How to Increase Sales: 10 Free Ways to Drive Sales for Your Business
Do you want to know how to increase sales without a big budget — heck, without any budget at all?
You’re in the right place.
Here’s the thing: Driving sales isn’t easy — even if you have a budget like Coca-Cola’s. And it can feel downright impossible when you have zero budget.
What’s more, even ‘free’ marketing methods like search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and content marketing require an enormous investment of time.
And I bet you don’t have much time either, am I right?
Still, if you want to succeed, you have to find a way to increase sales with whatever resources you have. So, the question is, how can you drive more sales with no money and very little time?
Keep reading to find out.
In this article, you’ll learn how to increase sales fast with 10 free tactics and strategies. Let’s dive straight in.
- 1. Focus on Your Target Market
- 2. Focus on the Benefits, Not the Features
- 3. Use the P.A.S. Copywriting Formula
- 4. Use Strong Calls to Action
- 5. Provide Social Proof
- 6. Create Urgency and Scarcity
- 7. Make Buying Easy
- 8. Upsell and Cross-Sell
- 9. Nurture Before You Sell
- 10. Create Referral and Affiliate Programs
- Summary: How to Increase Sales Volume
- Want to Learn More?
1. Focus on Your Target Market
Arguably, the best way to increase sales is to tailor your products and marketing to a defined target market.
Here’s how the management consultant Peter F. Drucker put it: “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
This is one of my favorite marketing quotes because it illustrates that driving sales doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be easy — as long as you have a good product-market fit and know how to communicate to your target market.
Take Death Wish Coffee.
This brand creates “the world’s strongest coffee” and understands its target market intimately.
Death Wish Coffee targets coffee enthusiasts who love strong coffee and resonate with a Celtic-punk vibe.
The brand even sells merchandise as if it was a punk band — including a collection of coffee mugs like medieval tankards. Oh, and Death Wish Coffee actually partnered with the popular American Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys for a St Patrick’s day promotion.
But perhaps the best thing of all is how Death Wish Coffee writes how their target market talks — down to earth and straight-talking. For example:
“Last year, Dropkick Murphys turned the sh*t-show that was St. Patrick’s Day 2020 into an absolute headbanger, live streaming a performance…”
So, take some time to define your target customers clearly. Who are they? How do they talk? What cultural references do they care about?
Get as specific as possible — and then cater everything you do to them. If you do this well, your target market won’t need to think about buying from you — it’ll be a no-brainer.
2. Focus on the Benefits, Not the Features
The economist and Harvard professor Theodore Levitt said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”
So, if you want to know how to increase sales fast, here’s what to do: Don’t focus on the features of your products or services — focus on the benefits that those features provide.
As they say, “Features tell. Benefits sell.”
For example, if Pure Cycles wrote a headline focused on features, they might write, “High-quality fixed-gear bikes.”
But instead, they came up with a snappy title that highlights a key benefit for cyclists: “Your commute will never be the same.”
In another example, Ratio Coffee doesn’t tell you anything about its products in the website’s title. Instead, it highlights what the products allow you to do: “Make the perfect coffee with the touch of a button.”
This headline emphasizes 2 core benefits: great coffee, zero effort.
So, take some time to write down every feature of your product or service. Next, translate those features into the benefits they provide. Some common examples of benefits include:
- Peace of mind
Then, identify your offer’s core benefits and emphasize them in your marketing communications to improve sales.
3. Use the P.A.S. Copywriting Formula
Science has shown that emotions account for much of the buying decision.
In other words, it’s extremely challenging to get people to click “Buy” if you don’t elicit an emotional reaction that compels them to purchase. So, how can you generate an emotional response that makes people want to purchase your offer?
Thankfully, you don’t need to become a psychologist.
All you have to do is use a simple, 3-step copywriting formula called P.A.S., which stands for “problem, agitate, solution.” Here’s how it works:
- Problem: Address the potential customer’s problem and the pain it causes.
- Agitate: Agitate the problem by emphasizing the reasons it’s painful.
- Solution: Present your offer as the solution to the problem.
Here’s an example from financial coach Ramit Sethi:
Occasionally, you won’t have the time or space to dig into the agitation part. In these instances, you can still state the problem and offer a solution to drive sales. This is what Modkat does in the snappy Facebook ad below:
All in all, identify the problems you solve and understand why they’re particularly painful for consumers. Then, boost sales by using the P.A.S. copywriting formula to compel people to purchase.
4. Use Strong Calls to Action
When learning how to increase sales, it’s worth evaluating your calls to action.
A call to action — or CTA — is a prompt that you include in ads and content to encourage the user to take a specific action. This could be signing up to a mailing list, adding a product to a cart, or placing an order.
Here are some common examples of CTAs that you’ll often see on websites and in ads:
- “Shop Now”
- “Buy Now
- “Add to Basket”
- “Try for Free”
- “Claim 15% Off Now”
- “Learn More”
- “Get Started”
Think of CTAs as gateways that users must pass through before they become customers — they’re crucial to success.
As a result, the aim of the game is to create strong CTAs that cause users to take the suggested action.
In the Facebook ad example below, Beardbrand uses two CTAs.
The CTA in the copy addresses a common objection by offering a guarantee: “Try it out risk-free: if you don’t love it, we’ll buy it back — guaranteed.”
The second CTA is simple and direct: “Shop Now.”
Make sure you’ve optimized your CTAs on your website and in your ads and social media posts.
5. Provide Social Proof
Using social proof strategically is a great way to get more sales online.
What is social proof? Social proof is a term that refers to the fact that people are heavily influenced by others’ actions and opinions.
Andy Crestodina, the co-founder of Orbit Media Studios, explains: “When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customers say it, it’s social proof.”
Social proof is often used by marketers in the form of reviews, ratings, testimonials, and highlighting associations with notable brands and influencers.
In the example below from Makeup for Melanin Girls (MFMG), you can see reviews, ratings, and notable companies’ logos on the brand’s homepage.
Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to overcome buyers’ objections, so make sure to flaunt your social proof proudly.
And if you’ve just launched a new business, encourage customers to leave positive reviews to acquire more social proof.
6. Create Urgency and Scarcity
Creating scarcity and urgency are two powerful ways to increase online sales.
Two of the most common ways to create scarcity and urgency are flash sales and limited edition products.
For example, Gymshark ran a flash sale to boost sales and promoted it with Facebook ads like the one below:
So, why are scarcity and urgency such powerful ways to improve sales? In short, they create ‘FOMO’ — or fear of missing out.
You don’t have to create a time-sensitive offer or produce a limited run of products either.
You can also generate urgency by emphasizing how your offer will provide relief from a painful problem quickly. Or you could show how much inventory you have left on your product page — for example, “Only 3 Medium Shirts Left!”
7. Make Buying Easy
Let’s face it: We’re less likely to do tasks that are complicated, difficult, or inconvenient. Think about it: What do Uber, Amazon, and Google offer to consumers? Speed, convenience, and simplicity.
So, if you want to increase website sales, make the buying process as quick and easy as possible.
For example, take a look at Minaal’s checkout process:
The brand offers 4 different ways to checkout depending on buyers’ preferences: Shop Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or the website’s checkout.
The process is streamlined, straightforward, and as effortless as possible.
What’s your website’s purchase process like? If you can find ways to make it easier for shoppers to check out, you can help to prevent abandoned carts and get more sales.
8. Upsell and Cross-Sell
If you want to know how to increase online sales fast without too much work, consider adding upsells and cross-sells to your checkout process.
Upselling is the process of encouraging shoppers to upgrade their purchases. At McDonald’s, the classic upsell is, “Would you like to supersize your order?”
Cross-selling is the process of promoting related or complementary products to buyers. At McDonald’s, the standard cross-sell is, “Would you like fries with that?”
In the image below, you can see how phone companies often encourage shoppers to upgrade to a newer phone or add accessories to their order.
For example, Ban.do cross-sells items whenever a shopper adds an item to their cart:
What products or services can you upsell or cross-sell to boost sales?
9. Nurture Before You Sell
If you want to learn how to increase sales effectively, consider implementing the marketing rule-of-thumb referred to as the “7 touches.”
The idea is that it takes roughly 7 ‘touches’ before someone will make a purchase.
For example, someone might come across your content, see one of your social media posts, or be served one of your Facebook ads — each of these instances is considered a ‘touch.’
To put it another way, it’s not always a good idea to go straight for the sale. Often, it’s best to build relationships with potential customers first.
How? You can nurture potential customers with tactics such as:
- Email marketing
- Ad retargeting
- Social media marketing
- Web browser push notifications
For example, visitors to Taylor Stitch’s website are shown a popup offering them a discount in exchange for their email addresses.
This way, Taylor Stitch can nurture visitors into customers over time to increase sales.
10. Create Referral and Affiliate Programs
Want to know how to increase sales exponentially? Create a referral or affiliate program!
What are referral and affiliate programs? And what’s the difference?
A referral program incentivizes customers to promote your offers to people in their network, such as their friends and family.
For example, Helm Boots offers customers a $50 voucher when they get someone else to make a purchase.
On the other hand, an affiliate program incentivizes third-party marketers to promote your offers in exchange for a fee or commission.
For instance, the ecommerce platform Shopify has a program where affiliates can earn an average of $58 for each person they get to sign up for a paid plan.
Bottom line, referral and affiliate programs are an incredibly effective way to drive sales online.
Summary: How to Increase Sales Volume
Figuring out how to increase sales on a budget can be challenging. However, there are plenty of ways to boost sales for free.
If you’re want to know how to increase sales fast, consider using these 10 tactics and strategies:
- Tailor your offers and marketing to a well-defined target market
- Focus on the benefits, not the features in your communications
- Use the problem-agitate-solution copywriting formula
- Create compelling calls to action
- Proudly flaunt social proof
- Create urgency and scarcity
- Make the buying process as convenient and straightforward as possible
- Increase order values with upsells and cross-sells
- Nurture people into customers with tactics like email marketing
- Create referral and affiliate programs
How many of these tactics and strategies are you using right now? 1 out of 10? 5 out of 10? Comment with your score below!