To increase your sales, your best bet for success is to follow marketing’s “Four Ps” for bringing a product to market. This means addressing your product, price, place of sale and promotions. While it might be easier to go straight to advertising, public relations, promotions and social media campaigns to quickly bump your sales levels, these are temporary fixes. Re-examining all of your marketing plans will help you maximize your sales and profits over the long term.
Analyze the Marketplace
The first step to increase sales is to make sure you are selling what your customers want. Hold focus groups of potential customers and conduct surveys of your existing buyers. Look at what your competitors are doing in terms of product lines, features, warranties and prices. Knowing what benefits customers want will help you develop a sales pitch and marketing messages that promote a unique benefit, rather than just your product or service features. This is a key tool for raising sales.
Re-Evaluate your Products or Services
Once you know what the marketplace wants, review your products or services and consider whether you are filing a need in the marketplace or trying to create a demand. Decide whether you can eliminate some features of your product or service buyers don’t really need or want, or if you need to add features, improve your customer service, add a guarantee or warranty, change your delivery methods or drop or add items from your line.
Examine Your Prices
Your competition shouldn’t be the main factor you consider when setting prices. Raising or lowering prices can change your brand, making you look upscale, affordable or cheap. Your price can also affect your profits and sales volumes. High prices can decrease sales volumes but increase profits based on higher margins. Lowering prices might slash your margins but result in higher gross profits as volumes rise.
Review Your Distribution
One way to increase your sales that requires no advertising or promotions is changing your distribution. If you don’t sell online, look into selling your product at your website or using a third-party site. Direct mail lets you target specific customers and get your message directly into their homes or businesses. Using wholesalers, distributors and sales reps can get you in more retail outlets or increase business-to-business sales. The totality of your product development and pricing strategy plans should result in a brand, or image, for your company.
Test your Marketing Communications
Once you’ve reviewed the marketplace, know what customers want, have tweaked your pricing structure and finalized your distribution channels, start spreading the news. Test different marketing communications methods before you spend your entire budget. During your customer surveys and focus groups, ask buyers where they get their information about your products and those your competitors sell. Use this information to guide you as you choose among your advertising, social media, promotions, sponsorship and public relations options.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.