Guest columnist David Bakke has 7 tips to impove your first quarter sales
Overall fourth quarter sales in 2011 revealed signs that the U.S. economy may be getting back on track, as holiday spending increased 4.1% over 2010. However, in spite of last year's strong finish, it can still be a struggle to generate sales and hit projected targets for the first quarter of a new year.
Consumers recovering from holiday spending can be an elusive target—and in a down economy, garnering their business is especially challenging. However, if you're willing to be creative and think outside the status quo, there are 7 tactics that can help you reach your first quarter sales goals.
#1 Market Aggressively and Effectively
Advertising your business is key in the first few months of the fiscal year. Distributing door hang-tags and flyers are two good ideas, but rather than just passing out bland marketing materials and hoping for the best, focus on creating strong wording and an attractive layout to make your message stand out. If you're part of a local small business, you can even utilize one of the free social media marketing sites to help spread the word online.
First of all, marketing materials should be eye-catching, but not visually abrasive. Include your logo, bold colors, uncrowded text and images, and a generous amount of white space.
Next, make your text clear, concise, and specific. Your rate of new customers gained will likely be in the 10% range, but if you put together a highly effective flyer, you may be able to boost that number. Specifically state what you are offering, and don't crowd the flyer with unnecessary information.
Finally, include an eye-popping discount, and don't be overly concerned about gross profit. You want to draw new customers and create return business and referrals. Offering a 5% discount is a waste of time—include a discount of at least 25% off one item to get people in the door and drive ancillary sales. These numbers may be different based on your industry and your profit margins.