or receives a free sample.
- Get out of the store. Get outside and start talking with people. Build your brand on and offline. Introduce yourself and your business to newcomers, passersby and the curious. Hand out flyers, catalogs, brochures and leaflets to each person who you speak with.
Start taking more action
- Create a video channel. YouTube and Vimeo are leading online video platforms. Schedule a new marketing video release at least once a week. Test the market. You may get your best results by releasing a new marketing video early on a Tuesday morning. Or you might grab your biggest successes by releasing a new marketing video on a Friday or Saturday evening. Stick to the schedule. Avoid going weeks without publishing a new marketing video.
- Attend large public events. Cultural and community festivals attract 25,000 or more people. Choose festivals that align with your business. For example, if you sale custom designed hub caps, you’d be smart to attend auto shows.
- Get on the telephone. That’s right – the telephone. Conduct three to four online radio interviews a week. You may become a regular on one of the shows. To fire sales, you could also host your own radio show. Tie the show in with your other marketing efforts. This means, that you’ll add the dial in numbers and URL for the radio show on your packaging, including shopping bags.
- Build a talented team. Triple, quadruple and more your reach by building a talented team. Assign each team member a detailed function. For example, a team member could be responsible for video productions, while another team member handles finding and registering you to attend large public events. Another team member could handle website and packaging designs.
Try ads and learn from sincere feedback
- Run ads. Select ads that yield significant reach and that fit within your budget over the long term. As a tip, magazine ads can easily cost $5,000 and up, depending on the size of the magazine’s readership. Price out ads that align with your business. Plan to run the ads consistently, issue after issue, for at least four to six months to get the most out of the ads. Why? People generally need to see an ad 20 or more times before they take action.
- Value feedback. Face it! You’re going to get feedback on your products, services and overall business operations. Work on your self-esteem, if you must. But, don’t run from fire sales activities because you don’t want people to discover you and give you feedback. Make changes based on consistent feedback that you receive. Another thing to face! You’re going to have to sharpen, enhance and change your products or services to stay apace with local, regional, national and global changes. It’s that or go the way of the dinosaur. Choose the latter and you could feed your ego by telling people how big or great you once were.
- Practice awareness. You can meditate, take long outdoor walks or jogs, bicycle or hike. The key is to spend time each day tuning into your real Self. It knows which way you should go. It knows what you should be focusing on or doing right now. It can help you to live a rich, balanced life that extends beyond business and sales.
More ways to fire sales
More fire sales actions include blogging. Don’t just use SEO driven keywords when you blog. Use words that stir up people’s emotions. People say that they are dead, but, you can still get traction with press releases, especially if you develop relationships with media contacts. Newsletters, email, coupons, paying for online social media marketing services, educational seminars, cross selling with other businesses, public speaking, mobile trucks that showcase your products or services and late night television ads are other ways to fire your sales.
Build an annual calendar and chart your fire your sales course early. Write down specific actions that you will take each day. Don’t be vague. For example, write down that you are going to schedule social media posts at Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, ScoopIt and MySpace once a month using tools like Buffer or HootSuite. Take at least one action a day.