1. Offer Tangible Deals
Believe it or not, time-honored retail wisdom states that people respond better to an offer for a dollar amount off of a purchase rather than a percentage off. The reason is that people can easily deduct x amount of dollars off of a price, whereas figuring out the percentage off actually requires a bit of brain power. This applies even if the percentage off would yield a bigger savings. My experience running the Super Cheap Signs website supports this premise.

2. Don’t Be All Things To All People
There are two types of shoppers in this world: Those who are always looking for the deal and those who are more than willing to pay full price. The customer who is willing to pay full price does so for one or many reasons, such as quality, exclusivity, ease of ordering and convenience and such. When you decide which customer you are marketing to, your marketing dollars will be more focused and therefore more effective.

Full-price customers will not respond to intense promotional efforts and “deal finder” customers will not purchase at full price. If you spend your dollars wisely on the right customer, you will likely find that your customer calls, visits, and conversion rates increase as a result.

3. Customer Service Reps Build Loyalty
In this day and age of customer-centric marketing, customer service is one of the most important aspects of retailing. Yet how many times have you tried to contact customer service about a purchase and received a response late if never, or received a totally impersonal response that makes you feel like you are corresponding with an anonymous android?
SuperCheapSigns.com may not be the biggest company, but we do pride ourselves on our personal service and we find it is greatly appreciated by our customers. We often hear from satisfied customers who say they would rather shop with us than with any of our competitors. The same goes for initially dissatisfied customers whom we were able to swing back over to our side because we went out of our way to listen to them and offer fair responses. And usually both groups are quick to purchase again.

All we really do is answer phone calls and emails with a positive attitude in a conversational tone. We actually share our names and personal email addresses, and address customers by their names. It’s amazing how much impact those tiny little niceties make.

4. Target and Speak to Specific Customer Segments
One-size-fits-all marketing is a good place to start from to drive sales, but once you’ve mastered that you need to get more specific. Some of the customer segments we focus on at our e-commerce site SuperCheapSigns.com are Real Estate Investors, Small Business Owners, and Political Campaigns. Because we are an online retailer we reach out to them through email, and we achieve much better open rates, clickthroughs and sales with any targeted group.

5. Highlight Your Exclusives
Often retailers and marketers are so deep down into their business that they do not realize what exclusives they have to offer. SuperCheapSigns.com, where I am the owner and take charge of most of the marketing effort, has had a customer loyalty program. You may have an exclusive VIP club or other membership program.

6. Sell Your “EST”?
Somebody told me to figure out what your “EST” is and focus all your efforts on doing the very best you can in that space. “EST” means “cheapEST”, “quickEST”, “easiEST” and so on — and no, “best” does not count as that is not focused in any meaningful way. The point is that you should excel at one thing over your competitors. Get your entire company on board with this concept, from buyers to top-level management and all points in between. While this is not a quick fix for driving sales, it will have big impact on the success of your business over the long term.

(inspired by Steve Barr of Intermixonline.com)