Ask An Expert: Jump-Start Your Online Sales

I want to generate some new ways to jump-start my sales online starting now during the holiday season. Can you share some easy-to-implement ways to connect with clients in cyber space?

Everyone likes to end their sales year strong, and with the addition of Cyber Monday to the pantheon of pseudo holidays, more and more people are thinking about maximizing holiday sales as well. If you’re looking to end your sales year on a high note, and to capture your share of those holiday dollars, here are five tips that can help you reach your goals.

Tip 1: Use social media. People who use social media are already online, so you don’t have to make an effort to get them there. All you have to do is lead them to your site and display the deals you want to offer them. To make following your social media accounts more attractive, offer some deals that are only available to those who follow you on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Exclusive deals may well be a reason that people are following your accounts, so make sure you reward their attention.

Tip 2: Be a tease. Pretty much everyone who’s selling is offering sales at the end of the year or during the holidays. Build anticipation for your deals and sales offers by teasing your audience with them before the big reveal. Doing a tease has a couple of advantages: it builds anticipation in your audience and it also keeps their attention. There are a lot of companies competing for eyeballs and attention span at year’s end and into the new year. Make sure you stay on the radar by mentioning your offer early and often.

Tip 3: Make sure your site is ready. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink if the pond is dry. If you’re going to be working to bring increased traffic to your site, make sure it’s ready to handle the uptick in visitors. A slow site tends to be a site that doesn’t convert, which is exactly what you want to avoid. You should also take a look at your site as though you were a new visitor and make sure everything works as it should work, and that your navigation is easy to follow and your products are easy to find. Try to pinpoint and eliminate any obstacles to a smooth shopping experience.

Tip 4: Reward your current customers. Finding a new customer is much more expensive than keeping existing customers. Those who already buy from you offer a great opportunity for increasing your end-of-year sales for two reasons. The first is the fact that you already know what they like and want to buy from you. The second reason is that they’re already used to buying from you and using your site. This group of customers is already predisposed to buy, so make them an offer they can’t refuse. Whether it’s a sale on an item you know they’ve already purchased, a free shipping special for existing customers or a special “existing customers only” opportunity to buy at sale prices early, do something to make your current customers feel special and valued.

Tip 5: Remember a call to action. Getting information out about the sales and specials you’re offering is only half the battle. The other half is inspiring those who receive the information to make a purchase. Be sure that any offer you make, whether online or off, includes a call to action. It could be as simple as putting an expiration date on the order, or creating a sense of urgency by advising people to “Buy Now!” Just remember that the aim is to inspire people to take action.

Increasing your online end-of-year sales isn’t tough to do – all it requires is some planning, some thought and some time. Spend a few minutes looking at what other businesses are doing in this area. Use your social media outlets to find out what offers and specials your customers would find attractive and what would motivate them to spend their year-end dollars with you. Most of all, make sure your website is ready for increased business, including mobile business, and is easy to use from whatever platform a visitor might choose. Paying attention to the small details could help the big picture of increasing year-end and beginning-of-year sales take care of themselves.