Online markets are becoming increasingly competitive. Search engines are continually listing more and more sites that offer similar products. And let’s not dismiss the power of comparison shopping; people are increasingly going to remarkable lengths to discover high-value, cost-effective deals. But just when you think you’ve improved operations to remain competitive, given your site a fresh slant and created a new approach to feature your range, your competition seems to have had the same brainwave and you’re back at the start line. A key route to boost your bottom line is to commit to a policy of continually developing multi-valued propositions to augment your sales tactics. This is done by capitalizing on major changes in consumer behavior; achieve growth and outperform competitors by enhancing the consumer experience with personalized customer service. Consider that consumers today use social media as a tool in the purchasing process to interact with suppliers and fellow consumers and to research brands, share opinions, and recommend or condemn a business. Consumers are “demanding” products and services tailored to their specific needs.
Online marketing experts recommend capitalizing on merchandising tactics such as search technologies, product enhancement features and customer services to increase sales. Here are a few tips to consider when developing strategies to boost your bottom line:
- Invest in advanced search optimization applications such as SEOMOV or Google Analytics. Clients and customers need to find the right information quickly, and a slow and ill-defined navigation reading on your site can drive them away;
- Become skilled in SEM and SEO. SEM refers to Search Engine Marketing. This broad term describes any form of web traffic or web marketing coming to your site via search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo and others (either through free organic traffic or paid traffic). SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization, including on-site (ensuring that search engines can determine what your site is about, what to rank it for and to make your site much easier for search engines to crawl) and off-site SEO (focuses on driving relevant, authoritative links from other sites back to your site or blog so it will rank well in the search engines). To obtain good rankings, the search engines need to easily find your site when it is “crawled” and easily see what keywords you want to be ranked for. As your site is indexed it should move up the rankings with the correct SEO in place. It’s therefore imperative to invest dedicated time and effort in developing your website to reap the rewards;
- Put in place “flexible” organizational models that enable the company to be more responsive to change, including modifying existing revenue sources. Companies feel pressured to assume greater efforts to optimize available resources. Work organization is instrumental in developing human resources to interact better with customers and promote an organization capable of adapting to market contingencies, its social and technical skills, and capacity to adopt new concepts;
- Create “rich” information. In other words, the information must be informative enough to prompt the customer to cultivate a good impression and make a positive purchasing decision;
- Continually evaluate and redesign your site; use the latest editing and developing tools such as template-driven WordPress or Macromedia Dreamweaver to make your site interactive and customer friendly.
- Communication with customers should be continual. Simply updating your site, sitting back and hoping it will attract visitors is no longer feasible. Keep the site current with newsworthy content, an active blog and uncomplicated response forms are important tools to boost sales figures and prompt return visits.
- Plan ahead by determining clear quantifiable goals and making it measurable; a number of variables will determine the structure of an incentive program that will appeal to your target audience. Whether it’s an open-end or closed-end program, there should be a reward that will motivate participants to perform the desired behavior. In order to make the rewards tantalizing to recipients, research must be done to identify their interests.
- Track time and stick to a budget;
- Meet deadlines and initiate scheduled milestones;
- Rejuvenate past successes. Capture the intelligence in these projects to explore a huge opportunity to make you and your team more productive, effective and efficient;
- Create a consistent approach to Project Management with the intention of becoming a valuable player in financial discussion. The primary challenge is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring any preconceived constraints such as scope, time, quality and budget. The more ambitious secondary challenge is to optimize the allocation of necessary inputs and integrate them to meet pre-defined objectives.
- Consider selling self-liquidating branded merchandise on-site as part of your complete marketing mix. Profitable items include clothing and electronic equipment. When you make logoed products available to clients it’s often a win-win proposition, whether you make a profit or not. Keeping stock fresh and adding new merchandise is essential since trends come and go and people look to you to be cutting edge.
Words by Theresa Lutge-Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org)