The Best Ad Strategies for a Local Small Business

Many small businesses are struggling in the era of COVID-19, and site or cart abandonment doesn’t help your bottom line. If you’re getting lots of looks but nobody is clicking that “confirm purchase” button, it may be time to reach out in a new way.

Turn a Browse Into a Sale

The world of online shopping has a few behemoths and many more small players. If your small business is struggling to build a healthy online presence, you may have to get information out to shoppers in a different format. For example, you can turn a site abandonment into a Completed Purchase by targeting prospects with a direct-mail coupon, free shipping offer, or another promo.

If your online store sells apparel and accessories, consider sending out a direct mailer that offers a free scarf or pocket square with the purchase of a cardigan or shirt. For those who sell kitchen tools, offer a free tablet stand with a minimum purchase. Free shipping has become something of a given, but perhaps you could offer a standard shipping upgrade with an overnight upgrade for a minimum purchase amount.

What Stops Shoppers

Many shoppers are on pretty tight budgets these days, and the uncertainty of our collective future has many people sealing up their wallets pretty tight. To avoid this crunch, make the checkout process as easy as possible. If a shopper has items in their cart, offer them a discount via pop-up for completing their account set-up. Such a discount would not only make sure that you capture their information regardless of sale at this point, but their next check-in and purchase will be simpler.

The act of having to go and get their wallet or credit card information can be the point at which a shopper abandons their cart. By taking away this need to act on that step, you make buying easier.

Be Upfront About Fees

If you’re offering free shipping over a particular dollar amount, place that on every email and banner on your site. Be honest about your handling charges and the reason for them, such as a packaging charge. Hidden fees that show up on the last screen before checkout are the fastest way to sour a potential deal and damage a relationship with a potential customer. Not only won’t they buy this time, but they may not come back.

Promote Your Size

If there are fees that you must include for your bottom line, such as a crating charge for a piece of handcrafted art, explain why. If you do blown-glass Christmas ornaments and need to package them in spray foam, let people know that there is an unavoidable shipping charge. Invite them into your brick and mortar store with a promotional mailer.

While you’re promoting your size, don’t scrimp on photography or your website design. Getting someone in to take world-class photos of your one of a kind pieces will make your packaging fees or whatever extra charges you have to add to your selling process completely worth it. You’re not just promoting a small business; you’re promoting the sale of a one of a kind item that can be enjoyed only in their home.

Do Video Very Well

Unless you’re offering classes to the general public, be careful with DIY video promotions or how-to tutorials on YouTube. First of all, videos can go viral for all the wrong reasons, and unless you’ve got the help of a skilled videographer, rough video promotion can actually work against you. Even a video commercial can draw the wrong attention in our “gotcha” culture.

Put your focus on the tasks you can most easily manage that take little time and are easily repeatable. One video will take a lot of time, and even then the results may not be as good as you want. A single photoshoot of your product, your store, and your people can give you promotional material that can be used over and over again. If you really want video, put in the time and hire an expert to help.

The pandemic has forced many of us to change how we work and do business. Current indicators are that a return to “normal” is unlikely. To get your products in front of the public and complete the sale will take creativity and focus. Be ready to share your story as a small business owner.

 

Guest Post by Amy Sloane, freelance writer. Reach her at AmySloaneWriter@gmail.com

 

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