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As a small business owner, you probably already have a website from which to sell your wares. And while online sales can surely flourish with strong SEO, statistics show that only about 25 percent of web leads advance to actual sales. For this reason, savvy SMBs are constantly looking for other ways to sell their products and services, besides their own stores and webpages.
From third-party sites to trade shows, the modern small business owner has multiple options when it comes to finding customers for her goods. Here are 6 ways to sell your products or services by looking outside the box:
One of the most popular third-party sales sites, Etsy is home to a wide array of artisans, craftspeople, and vintage dealers. Not only does Etsy offer you access to a large number of crafty and antique-loving customers that you might not have found on your own, but it also enjoys a strong reputation for quality and reliability. As a result, new consumers might be more likely to give you a chance on Etsy than if they stumbled on your private webpage. If you tend to sell a lot of jewelry, fashion products, or geeky toys and gifts, Etsy might be the third-party dealer for you.
An alternative to sites like Etsy and eBay, Bonanza is a great choice for small businesses seeking a way to list goods online. Not only is it free to list on Bonanza, but the company also tends to take a smaller commission for sales than some of the other vendors out there. Additionally, the site features actual people (not robots) to consult on purchases. As a result, your customers can receive the same specialized attention they would if they purchased goods in their own stores.
One of the benefits of using Shopfy to market your goods online is that you can create a customized shop design that echoes the aesthetics of your homepage. This e-commerce site lets you choose from a wide array of themes that are both attractive and mobile responsive, so buyers can purchase your wares just as easily from a mobile phone or tablet. While Shopify isn’t free, business owners can choose from multiple service tiers, the most affordable of which starts at just $29 a month. However, you should note that there might be an additional cost for special features and add-ons.
4. Trade Shows
If you’re already using third-party vendors to sell your goods, you might be able to expand your sales base by attending a local trade show. Depending on your industry, there are likely a number of relevant trade shows happening annually in your part of the country. While purchasing booths can be costly—attending one show might cost you a few thousand dollars—the events offer SMBs an invaluable opportunity to connect with potential customers, industry experts, and even local and national retailers who might be willing to feature your products in their stores. As an added bonus, trade shows provide the kind of one-on-one, personal interaction that business owners can’t provide to their online clients. For best results, do your research to find out who will be attending a particular show and assess all fees and costs before signing on that dotted line.
One of the best ways to boost sales of your products and services is to send complimentary samples out to market influencers. In our modern era, just about anyone can become a social media celebrity. Small business owners can and should target members of their fields who boast large social followings; for example, a Los Angeles clothing retailer might want to target LA-based style icons who regularly tweet and Instagram about their top shops. Start by making friends with these industry beacons on social media by liking their posts and commenting on their blogs. Then, ask if you can send them a product sample or two. The hope is that a few such influencers will mention you in their blogs and social media posts, thereby directing more traffic to your site.
Even those small business owners with brick-and-mortar shops of their own might struggle to bring in the necessary customer base to keep their doors open. If you’re not seeing sufficient sales from your store or website, consider hosting a few local events. Not only does this help bring in new customers, but it also creates positive feelings among the members of your community. Many consumers would prefer to buy local—you just have to show them how to do so in a way that’s convenient and affordable.
After deciding what type of event best suits your business—a seminar, a cocktail party—you should send out fliers and advertise the event on your website and social media pages. Be sure to give out branded products on the big day, like totes, mugs, water bottles, or magnets, so customers will remember you for their future purchasing needs.
Finding new and creative ways to sell your products will help you outlive your small business competition.
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