Business Essentials

Sales tips for small businesses in the festive season - Brought to you by NatWest

Sales tips for small businesses in the festive season - Brought to you by NatWest

Thursday, 10 December 2020

With Christmas approaching fast, SMEs face the challenge of maximising sales in a difficult trading environment. Here are seven sales and marketing ideas to help boost traffic to your business.

 

Many business owners worry about how to sell their goods without appearing too pushy, but the reality is, if you’re not championing your products, nobody else will. There are plenty of sales, marketing, and social media tactics that can help to make products and services stand out online – even in a busy Amazon-dominated marketplace. Here are seven top sales tips from the professionals to help you strike the right balance this festive season.

 

1. Take to the screen

Content is king, and right now it is video content that is the key to sales conversions, and increasingly popular with marketers. With customers generally having more spare time to research products online before making a purchase, small businesses should consider looking at how they can present their products and convey their unique selling points over an engaging video.

 

“It’s such an understated and persuasive marketing tool to influence buying habits; video helps influence 73% of people to buy a product online,” says Ellie Buckle, head of digital and strategy at Purpose Media. “It lets you tell a story in an interactive engaging way, as opposed to just writing one, and it can be used on social media, as well as the website, for a streamlined marketing message.”

 

2. Build social media partnerships

Partnering with complementary local or small businesses to run joint social media campaigns is a great way to reach new audiences that are unfamiliar with your brand. Try promoting each other by offering a combined prize or package.

 

“The brand that you partner with should have a similar-sized following on the social media platform and an audience that you’d like to get in front of,” says Piperis Filippaios, managing director of digital marketing agency digitalbeans. “The most successful campaigns involve authentic partnerships, where brand collaboration makes sense to consumers.”

 

3. Personalise offerings by location

Even amid the pandemic, consumers are still favouring local businesses. In fact, 80% of consumers feel more connected to their communities since Covid, according to figures from Accenture. Given consumers’ desire to buy local, small businesses should be highlighting the local provenance of their products and services, and customising them for local needs.

 

“With much of the population still staying close to home, there’s never been a better time to use highly targeted door drops to increase business and drive traffic online”Lucy Swanston, managing director, Nutshell Creative Marketing

 

Paul O’Donoghue, vice president of solution engineering at Uberall, says: “With customers actively searching locally for what they need – Google reports a 500% increase in people searching for local beer delivery alone – it’s imperative for small businesses to get the word out on their local offerings via multiple online channels, whether that’s their Facebook page, Google listings, or online reviews.”

You can read more about supporting small local businesses here.

 

4. Make door drops

While lockdown has driven huge growth in online shopping, small businesses overlook the value of print and direct mail marketing at their peril. Research conducted by JICMAIL described mail as the perfect tool for driving traffic online, with a 70% increase year on year.

 

Lucy Swanston, managing director of Nutshell Creative Marketing, says: “With much of the population still staying close to home, there’s never been a better time to use highly targeted door drops to increase business and drive traffic online. Door drops can be targeted at postcode level, and can drive customer acquisition by encouraging readers to complete transactions online.”

 

5. Engage with customers

People are doing more research online and will buy with their eyes, so it pays to have great photography of your top products and advertise them on the social media channels that you know your customers use.

 

James Gray, managing director of business consultancy Graystone Strategy, advises small businesses to explore clever ways to help people feel excited about shopping with them, from gift wrapping things in a special way, to offering a ‘Zoom elf’ who can give customers a personal shopping experience.

“These things will also help to draw in new customers,” he says. “And think about the decisions that consumers are making now. For instance, some will be budgeting, so bundled offers could pay off. Others are trying to make more eco decisions so you might want to appeal to them by using easy-to-recycle packaging.”

 

6. Deliver a connected customer experience

The most common reason for losing someone’s attention online is a lack of clarity in the messaging or a disjointed customer journey. Users will quickly abandon a website if the process becomes unclear or confusing, leading to a lost sale.

 

“Make sure that any ads you run are linked directly to your website and, if you are promoting a specific product, it should take users straight to the product page,” says Piperis Filippaios. “The customer journey, from their initial engagement via an ad or search engine, through to browsing products and on to checkout needs to make sense. It needs to be predictable. Keep it simple and straightforward.”

 

7. Make shopping feel safer

Even if coronavirus restrictions do ease up in December, consumers will be looking for frictionless purchasing options that allow them to feel safe and at ease. One thing that small businesses can do is to ensure that they have a clear, speedy platform that gives customers the option of either collecting their items or having them delivered.

 

Aimee Bradshaw, a small business expert at Startups.co.uk, says: “We’re seeing more and more small businesses stepping up to meet consumer demand by offering click-and-collect services. The good news is that this functionality can easily be built into your e-commerce platform. It creates a transparent purchasing process and two-way communication between the buyer and seller that adds a more personal feel to online shopping.”

 

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