In such a situation, the answer is definitely not to quit, especially when there is inbound marketing waiting to solve your sales problems! So what should you do when your sales drop?
Examine your strategy and see what you can do differently
Sometimes, taking the time off to reflect could make a whole lot of difference. If your sales have dropped, you most probably need to do something differently, and the first step to doing that is by identifying what is wrong in the first place. What are you doing and what are you not doing?
For example, if you had a rigid way of marketing, let say via traditional marketing only, perhaps it’s time to consider inbound marketing and explore the various inbound marketing strategies that could change the face of your business and help sales to pick up again. Remember the example of the Missouri Star Quilt Co. in last week’s post.
Take a look at what your competitors are up to, and identify a loophole
As a business, you occasionally need to take a look at what your competitors are doing so you can identify what you may also need to do differently. This could really work to your advantage, as you could also end up finding a new business idea that could help boost your sales again. For example how many blog posts, offers and CTAs are you publishing as a business in comparison to your competitors’ in order to sell your products? Or how can you add a special twist to what your competitors are doing, and make it more attractive for your target market?
Shift the focus to your customer (if you aren’t already)
The key to successful inbound marketing is focusing on your customers. Whereas you used to talk solely about your business and what it offers, you need to explore the option of shifting the focus to the customer, where you let them know it’s all about them and how their needs can be satisfied. The more they are convinced that you are not a ‘self-centred’ business, the more relaxed they become and begin to wonder if perhaps your product could be the solution they are looking for. That’s the secret of inbound marketing: letting the customer feel it’s all about them.
A typical example is Help Scout, a business that mainly helps businesses deliver the best customer support they can offer. They do this by developing interesting and easy-to-understand content not only on their website but externally on other related websites as well. This has given them an authoritative tone over the years, and they experienced a 678% growth in leads from August 2012 to February 2013, according to the business’ co-founder, Nick Francis.
Communicate with your target audience to identify how their need has changed
In order to identify how exactly you can meet your customers at the point of their need, you first need to engage them in order to find out what is running through their minds. Inbound marketing enables you to do this, through for example opt-in e-mails, where you can easily track customer feedback and respond adequately. Social media is another great way to interact with your target audience to gain insight into what they want (and do not want).
With social media, even if you don’t communicate with your target audience directly, you can track your business’ progress based on what others are saying about your brand, their reviews as well as whether the word-of-mouth marketing your business attracts is positive or not. Based on such metrics, you can make informed decisions on your product development, sales strategies etc.
- Form strategic alliances
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Sometimes a drop in sales could simply mean it’s time to re-strategize and possibly partner with other people who share the same or similar business interests as you do. Engaging in such partnerships could prove to be quite rewarding, as you could draw strength from the other business and improve overall. You could even venture into new products and markets as a result. Ultimately, the key lies in finding a level ground for both of you to agree on, then you can take it from there. Let’s have an example, shall we?
BMW, a well-known luxury car brand partnered with luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton in a campaign dubbed The Art of Travel. Taking advantage of the few things they have in common, such as class and the popularity of their brands, these two brands formed a partnership where BMW designed a sports car, BMW i8, and Louis Vuitton created a four-piece set of suitcases and bags to compliment the car in terms of looks and size. These bags were the perfect fit for the i8’s rear shelf.
Having their target customers in mind, the BMW i8’s price started at $135,700 whilst Louis Vuitton’s set went for $20,000, which is virtually peanuts for someone who can afford an i8!
Patrick-Louis Vuitton, head of special orders at Louis Vuitton sums it up this way: “Our craftsmen have enjoyed the challenge of this very special project, using their ingenuity and attention to detail to create a truly made-to-measure set of luxury luggage. This is a pure expression of the art of travel.”
For more exciting examples of such partnerships, check out https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-cobranding-partnerships
You should be inspired by now….a drop in sales does not necessarily mean you should call it quits! Who knows, a few new opportunities could be awaiting your business!