Top unconventional sales tips
In order to thrive as a business, it's incredibly important to constantly re-evaluate your sales strategies. The traditional methods of driving sales have been completely overhauled thanks to the digital revolution, and now there are more options than ever in reaching a broader audience with some of these new and innovative sales methods.
1. Get controversial
In the crowded global marketplace, it can be hard for the modern business to truly stand out from its competitors. Too often companies can rely on a stale and stuffy approach when seeking to attract and retain a dedicated customer base. So why not think outside of the box and challenge your audience's preconceptions of what your product is and get some of that much sought-after social media 'buzz'?
Whilst you wouldn't want to risk alienating certain members of your audience, it's hard to disagree with the simple fact that controversy is pretty much guaranteed to get people talking. Whether it's Agent Provocateur's blend of sexuality and horror for their Fleur de Mal campaign, or even GoDaddy's famous supermodel-kissing-geek Superbowl advert, both companies reported significantly higher sales figures soon after these eye-catching commercials.
By providing content that is different, thought-provoking and even a little edgy, it can work wonders in building that all-important buzz and spreading the word about your company. Don't be afraid to be controversial and have a little fun with your message, and you'll instantly see a much improved reception from your customers.
2. Reward loyalty
With the fickle nature of internet commerce, it's incredibly important to ensure that you retain your hardcore customer base. Rather than concentrating your brand's efforts on a vague and undefined mass market, make sure that you you know who your niche market is, and be sure to reward them for liking your brand.
Many companies have implemented highly-effective loyalty programmes that not only keeps the brand in the public's eye, but keep key customers coming back for more. These can include fairly simple schemes like Starbucks' Reward Scheme that not only allows users to rise up various levels of loyalty with corresponding free drinks rewards, but the scheme also allows users to make payments via their mobile device.
The rapidly-growing world of online gaming has also seen the benefits of such schemes, with Euro Palace providing a loyalty points system that players can convert into cash prizes. It's also important to deliver a reward system that will correspond to your audience's needs, so be sure to have fun with the implementation of your scheme. The punk band Rocket From The Crypt had a scheme where any fan with a tattoo of the band's logo could gain access to any of their shows for free, and whilst this may not be applicable to your company, it provides a great example of how you can reward your most loyal customers.
3. Fear works
Whilst we wouldn't want to encourage freaking your audiences out to the point of paralysis, it's important to realise the power that emotion plays in energising your audiences. This is because it's raw emotion that stimulates all of us into acting, and from there we will invariably used logic to rationalise that feeling.
One of our most base emotions is that of fear. This emotion is an innate part of all of our psyches, and as well as providing us with a handy survival tool, it also can provide advertisers with a key way to find the audience's sweetspot.
Fears about health and well-being have provided many examples of successful adverting campaigns. From the post-9/11 paranoia that was successfully used by Hummer to promote their highly-durable cars, to fears about our own personal hygiene that is perfectly played upon by deodorant and mouthwash brands, it's clear that fear has a big part to play in getting the audience to act upon their instincts.
4. Get personal
Thanks to the ever more direct marketing tools such as social media and email at your disposal, you can really make that extra effort to get personal with your customers. But rather than simply using Facebook to target specific audience groups, there are other innovative ways to make a big impact in a personal way.
One of the most successful marketing campaigns in recent years was Coca Cola's Share-A-Coke campaign that used named bottles in a way that gave the impression of being personalised, despite the multi-billion dollar operation that went behind it.
And Old Spice's highly responsive campaign on social media signified a new way in which brands could progress beyond traditional advertising approaches to encourage a much more exciting and interactive way to boost a brand profile. By introducing a campaign that allowed Old Spice to make rapid video responses to user's comments about the advertisement, it revolutionised audiences' expectations and created a huge online buzz.
5. Meet your public
Whilst the online environment can allow any company to reach a global audience with the bare minimum of technology and cost, the importance of getting out there and interacting with your audience can never be underestimated.
From throwing special parties to special pop-up shops, the fun and element of surprise that accompanies one-off events can really add to the feeling of celebration around your brand and the public's perceptions of it.
And of course, it really helps if you can carry out this activity in a highly visible and eye-catching way. The fashion retailer Desigual recently unveiled a fun and provocative campaign where the first 100 customers turning up to one of their stores in their underwear received a free outfit. Not only did it provide a fun way for the company to meet their target audience, but it reinforced certain key perceptions about the brand in a highly-stimulating manner.
Above all, it's about creating special memories in your audience's mind. And it's so much easier to achieve this in a real-life setting, rather than through a computer screen.
6. Give it away
As well as realising the importance of providing a physical, personal service, you can also work wonders by delivering surprise free gifts and announcing sudden dramatic promotions.
If a customer has purchased a product, then enclosing a small free trial of another product that you offer not only provides them with the positive emotion of receiving something for free, but also adds to the brand's appeal and spreads the proliferation of your range of goods.
Whilst it has become something of a common practice for many recording artists to give their new records away for free, such a practice has yet to fully infiltrate other commercial spheres. But recently there have been more and more companies realising that there's few better ways to get people talking, than by giving away products for free.
And what's more is that it has been revealed that after receiving free products, many consumers will make an extra effort to follow that brand's activity and will even consider paying a higher price for the goods. So it you're looking to receive a little more from your audience, consider giving them a little extra to begin with!