Actionable Marketing Tips for Modern Small Businesses

As a business or marketing professional, you probably already have a marketing strategy. That strategy was crafted with sales in mind. Do you want to increase sales? Let’s improve that strategy in 3 practical ways:

Test and focus on the data.

According to Econsultancy, companies who test their landing pages 50% more and use 47% more methods to improve conversions have higher conversion rates. While this statistic specifically speaks to landing pages, that’s only one small piece of your marketing strategy. So, in general terms, test different aspects of your marketing strategy, review the data, and test again. Watch how your prospective customers react and when they convert into customers.

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Do more landing pages lead to larger purchases?

Do more Facebook ads lead to more purchases versus more Instagram ads?

Do more frequent emails encourage more subscribers to purchase for the first time?

Test, test, and keep testing. But remember: Whenever you test anything, only change one aspect to ensure the rest of your test is controlled. This process can feel daunting, but it’s important to focus on one aspect of each project at a time. Monitor the results, choose and keep the winner, and then test something else.

Actionable insight: Keep a list of testing methods and changes so you can easily monitor what works and what doesn’t. Then modify your strategy as needed.

Learn customer pain points during the buying process and then resolve the issues.

According to Neil Patel, increasing revenue “can be the result of changes a company makes to its website.” Specifically, changes to the company website that address customer pain points.

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Whether you have a brick-and-mortar store or an online store, you can see your potential customers choose whether or not to purchase products. Whether you request consultations in-person, over the phone, or online, you can see when your potential customers choose not to meet with you to learn more. It’s important to search for these moments (in real-time or through analytics) and learn from them.

We start or join a business to help customers with a problem they have. But, in that process from prospect to customer, do we add to their frustration, driving them to competitors, or, even worse, to go about their lives with unresolved problems?

If you want to be a problem-solver, you need to know common customer pain points during the buying process. Here are a few examples:

  • Limited access to customer support, such as only phone calls or chatbots
  • Requesting personal information, such as an email address, too early in the buying process
  • Requiring a customer to register for an account before purchase, providing their name, email address, and other personal details before they can purchase
  • Requiring a customer to include their credit card information when signing up for a free trial
  • Confusing pricing plans that offer too many options or variables
  • Hidden fees or high delivery charges
  • Complicated, additional (and seemingly unnecessary) fees
  • Asking a customer to repeat information in-person or online
  • Putting a customer on hold over the phone, via chat, or in person

While some of these pain points are not necessarily bad for business (every business only has so many customer support representatives), they could be hurting your business because they are additional hurdles for your customers. Watch where your prospects get stuck or stop talking. Some prospects may not be your ideal customer (e.g. your products or services will be too expensive for some, but not for your ideal customers), but when many prospects stop during the buying process at common intervals, it’s time to make some changes.

The tricky concept here is that some of these pain points are currently part of your marketing strategy while others happen outside of marketing. The key is to evaluate the pros and cons, communicate between departments to find the best option for the customer, and make changes with the customer in mind.

When you remove customer pain points and stop making prospects jump hurdles in order to give you money for your products or services, more of them will become customers and your revenue will increase.

Upsell and cross-sell

According to Small Business Trends, “The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70 percent. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20 percent.” This is why cross-selling and upselling are so important to the bottom line.

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You might think that upselling and cross-selling is for the sales team or the customer service team, and not for the marketing team, but this effort is actually best accomplished when all three teams work together.

Upselling and cross-selling can be added to your marketing efforts in many ways, such as:

  • Automatic email after a purchase
  • Recommendations on your website product or service pages
  • Blog posts featuring an upsell or cross-sell
  • Customer testimonial featuring an upsell or cross-sell
  • A website banner, social media post, or email promoting a sale, free shipping, or added product or value 
  • Showcase item customization across all channels
  • Package products and services together into one offering and showcase them across all channels

According to HubSpot, “The key to successful cross-selling and upselling is making an offer that’s appropriate for where the customer is at that time.” This is why working with the sales and customer service teams is so important. By working together, you know the best times to use your marketing channels to upsell and cross-sell to your customers. It’s probably the same time your sales team is also connecting with your customer, so your customer receives a cohesive message offering the same upsell or cross-sell.

It’s important to note, however, that upsells and cross-sells don’t just happen with customers. They can also happen with prospects. As a marketing or business professional, you can utilize your many channels to cross-sell the appropriate content (free and gated) to your followers and subscribers. Depending on your products and services, you might also be able to upsell a follower or subscriber with a free trial or product or service that is low-risk (low fee).

For example, if you track frequent website visitors that aren’t on your email list yet, create a popup with gated, valuable content. If you have subscribers that haven’t purchased yet, give them a free trial. If the free trial is almost over, offer to extend it for a small fee (and fewer bells and whistles) so they can keep the service without paying full price (yet).

Actionable insight: Always upsell and cross-sell products and services that will truly benefit the customer. Never sell to pad the company’s pockets as this typically sends the customer running.

At the end of the workday, the only ways to increase revenue are to increase the number of customers or increase the number of products or services you offer your current customers. This is why testing and improving, fixing customer pain points, and upselling and cross-selling are so important for businesses and their marketing departments.