Handling the low selling blues - Stage 2

y guest author hannah jones

If you didn’t see the first in this series of posts, I’m sharing some self-help remedies for those times when it feels you’re simply never going to make another sale, nobody even knows who you are – let alone wants what you’re selling, and your tiredness, hours of work and creative ideas have all been for nothing.

In the first of the series, we got a bit of a reality check and realised things probably aren’t as bad as they seem – you’ve improved drastically since you first began selling online, and you’re on an upward curve, meaning you’re still improving, growing, and dare I say learning how to make your business a huge success.

Today’s stage of dealing with the low selling blues gives you some more practical methods for getting sales moving in the right direction – because this is the key to not feeling useless, and making these bad days few and far between. So we’re going to talk about strategies for making more money from your most important assets: existing customers. 

Stage 2: get more from your customers

No matter what and where you sell, attracting customers to your business will be one of your biggest tasks. So once they’re there, already invested in giving you their money, why not encourage them to spend more? This takes much less time and effort than going out and finding new customers – it’s how you build up a reliable income that needs very little effort from you.

The obvious first thing you have to do is make sure you’re stocking more than one thing each visitor wants to buy. This means: having (and sticking to) a niche, and having enough of a range to spark some interest. A niche is important so that you can let a new customer, who’s looking at just one of your products, know what else you sell – and so spark their interest enough that they look at your other products. (If your business name can reflect that niche, even better.)

Build your range - sensibly

Stocking a range of complimentary products is important to up the amount of money people are spending. When you’re adding products to your range (which we’ll discuss in the final edition of this series), look at what you already sell and try to find things which suit already popular products. Selling a red fleecy hat? Get some red fleecy gloves and scarfs to make the set.

Imagine you were visiting your local high street to buy a pair of nail scissors. Which shop would you visit to buy them? Not the bank, bookshop, clothes shop or charity shop, right? Perhaps the pharmacy? That’s because the shops on the high street have done a great job of letting you know what to expect from them – and what they don’t sell. Having a focused product range encourages people to visit you again when they want to buy something which they know you sell.

If you sell a range of interesting, exciting products, people will enjoy looking at what else you have on offer, and might even come back to check in the future; nobody has the time or patience to sort through a mish-mash of unrelated things. If you do want to add a completely new type of product to your range, consider starting a separate business to sell it.

Get customers to act

So you want customers to buy more than one thing from you? How do they know that’s what you want? Most people won’t even think to buy something else from you – unless you ask them to. There are two things to consider here: make customers aware you have other things they might like to buy; and give them a reason to buy more from you.

There are plenty of creative ways to make customers aware you have more products; eBay sellers can use the free Auctiva scrolling gallery to show off other products in their listings, and those with their own websites can add “similar items” boxes to all of their listings. Once a person has bought from you, connect with them through a social media website, or set up a newsletter so that you can keep in touch with them and give them on-going information about new products.

Offers such as “free postage for every product you buy after the first”; “buy one get one free”, or “free gift with order over £50” encourage people to take a look at what else you’re selling, and give them a reason to buy more from you. Consider giving first time customers discount vouchers to encourage them to buy again, or simply invest time in making their shopping experience truly enjoyable so that they have a great memory of doing business with you.

Have you learnt how to use teasers and tasters to get customers buying more from you? That’s just one of the lessons in Hannah’s new guide, showing you how to grow and improve your online business in a struggling economy. To keep in touch with Hannah, for business advice and useful links, connect with her on Twitter @31days2.