Refuel the Pipeline to Speed Up Sales When Things Slow Down
Occasional, cyclical or seasonal slowdowns are a common cause of cash flow shortages for many small businesses. These seven ideas can help you generate new leads to speed up sales when your industry or business experiences these types of temporary slumps, slowdowns and stalls.
7 Ways to Generate Leads and Speed Up Sales During Temporary Slowdowns
1. Reach out to lapsed customers.
- Reach out to customers who have stopped buying from your business or who are buying from you less frequently to see why they left (or don’t purchase as often).
- Reach out to customers whose buying cycle has recently ended for testimonials and referrals.
- Reach out to customers whose past purchases may indicate that it is time for them to buy again or who may need accessories or services.
- Reach out to former customers with loyalty and VIP repeat buying offers.
Even if prior customers aren’t usually repeat customers for your type of business, you can still reach out to former customers with referral rewards, requests for online reviews and other lead-generating follow up.
2. Re-invigorate your marketing.
Businesses often reduce or eliminate marketing expenses when sales have slowed or cash flow challenges arise. While it may seem counter-intuitive, when sales slow, expanding strategic, targeted marketing efforts should become a high priority.
To speed up sales quickly, try offering a limited time offer or seasonal promotion. Create a sense of urgency with deadlines that motivate customers to take action.
Marketing is one of the few “costs of business” that should be producing a return exceeding the investment required; in many cases, it should be producing a return far in excess of the amount of resources being invested. If you cannot track adequate return to your marketing efforts, it’s time to review and change your marketing tactics, not eliminate marketing activities and investments.
3. Reinvent your product or service menu.
If your business experiences slow months or cyclical lulls on a regular basis, expanding your product or service lineup with goods that will sell better during slower seasons can help to offset slower-selling items. This is also an ideal time to get rid of low-selling items that are sapping resources to free up space for new ones.
4. Re-evaluate your target audience.
You could be able to improve sales during slower months by offering different products or services to attract alternate target markets to your organization, or by finding ways to appeal to a larger target audience overall.
5. Refresh your digital properties and inbound marketing.
Digital properties must constantly evolve. Changes to best practices, search engine algorithms, emergence of new social networks and changing behaviors of consumers online all point to the necessity of refreshing your organization’s digital properties (website, blog, social networks, paid search, etc.) on a regular basis.
The best way for your business to get found online is to publish quality content on your website, on a regular basis. Studies show that organizations that publish frequently (also known as “content marketing) get exponentially more leads:
- Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing (ads, cold calling, pay per click, etc.) while also generating three times as many leads (@demandmetric)
- Small businesses that blog enjoy 126% more leads than those that don’t blog (@impactbnd)
- 61% of U.S. consumers said they made a purchase after reading an article on a blog (@impactbnd, @JuliaEMcCoy)
6. Revisit (or establish) strategic marketing partnerships.
Partnering for cooperative events or communications with other businesses can give you immediate access to much larger contact lists and help you instantly increase your reach to target markets. You could find potential marketing and lead generating partners with other businesses which:
- Serve the same types of customers as you (though are not direct competitors)
- Serve customers in the same geographic region/s as your business
- Are businesses that are up or down but in the same supply chain as yours
- Organizations that share the values of your business
7. Revamp outbound marketing and communications.
Review your communications efforts to see whether adding or expanding communication to clients (former clients, vendors, strategic partners, etc.) could help you reinvigorate sales during slower months; including:
- email marketing
- direct mailings
- paid advertising
- text SMS message marketing