PHOTOGRAPH: gajus, 123rf.com
Singaporeans spend an average of 4.4 hours on the internet every day. In today’s connected world, it is almost cliche to say that you have to look for customers on the Internet. Well, It is cliche because it is true.
Internet presents numerous ways for us to market our products or services. Perhaps you are already getting sales from online channels, but are you maximizing the full potential of the internet?
In this article, I will explore 10 ways to get sales, so you never run out of ideas. The first 5 of them are organic (aka free) ways of gaining sales whereas the next 5 are paid means, so that we have something for any budget size.
Ways To Get Sales Online: Organic methods
SEO aka Search Engine Optimization
SEO is probably one of the most common ways to generate sales these days. Its effectiveness stems from the fact that ”Googling” has become 2nd nature for us. It is not surprising to find that 60% of consumers actually start their research on a search engine before heading to a specific website. People who are searching for a product are in ”buy mode” and certainly constitute qualified traffic.
Any business will love these prospects that takes little convincing to become customers. The only downside of SEO is the uncertainty of the method. You can optimize your website dutifully and wait patiently for a couple of months but Google is in no obligation to put your website on their results page. No one can guarantee top rankings on Google
Blogging is becoming increasingly popular as a way of getting customers. It works because we live in a world of educated and savvy consumers today. People prefers to be educated rather than pitched. When you continuously give value and establish trust with your target audience, the sales is simply a byproduct. In blogging however, it is a marathon and you cant expect results immediately. It definitely takes time to build rapport and gain trust.
Quora/ forum marketing
Quora is a platform fast gaining traction in Singapore. It works like a forum in which people ask and answer questions there, except that it also has social media features incorporated, which makes it really cool. If you havent check it out, you should. Similar to the spirit of blogging to help your target audience, Quora/forum marketing sees that you help your audience by answering questions there. Just make sure you answer questions relevant to your business.
Social proof marketing
Portals and review sites are prevalent these days. You have Hungrygowhere, Sgcarmart, Tripadvisor and the like. In case you haven’t realize, companies listed there with scores of positive reviews stand to gain alot of business from these massively popular portals.
Again, this is because savvy consumers believe the words of fellow customers much more than they do for advertising messages by companies. Best yet, social proof marketing is free. Just provide some incentive for your happy customer to leave you a positive review!
Social media platforms
If you want fast results, this is the way to go. Send private messages to your ”friends” on Facebook/Linkedin/Twitter to tell them about what you offer. Yes, it sounds primitive and conventional, but it certainly works. If you are just starting your business, this is the best method.
You can gauge audiences’ interest right off the bat, providing you with immediate feedback for refining your pitch. Just take note not to be sneaky and irritating. Be direct with your proposition, and if your ”friend” is not interested, move on. There are greener pastures waiting.
Ways To Get Sales Online: Paid Methods
SEM aka Search engine marketing
This is the cousin of the first method listed above, though it falls under the paid category. For reasons explained earlier regarding the ingrained search habits of Singaporeans, this approach works. It is also instant and flexible, meaning to say your ads appear the moment you start you campaign, and you can also adjust your budget as you go along.
With geographic targeting, timing scheduling and direct calling functions, SEM has really improved a lot over the years, making it a powerful advertising tool. However, you need to set aside enough budget for testing at the initial stage to nail the right keyword and ad copy in order for it to be effective.
Facebook is Google’s biggest competitor in the online advertising space. As Google ads become more expensive over the years, many advertisers have turned to Facebook for more exposure. Facebook has also tuned up its advertising feature, making it no less powerful than Google’s.
Some useful features worth looking into include offer claims(useful for brick-and-mortar), interests targeting and lead ads. Even though both giants are loggerheads, as a small business, we can gain the most by using both platforms to complement each other. Google target needs while Facebook target interests and the combination is lethal.
Businesses just need to be aware of using boost posts feature that leaks away their money like a broken pipe.
If you do any form of advertising for your website, you must add remarketing to your arsenal. Anyone of us have been a subject of remarketing. Think about Zalora, Agoda or other big tech startups. They are aggressive adopters of remarketing. After you visit their website, you probably start seeing their ads everywhere you go. It is not that they buy ads everywhere, it is just that the ads follow you everywhere.
Using cookies, remarketing ads will show up on websites that you visit as long as they fall under Google display network. Remarketing is effective because it brings people back to your website to complete their transaction.
One of the most untapped means for a business to get sales is their own database of customers! Think about it, you spend a good amount of money, time and effort to acquire a customer in the first place, why wouldn’t you explore more opportunities with them?
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Through email marketing, you can stay in touch with your customers and consistently keep you at the top of their mind. They already have certain level of trust towards you and it is likely that they will buy from you the 2nd or 3rd time.
Even if they do not need your offerings anymore, they may also refer their friends or family members to you. Use email marketing software such as mailchimp or Aweber to make your job of staying in touch easy.
If you have tried ALL the methods above and still do not see results in terms of increased sales, the problem may not lie with the platform afterall. Your website could be the culprit. If you were to do any form of marketing online, website is the foundation for success.
Think of it as a retail store that all of your customers visit. If it is below par, none of your visitors will become customers. Yet, most websites are designed for aesthetics, but not for performance. Consider adding social proof signals , improving navigation and enhancing authority of your website for better performance.
Last but not least…
Sales & marketing is the only activity in your business that generates cashflow which happens to be the lifeblood of your business. As entrepreneurs/ budding entrepreneurs in Singapore, getting the word out about your business without burning a hole in your pocket should be one of your primary concerns.
Internet is indisputably the best way to achieve that end. Based on your budget, try out any of the 10 ways above!
This article was originally published on The New Savvy.
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