Six steps to help increase your sales

Putting a well-designed promotional plan in place to focus on your target market during a specific period of time may deliver favourable results.

In most business activities, the sharper your focus the more success you’ll enjoy.

Marketing promotions are more effective with a targeted approach. By taking time to learn everything you can about your ideal customer, reaching out to them in select channels, and establishing clear objectives, costs and timelines for your promotion, you may significantly improve your sales results in a very short period of time.

Follow these six steps to help increase your sales.

Step 1: Develop a customer profile

Who is your ideal customer? If you already have regular customers, it should be easy to build a customer profile, or persona. If not, base your customer profile on your business plan research while taking into account your competitors’ customers.

Be as specific as possible. For example, instead of targeting “dog owners” describe them more specifically, such as “busy, high income dog owners who live within 5 kilometres of our store.”

It’s then easier to think about where prospects might be, what websites they visit, or what they’re doing when you plan your promotions.

Step 2: Set clear objectives

Keep your objectives short, specific and achievable, so you can measure your results over time. Rather than having an obscure goal like “increase sales,” instead pick a timeline for your promotion (for example, 90 days) and set objectives such as:

  • Acquire 100 new customers.
  • Have 50 of those 100 new customers make a second purchase.
  • Get 2,000 website hits a week with 5 percent of visitors buying.
  • Generate $50,000 in new revenue.

Step 3: Match your promotions with your customer profile

With a clear picture of your ideal customer and clear objectives, you can proceed to identify promotional tactics that match your customer profile.

Research your customer habits. It will help if you know what your ideal customer type reads, listens to, watches, or does online.

Use your customer knowledge to choose the best ways to capture their attention. Using the dog owner example above, a pet store owner could implement the following promotions:

  • An ad in a local pet lovers’ magazine.
  • An e-newsletter[1] or blog offering dog health and fitness tips.
  • Postcard mail campaign sent to family homes.

Try to come up with a dozen tactics that you can do during your promotion campaign. All of your tactics should be specific, practical and low cost.

Step 4: Develop a marketing plan and budget

Once you’ve chosen your tactics, develop your marketing plan for your promotion. Be sure to account for any seasonal issues that could affect your promotions, such as school terms and national holidays.

By now, you’ll have a list of tactics, the time periods when each one will be carried out, and a cost for each. If you have employees, go one step further and assign responsibility for implementing each tactic.

Keep in mind you can run several scheduled promotions during the year.

Step 5: Reassess your plan

With a clear action plan to build your business during your promotional campaign, it’s time to review your strategy – preferably with others involved in your business. Make sure to:

  • Check that your objectives are clear and that your tactics are well-targeted.
  • Assign an employee to be responsible for implementing each tactic, within set timelines.
  • Take a critical look at the total budget, as well as the budget for each tactic. Are the amounts realistic? Can you get an acceptable return from each investment?

Step 6: Measure your results

If you don’t measure the results of your promotions, you’ll never know what worked. It might be wise to use tactics that are easy to evaluate, such as:

  • Coupons inside ads or flyers.
  • An online promotional code to redeem during shopping cart checkout.
  • Online tracking to show the origins of your web traffic.

Monitor your website results using tools like Google Analytics. And, be sure to ask new customers how they found out about your business.

By measuring your promotions, you’ll learn which tactics deliver results – and which are a waste of time and money. It becomes easier to focus your next promotional plan for the next campaign on tactics you know work well.

Next steps

  • Come up with a list of potential promotions that will help you realize your objectives during the campaign period.
  • Download this free marketing plan template to organize your activities and budget costs.
  • Contact a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor to find the money you need for sales and marketing activities.

[1] Canada’s laws and regulations about electronic communication will affect how you can legally reach out to existing and potential customers.  Be sure to investigate these rules before doing so.