Welcome to Part 2 of the Sales and Scaling Secrets Series. In Part 1, we looked at how to identify your sales goals for product based businesses. Goals that are realistic and attainable. In this post, we will explore how to consistently achieve, and eventually surpass, your sales goals.
Okay, so now that you know how many products you need to sell to hit your sales goals, you can start to define the sales and marketing strategies to achieve them.
The first thing you need to do is look at your analytics. This will give you insight into what’s currently working and where the actions you’ll take should have the biggest impact. You will want to know the following:
- Sales to date
- Average sales each quarter
- Average total orders each quarter / month / day
- Traffic to your website (or # of visitors to your shop if you have a showroom or physical storefront)
- Conversion rate (what % of visitors make a purchase)
- % sessions converted (i.e. how many customers completed checkout vs. abandoning their cart)
- Traffic referral sources
- Top products sold
- Returning customer rate
- Total ad spend
- Ad performance
- Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
You can find this information in Google Analytics and whatever sales and advertising platforms you use.
SHOPIFY TIP: Go to your Analytics Dashboard and it includes most of this data.
Baseline Activities to Get Started
1. Once you have your analytics in place, determine your sales projection for the upcoming quarter.
PRO TIP: Be realistic and use quantitative data to determine your sales projection. Avoid the urge to add a generic 10-20% growth increase and don’t factor in any hope-it-will-happen or maybe-we’ll-get-lucky figures. At this point, don’t factor in any new sales or marketing strategies you will be adding (we’ll get to those soon).
2. Next, identify how big of a variance your sales projection is from your target goal. This will help you to confirm that your goal is realistic and achievable. This will also help you determine which sales and marketing strategies to pursue in the short term.
Simple Steps You Can Take to Increase Sales from Current Visitors
If your variance is small, you can usually close the gap by targeting your existing visitors and customers. A few things that work really well:
1. Increase your AOV
Increase your Average Order Value (AOV) by including irresistible upsells or cross-sells. There are a lot of great apps that do this for you in Shopify and other platforms. We use the Bold Upsell app.
For example, if someone is buying a necklace, offer the coordinating earrings for a discounted price. If someone is buying luggage, offer a luggage tag. Customer buying blush? Offer a blush brush. You get the idea. A great upsell or cross-sell is:
- something that is appealing to most buyers
- hard to pass up because it’s a natural compliment to their purchase
- something that will enhance their experience with the product
A CASE STUDY
Here’s a great example of this practice in play. I recently used the last of my eyeshadow and went to Sephora to restock. The eyeshadow is $8 and that was all I went there to buy, yet I ended up spending $80 because of the upsell and cross-sell features on their website.
I found my eyeshadow, added it to the cart, and they asked if I want an eyeshadow brush. The following internal dialog goes through my head – “I have been wanting a new brush and that looks like a really great brush, look how well it’s rated, and it’s only $20…” I add the brush to my cart.
Then they suggest that I may also like a lipstick and they show me a Kat Von D lipstick. Likely retargeting since I was just on her site looking at the lipstick they show me, so now I am thinking “I didn’t know they have Kat Von D! I have been meaning to buy that lipstick. Oh look, they have the lip liner too, I should get that…”. You guessed it – I add both to the cart.
They made 10x what I was planning on spending due to upsells and cross-sells and best of all, I was happy to spend the extra money. Why? Because I wanted the things they showed me and I was able to get them all at once, and qualify for free shipping too. Win-win!
Continuing with our example above, if you increased your retail AOV from $50 to $70, that would decrease the number of orders you need to reach your target goal. Instead of 250 orders per month, you would only need 179 per month or 6 orders per day.
I highly recommend finding an app that can add this functionality to your site.
2. Increase the % of Sessions Converted and Reduce Abandoned Carts
Start with the basics to confirm there isn’t something that is keeping people from completing their purchases. Make sure the checkout process is easy and all of your payment gateways work. If most of your traffic is coming from mobile, be sure to test your website on mobile. I see a lot of businesses test only on desktop and not realize that their site is not mobile-friendly – please don’t make this mistake.
Make sure it is very clear how much shipping costs are or how much more a customer needs to spend to qualify for free shipping. Shipping costs are one of the #1 reasons customers abandon their cart so set expectations up front to reduce this.
On our jewelry website, we added the shipping details onto the cart pop up when someone adds a product to their cart.
We also added a banner at the top of the checkout page that tells them how much more they need to spend to qualify for free shipping. The added benefit here is that it can also increase your AOV.
Another very effective technique is to create an email sequence to win back abandoned carts. Again, there are great apps that make it easy to do this. We use Conversio on Shopify and have experienced great win back results with the abandoned cart email sequence we implemented.
You can also do retargeting ads to remind customers to complete their purchase and to stay top of mind.
If these techniques increase the % of sessions converted and result in 20% more retail orders each month, that would decrease the number of orders you need to reach your target goal. Instead of 250 orders per month, you would only need 200 per month or 6 – 7 per day.
3. Release Something New
Customers love new! When you release new products or collections, you will usually see a spike in sales from both your existing customers and new customers if you are also using some of the techniques listed in the section on attracting new customers below.
You should have a production and launch calendar for your brand where you release new products/collections at specified times throughout the year. For example, if you sell planners, you may release one big collection per year tied to the start of the brand new year and then promote other complimentary products all throughout the year. If you sell clothing or jewelry, you may release 4 collections each year tied to each new Season and promote individual pieces from each collection all throughout the year.
Whatever your launch calendar is for your business, be sure to leverage the release of new products to drive sales and raise brand awareness.
4. Plan a Sales Campaign
Customers love a good sale almost as much as they love new products. There are a lot of techniques for running an effective sale and it does not always mean discounting your products.
Consider experimenting with different sales campaign techniques to see what your customers respond to best. Aside from the standard “save x%” sale, here are a few others to consider:
(Buy One, Get One) – a spin on a % discount, bogo sales are highly effective and a great way to move products from prior collections.
Create limited release bundles of products. Customers love it because it takes the guess work out of what products go well together and they save over buying the pieces individually; you will love it for the higher AOV and the opportunity to include pieces you are looking to sell through in the bundles.
Free Bonus Product
Include a bonus product for free when they buy another product or spend a certain amount of money. Nespresso does this incredibly well. In all the years I have been a customer, I have never seen them offer a discount on the coffee itself, but they do offer free sleeves of nespresso when you purchase a certain amount, or free espresso glasses, travel mugs, etc.
Don’t dismiss the allure of free shipping. Even if you have a very low shipping rate, a free shipping promo can be very effective for driving sales. If you also have a free return policy, you can highlight trying your product risk-free with free shipping and free returns during the specified promo period.
Each of these examples represent some quick wins and low cost approaches you can implement that can have a significant impact on your current website visitors and customers. They can easily help you achieve your target sales goals when the variance between what you are targeting isn’t too big from your current projections.
But how about when the variance is large or you don’t yet have enough visitors and customers to close the gap?
Tips to Attract New Customers to Increase Sales
Y’know how in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location? Well, for product based businesses, it’s all about traffic, traffic, traffic. Increasing traffic is the most effective way to increase sales.
There are many different techniques to increase traffic. I always recommend a blend of paid and organic. Organic is great because the cost is low but it is typically slow and can be time intensive. Paid can be fast but has a sometimes high cost associated with it. Organic or paid, be sure to focus on highly targeted traffic so you have a good conversion rate.
Here are a few of the most effective ways I have found to drive traffic. Choose 1 – 2 to start with to hit your sales target goal.
Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, etc. Focus on only the platform(s) that best match your brand and target market. Be sure you are very clear about the objectives of your ads and that you are regularly monitoring ad performance and making adjustments.
PRO TIP: Once you start to see results from your ads, be sure to determine your Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) for each platform you advertise on. This will give you valuable data about what is working, where to focus your ad spend, and give you a baseline for optimizing each platform.
Work with other brands, influencers, etc. to collaboratively develop campaigns and raise brand awareness.
PRO TIP: This is typically how brands achieve their Stretch Sales Goals. Collaborations are a highly effective way of scaling your business, but don’t expect huge results when you first start leveraging collaborations. There is a lot to learn about what works effectively and what doesn’t for your specific business, and it can take a big financial and/or time investment to develop a collaboration campaign that yields huge results. Start small and continuously build off of what you learn with each collaboration.
Offer a giveaway of one of your top products in exchange for joining your mailing list or following you on social media. When the giveaway is complete, offer everyone who didn’t win a special price on the product if they purchase within a specified period of time – usually between 24 hours and a week.
PRO TIP: Combine collaborations + giveaways. Team up with other brands to do a giveaway with a larger enticing prize where each brand shares the giveaway and gains new subscribers and followers.
Physically set up and sell at an event, whether it be a wholesale trade show, a retail market or pop up shop, or as a vendor at an industry related conference or expo.
Be a speaker at an event that targets your customer base or participate on a panel, or be interviewed, etc.
Focus on well written and targeted product descriptions, page content, and blog content that is SEO rich.
Focus on the platforms that best fit your brand and target market. If you have a fashionable demographic that resonates with beautiful imagery, Instagram would be a great fit for your brand. If you have products for tweens and are targeting working Moms in their 40s, Facebook may be the place to be. But LinkedIn? Maybe not so much. Instead of trying to be everywhere, pick your 1-2 top social media platforms and invest your efforts there. You can always push the content you create to other platforms to maintain a presence with little additional effort. Zapier combined with Buffer are our go-to tools for doing this.
Since your goal is to drive traffic and new customers, be sure you are creating valuable content that is enticing and shareable, and avoid being salesy too often. Invest the time to fully understand and utilize whatever platforms you select. For example, use your hashtags on Instagram, and use your SEO rich keywords on Pinterest which is really more of a search engine disguised as a social media platform.
When done well, email marketing can generate a significant amount of sales. Although you are sending it to your existing subscribers, well written emails and promos are often forwarded which can also drive new customers, especially if you ask your subscribers to share. I could write an entire book on email marketing techniques, so for this post, I’ll keep it simple. You should be consistently sending a newsletter, period. I am shocked at how many businesses don’t send newsletters at all, or only send them periodically when they have a sale. That is a big missed opportunity! I recommend sending a newsletter every week, but experiment to discover what works best for your brand. Then you can explore some more advanced topics related to email marketing, like customer segmentation, welcome sequences, automated sales funnels, etc. but I’ll save those topics for a post for another day.
PRO TIP: You may be tempted to do all of these things, and while they are each valuable and impactful, please don’t try to do them all at once. Pick 1 or 2 techniques and invest the time and money to really do them right. Go into it knowing it may take some time and experimentation to see the results you are looking for, so allow enough time to regularly analyze your results and make adjustments. Only when something is consistently working well should you consider adding or trying another technique. It is better to do a few things really well than to do a lot of things only kinda sorta well. Focusing on the most important few is how you get real lasting results!
How to Know Where to Start
Remember all those analytics you identified? They hold a lot of the answers for where to focus your efforts.
If you are generating a return on ad spend and your ads are performing well, I would continue to focus on ads and be sure you have ads running for your top products.
If you see that Pinterest is your #1 traffic referral source, and Instagram is #2, that tells you which social media platforms may be most beneficial to focus efforts on. Look at the bounce rate and conversion rate for each referral source to confirm the traffic being driven is targeted.
If you have a high abandoned cart rate, start some retargeting ads and get an abandoned cart email sequence in place.
If you have low traffic to your website, do a giveaway paired with paid ads.
If you have low returning customer rate, be sure you are regularly sending a newsletter and look at your sales funnel and promotions to encourage repeat orders and a higher customer lifetime value (CLV).
Work with a coach! This is one of the most valuable things I ever did in my business. I believe all business owners should have a coach, including coaches themselves. Coaches can see things you may be missing. You’re able to benefit from all of their years of experience and experimentation. This way, you can avoid making the same mistakes they did and fast-track your results!
Tying It All Together
There is a lot of information in this multi-part post series, so here is a checklist to make sure you have all of the most important pieces in place.
- Set 3 sales goals – base, target, and stretch
- Determine your current Average Order Value (AOV)
- Calculate your Gross Profit Margin for retail and wholesale sales (assuming you do both)
- Use AOV + Gross Profit Margin to determine the number of orders you need per month and per day to hit your target sales goal
To achieve your sales goals:
- Capture your analytics related to sales, traffic, conversions, ads, and customers
- Determine your sales projections for the upcoming quarter
- Calculate the variance between your sales projection and your sales target
- Using your analytics and the variance as input, determine which 1-2 sales and marketing strategies should have the biggest impact to start with
- Implement the sales and marketing strategies
- Regularly review your results and make adjustments as needed
- Hire a coach! Optional but very highly recommended
So let’s get started setting and achieving your sales goals! What questions do you have about how to identify and achieve your sales goals for product based businesses? Share them below!
If you want some dedicated help identifying your sales goals and the best sales and marketing strategies to achieve them, book a 45-minute coaching intensive.
I would love to help you achieve and even surpass your sales goals!