How small businesses can boost sales

(BPT) - With over 30 million small businesses in the U.S., it's tough to stand out from the crowd. Successful small businesses turn first-time customers into repeat business, building momentum and growing sales.

How can you achieve this? Marketing. Finding effective, easy-to-execute marketing strategies can boost your business by helping you engage your customers while attracting new ones. Here are some proven ideas to help your business thrive:

Engage first-time customers

Show new shoppers that they matter. Send welcome emails and recommend products to complement what they bought. Offer special deals to keep them coming back.

Utilize positive customer reviews

Did you know over 60% of consumers read reviews before buying? Reviews can include ratings, testimonials, photos, videos and more.

Treat reviews as marketing gold, sharing them with customers and prospects to build trust and increase sales. You can generate and integrate them into your website, on social media and other marketing efforts.

Turn shopping carts into opportunities

Let’s face it, plenty of potential customers add items to their online shopping carts and never check out. While these “abandoned carts” seem challenging, they're an opportunity.

An effective way to convert abandoned carts into sales is by drawing on the power of customer reviews. Adii Pienaar, vice president of commerce product strategy for the email marketing platform CM Commerce, says small businesses can change their fortunes with this approach.

“Our most successful small business customers don’t just send a reminder email to shoppers about items left in their carts,” said Pienaar. “They take it a step further and include positive reviews and ratings about that product with the follow-up, knowing how much importance buyers place on others’ experiences. By featuring personalized product reviews for abandoned cart items, there can be a recovery rate of 5-10%.”

Spark interest with special offers

Entice new and returning business by offering discounts, encouraging shoppers to give your business a try.

Also, if you don’t have one already, create a loyalty program for frequent shoppers, or a referral special for those inviting friends to your website or social media.

Personalization matters

Shoppers don't want mass emails treating them like just another number. Small businesses that tailor emails based on each customer’s shopping experiences and interests are far more successful in driving sales.

Creating customized content may sound complex, but it all comes down to how you organize your customer list. For example, segment your customers by which products they’ve purchased, then use this information to inform them how to best use their products or remind them when it’s time to re-order.

Personalization really pays off when you incorporate dynamic content — information that changes based on a person’s interests — in promotional emails. Use a customer's previous purchases and shopping interests to generate ideas on products to complement items they already bought. For example, recommend a similar flavor of cupcakes to ones they ordered before.

Get started

These proven marketing approaches can springboard your business to success. But, how do you get started?

Marketing has greatly evolved, with many new, easy-to-use tools. You don’t need to be a marketing expert, technical whiz or creative designer to use them.

For example, CM Commerce is an email marketing platform designed for small ecommerce businesses. It can easily create professional email campaigns to enhance and grow your business.

To help small business owners, CM Commerce features pre-built email marketing recipes for everything from welcome emails and newsletters to abandoned cart reminders and more. Business owners can follow these guidelines and put their email marketing plans in place with a single click.

“I always recommend small business owners invest in email marketing,” said Pienaar. “It’s a cost-effective way to establish your brand and regularly reach your customers and prospects. Most importantly, email marketing has the potential for huge returns and can truly make your business stand out.”

For more tips and ideas to grow your business, visit The Marketing Resources Hub.

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