If you ask any small business owner, one of the major factors affecting business trajectory -- along with other major challenges including cash flow, health care, tax compliance, employee hiring -- is sales. Revenue is a key driver to any business as it is directly related to one's bottom line growth and ability to scale. So then, what are the key factors to increasing sales if you're currently struggling? With only 50% of small businesses surviving past the five-year mark, this is a necessary problem that many of us prioritize. Here are some quick marketing tips directed toward my fellow entrepreneurs that can help fuel growth for your small business.
How To Boost Sales For Your Small Business
1. Live in your niche/engage with your customer
One CBInsights analysis study concluded that 42% of small businesses fail because there is no market need for the product offered. In order to make sure your product is solving a customer challenge, you'll need to live in your niche and constantly engage with your current and potential customer base. Understand how your product can help solve a problem in their lives. Market research via tools, such as customer service surveys or focus groups, can help garner insights to inform better product-related decisions. Building relationships with your customers is always beneficial.
Another way to live in your niche is to attend industry trade events that target your customer or market specifically. This allows you to further understand their buying behavior and what's driving their purchase decisions. You'll also be able to network with other leaders in your industry and share experiences that can yield ideas for how you can better serve your customer.
2. Spend money to make money
As the saying goes, "Scared money don't make no money." In business, investing in advertisements can be a targeted way to drive sales. Depending on your business, social media is a low cost way to start spending ad dollars. First, you'll need to make sure your visual media, sales copy, and call to action is extremely clear. Then, use the social media platform's ad tools to target your ad as specifically as possible. You may need to make different versions of the ad depending upon your market segment.
One size does not fit all. Working with a social media ads expert for training or implementation is a smart investment if you're not comfortable running an ad campaign alone. A solid expert should be able to tailor your visuals, sales copy and call to action to align with your sales goals. Other types of worthwhile paid promotion include buying advertising space on other platforms (websites, podcasts, radio, TV), working with influencers to push your product or service, or even offering affiliate codes to others to help direct traffic to your business.
Depending upon your business, investing in a content marketing strategy can also be valuable. What kind of content can you create or push out into the world that drives brand awareness and inspires customers to take action? If you're a service provider, investing in video content that teaches lessons related to your service might be a way to drive future sales. Or, hiring a publicist that can help you land press opportunities and increase your brand awareness is another smart way to spend marketing dollars. Whatever you choose, you'll want to make sure you're consistently reviewing all reports monthly (or weekly) to make sure there is a positive ROI (return on investment.) Then, adjust if needed.
3. Nurture your email list
Email marketing is an often underlooked tool that can drive business growth. If you aren't investing in building a quality, well-engaged email list now is the time to start. Email marketing is a great way to stay top of mind and build a personal relationship with your audience. However your emails shouldn't always be about driving customers to buy something from you. Use emails as a way to build a sense of genuine community. Share behind the scenes about your company or tips that your customer can use in their own lives. Show that you care.
Making sure you choose the right email service provider based on your business and email needs is also crucial. A good email service provider should allow you to segment your audience so that you can send emails that cater to their past behaviors and experience with your business.
4. Conduct a website audit
If you're an online-based business, you'll want to ensure that it is easy for customers to buy from you. Is your website designed to convert interested customers into paying customers? Take some time to analyze your site for key indicators of future sales performance. Does the site take a long time to load? Are your product and/or service descriptions clear? For example, if you're an online fashion boutique, are your product photos well-taken and edited? Do you have all appropriate sizing information readily available to someone who is looking? Making sure your cart checkout process is easy is also key. Many customers will abandon cart, especially if they can't figure out how to checkout and pay.
Take time to act as a customer and walk through your website experience. Make sure your content is search-engine optimized -- and includes keywords that your customer is searching for. If you notice kinks or detractors, it's more than likely that your customer will as well. Your website doesn't have to be fancy or cost the most to design, but it should be aesthetically appealing, effective, easy to use, and drive action towards your sales goal.
At the end of the day, you'll need to find the right marketing mix that works for your business. The best way to see results and grow your sales is to experiment constantly, review your insights and analytics, and make sure you're intune with customer feedback and needs. Make smart investments in people, systems, and tools that can aid along your business sales journey.
If you need a refresher on marketing tips that convert, check out a favorite of mine -- Guerilla Marketing Remix by Jay Conrad Levinson.
Want more business reads like this? Check out these related reads:
The Power Of The Pivot: How CurlMix Plans To Reach $10M In Sales - Read More
What's Really Keeping You From Your Six-Figure Goals - Read More
The Most Common Mistakes That Keep Us From Reaching Our Business Goals - Read More
I Made $15,000 In Three Months As An Airbnb Host - Read More
Featured image by Getty Images
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Rana Campbell is a Princeton University graduate, storyteller, content marketing strategist, and the founder and host of Dreams In Drive - a weekly podcast that teaches you how to take your dreams from PARK to DRIVE. She loves teaching others how to use their life stories to inspire action within oneself and others. Connect with her on Instagram @rainshineluv or @dreamsindrive.
How We Met is a series where xoNecole talks love and relationships with real-life couples. We learn how they met, how like turned into love, and how they make their love work.
I’m willing to bet that this is not the first time you’ve seen this couple. Dalen Spratt is a television producer, owner of a tailored men's suit line, and creator of Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests, which is currently streaming on Destination America. Stacey Spratt is also a serial entrepreneur, focusing mostly on events and the nonprofit world, and she is the owner of two award-winning craft beer bars called Harlem Hops. But their accolades are not what united them.
The couple met years ago at their alma mater, Clark Atlanta University, when they were still working to create the life they have now, and if you had told them then that they’d eventually tie the knot, the pair probably would’ve laughed in your face.
Today, they’re new parents, flourishing in their careers, and each others’ “teammates.” When desiring love, Dalen recommends not looking to other couples for advice. And Stacey advises staying true to what you want. “Don’t put age or limitations on love and children. If God could do it for me, why can’t he do it for you?”
Here's How We Met.
How did you meet?
Dalen: We met in 2005 when she was advising the Greek sororities and fraternities in college. She was old as hell in college, and I was a young buck (laughs). Everybody had a crush on her, but I didn’t think much of it. Then, in 2007, we were in the same grad school class, but she still wasn’t trying to see me then either. I had to catch her five years ago; I was very patient.
Stacey: Yeah, everybody in our grad school class called him Young, Fresh to Death because he was always dressed in B-school (what CAU affectionately refers to as business major classes), and we’d just wear sweatpants (laughs).
So, I know Dalen was always attracted to you. But what about you? Did your attraction to him develop over time?
Stacey: So 2006-2008 – all the years went by. I don’t think we were really thinking about each other at all back then. Years later, I had an event in Dallas, and I booked him to be a speaker. Then, a few years ago, Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: "If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you." But I still thought he was too young at the time, and he started pulling receipts. Taraji P. Henson was dating someone young at the time, Gabrielle Union–
Dalen: First of all, I didn’t do that. You did that.
Stacey: Okay, I did. I thought he was a cutie pie, but that age thing was on my mind!
"Dalen posted a photo of him on Instagram, and I slid in his DMs. I remembered him being so young and handsome, and I’m like, I should hook him up with my younger cousin. His response was: 'If you’re not hooking me up with you, no thank you.'"
Talk to me about the first date. How did he change your mind?
Stacey: Our first date was at Tin Lizzy's in Atlanta. During that time, he was living in Dallas, so it was long-distance. But he came into town, and we just had a good time. We talked a lot, which we still do. It wasn’t anything fantastic.
Dalen: Don’t downplay our first date.
Then, walk me through your courtship. How did you get to the next level? What was that conversation like?
Stacey: I think he knew at age 43 or 44 I wasn’t playing around. But also, I think it just naturally progressed.
Dalen: Yeah, it just happened naturally. And I’m going to be honest, I don’t think initially either one of us thought it would be as serious as it was. She thought I was too young and I wasn’t ready for marriage, kids, and all that. I think we both thought we were just hanging out. But after spending so much time together, a lot of stuff started happening. Like, she had to have surgery early on. It wasn’t just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That’s why we still don’t have an anniversary date because we never really asked.
"It wasn't just time together; it was intimate time. Next thing we know, we just never left each other. That's why we still don't have an anniversary date because we never really asked."
What made you want to commit to each other?
Dalen: The moment I knew Stacey was for me was from a phone call. I don’t really like talking on the phone, and I can be really blunt sometimes. But we were talking, and I said, ‘I don’t really feel like talking anymore.’ And she was just like, okay, and hung up. I wasn’t trying to be rude, and she understood that. It sounds bad, but that’s how I knew she just got me. I felt like she could get my random awkward moments, and she does to this day.
Stacey: For me, I liked him as a person. Even when times get rough and tough, I could still like him as a human. He is my best friend. We have time. We laugh until we cry, and it’s just always like that. Even when we get pissed at each other, something happens, and we fix it. Also, how he treats his mother. That’s a momma’s boy, but I’m a daddy’s girl – so I get it. I know how I want to be treated, and I see how he is with her and that’s beautiful.
What are some important lessons you’ve learned about yourself through loving your partner in this relationship?
Dalen: I grew up an only child and she grew up with siblings. So, when you have someone who is used to doing things by themselves, there is definitely a learning curve when you get into a serious relationship. It’s funny now, but it was definitely a process.
Stacey: I agree – definitely the only child thing. There’s times I look at him like, did you ever live with anyone else? That comes from being momma's baby, too. I have to say, my “mother-in-love” spoiled him. But also with Axel (their daughter), that brings another level of patience.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
What was the biggest challenge that you had to overcome together?
Dalen: We’ve gone through a lot within the years we’ve been together. We suffered two miscarriages – I’d say that’s the biggest.
Stacey: Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me. I was wondering if I can’t carry [a child] what that looks like for us. We had very real conversations pretty early in our relationship.
"Having those miscarriages and trying to understand what’s next and what our options are was a lot. I had two myomectomies (fibroid surgeries), and he supported me through that time. Also, still, it was on my mind that he’s eight years younger than me."
What do you fight the most about?
Dalen: Nagging. Stacey nags; she’s a complainer. She’s that momma that will look in a room and just hunt for something to complain about. Like, I’m worried for Axel when she's in high school.
Stacey: It’s because I like things to be in place. He leaves stuff all over the place. I can tell where he’s been in the house because something is left around. So he says I’m nagging – but it’s like, just get your stuff.
What are your love languages?
Dalen: Stacey is gifts all day.
Dalen: We’ve talked about this. xoNecole is about to cause problems in our home (laughs).
Stacey: Obviously I love you. *thinks again* It’s words of affirmation.
Dalen: That’s it.
What’s your favorite thing about each other?
Dalen: I’ve always respected her business-mindedness. That may sound superficial, but it’s not because I’ve never been with someone who thinks like me. It’s one of my most treasured things about her. I remember one day, I was just running through ideas with her, and each time Stacey had a suggestion on how I could make it better. It’s just very comforting. She takes whatever I’m doing and elevates it – including me.
Stacey: I love Dalen’s hustle and creativity. He’s been on multiple shows, and he continues to create, produce, and reinvent himself and the product he’s putting out. I love that we can create together and bounce things off each other. Even though we may be in different arenas, there’s nothing he can’t offer me great advice about. I love that drive.
Finally, how did you know it was love?
Dalen: Well – she said it – first. (laughs)
Stacey: And he looked at me and smiled! He didn’t say it back. We were on a trip, out of the country.
Dalen: We were arguing when she said it, and she just threw it out.
Stacey: But we continue to do that. We’ve spent holidays and everything outside of the country.
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Nothing beats the “Sunday Scaries” quite like a Sunday reset tailored to your needs. While the weekend never quite feels long enough to recoup from all of life's demands and responsibilities, making the most of the 48 hours we have to gear up for the week ahead is a self-care practice that every woman can benefit from.
How To Do a Sunday Reset Routine
The beauty of a Sunday reset is that it’s something you can define for yourself. On a personal level, only we know the tasks, projects, workload, and duties that demanded our attention during the week prior, so how we choose to recharge may look different for everyone. Some may feel the need to tackle weekend chores or run a few errands, while others could find that an hours-long binging spree of their favorite TV show or simply doing nothing, can do the heart some good.
Resetting your time, space, and mind over the weekend is all about listening to your body and honoring your needs. When you pause and reflect on what will make you feel the most productive, you gradually discover what a successful Sunday reset looks and feels like for you. By taking some time to plan and reflect, you allow yourself to approach the new week from a place of ease.
How To Build the Best Sunday Reset Routine
But what kind of reset could be right for you? Let’s consider the following: are there things you could scratch off your to-do list to put your mind at ease? Did this week drain you and now you need to catch up on rest? Are you looking to get ahead of a demanding week? If you’ve found yourself agreeing with at least one of these scenarios, we’ve put together a couple of tips to inspire your next Sunday reset routine needs.
The Sunday reset routine for the woman who thrives on productivity:
Hey goal-getter! For you, a typical Sunday reset looks like planning and execution. The weekend is a chance for you to catch up on all the chores and tasks that your hectic weekday schedule didn’t allow for. When planning your Sunday reset, to-do lists are your best friend. Lean on your list to stay organized and keep track of the stores you need to visit, meals to prep, and house chores to tidy up in order for you to feel like your most accomplished and productive self.
Be sure to give yourself some grace if you don’t hit everything on your list, and be sure to reward yourself for what you were able to carry out — because either way, you deserve it.
The Sunday reset routine for the woman who needs some TLC:
David Espejo/Getty Images
Self-care queens, we see you. And we know that your Sundays are sacred. You are intentional about your Sunday resets because you know that you can’t pour from an empty cup. In your case, resets are all about taking time to reflect and set your intentions for the week ahead — which can show up in many forms. From journaling and reading a new book to taking a long walk and ordering in your favorite meal, you don’t play when it comes to the power of self-nourishment.
Take a few minutes to look back on the previous week and reflect on what went well and what didn't. Think about what you accomplished, what you could have done better, and what you learned so you can approach the week with a clear mind and heart.
The Sunday reset routine for the woman who desires to do absolutely nothing:
I know you’re used to high-achieving and tackling your goals, but let me tell you something: rest is productive. You’ve spent the last five days hustling, killing your projects, and showing up for the people in your life, but now it’s time to take a moment to simply be. No to-do lists, no errands to run, no socializing — you deserve time to zone out and reconnect with yourself in solitude.
Sleep in. Watch scandalous reality TV. Get lost in your thoughts. You’re not lazy for spending time alone and letting the laundry pile up; we know you’ll get to that later. This Sunday reset is about taking time to center yourself in the present moment, you’ll be back on the grind on Monday, but Sunday is all about you.
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Originally published on March 4, 2023