Dmitry Dragilev May 5th, 2020

5 Ways to Grow Sales During COVID-19

We are living in unprecedented times. The global pandemic has had a major impact on our lives and our economy.

In addition to the vast personal losses across the country and across the world, so many businesses have been negatively impacted. According to CNBC, retail sales fell by 8.7% in March of 2020, the biggest drop since recording began.

So can you hope to do more than stay afloat through this? Can you even grow sales now? These 5 tips to grow sales can help you build your business in tough times.

Top Tips

  • Do DIY PR
  • Contribute Quotes to High-Traffic Articles about COVID-19
  • Leverage FB Leads
  • Streamline Communication with Incoming Leads
  • Optimize eCommerce Checkout Flow

1. Do DIY PR

COVID-19 is stealing the show, but the rule of seven still applies. Potential customers need to hear about you at least seven times before they act. 

And as awesome as we’re sure your business is, it’s not going to promote itself. Very few companies can afford to hire a PR firm, and in my experience, most PR firms are a waste of time and usually don’t show ROI on your investment. 

Do-It-Yourself PR is what most mid-size businesses are turning to stay competitive and get featured in the press to bring in leads, customers and to sustain their revenues. 

There are a TON of different ways to do PR on your own and stand out from your competition, one of the easiest ways is to employ something called a Quora PR hack where you use Quora as a platform to strike up conversations with journalists. 

But we are jumping ahead of ourselves… the first step is to figure out who to pitch, that is why the journalist you’re going to pitch will be interested in your topic?

Here are the two main steps for pitching press:

Identify Your Targets

First, find journalists or sources that will be a good fit for your business. That is – identify who is writing about topics you’re an expert in and reach out to them. Here are some ways to do so:

  • Find out where competitors are being mentioned and reach out to journalists covering them
  • Find out where your competitors get backlinks from and reach out to them
  • Find Slack Channels, LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, subreddits, forums where blog owners, journalists and folks who control large lists/followings of your potential customers hang out

Finding targets is an ongoing project. Think about how fast the world has changed in the past two months. If you already have a list of targets, now is the time to reevaluate and search for more.

Create Your Media Pitch

Your media pitch is the email you use to get the attention of the journalist. There are countless ways to create a pitch and they all apply to these unprecedented times.

It’s a little tough to teach someone how to write amazing media pitch, we have a very thorough media pitch tutorial on our website with templates and resources but it’s something you just need to practice no matter how much you read about. 

Right now however, in April 2020, most of the 5000+ companies pitching press on JustReachOut– our PR platform are pitching a story at the intersection of what they do and COVID19.

For example, we have a customer which has a Learning Management System, here is what they did:

  • They compiled information on how many people are currently learning at home
  • They created a snazzy graphic to help readers fully understand the impact. 

You can also use real examples of how your product is helping people struggling with distance learning.

Here is another example of an amazing study created by the folks at Fractl:

Visualizing “Stay at Home” Compliance Over Time – USA Worse Than Most – From Apple’s Mobility Data

Once your pitch is complete, send your email, complete with a great subject line and a quick hook. Subject line is the single MOST IMPORTANT factor in the success of your pitching. It’s the doorway to your pitch. If it sucks they’ll never open the pitch. So spend some time on the subject line.

Follow Up

Don’t forget to follow up. Rise above the noise by checking back in. 90% of responses come from the two to three follow ups you send after the initial pitch.

2. Contribute Quotes to High-Traffic Articles about COVID-19

Another way to grow sales now is to contribute quotes to high-traffic articles about COVID-19. Since the virus is all anyone is talking about these days, that’s where you want to show up.

You could use some of the methods listed above, but there is an easier way.

You can connect with journalists and reporters if you become a source for articles with HARO.  Sites like HARO connect reporters and journalists to sources. Journalists post requests for quotes or insights. Then potential sources—that’s you—reach out to them.

So becoming a source can be just a few clicks away. HARO organizes requests by subject matter, so you can easily find what’s relevant to your customers. 

3. Leverage FB Leads

Up your Facebook game! Right now, CPMs are crazy low. According to Statista, March 2020 CPM rates were just $0.81, down from $1.88 in November 2019. Check it out:

CPM stands for “cost per mille,” an advertising term for cost per thousand. So, $1 per CPM means you’ll pay $1 every time your ad is seen 1,000 times. In other words, in November 2019, on average, you’d have paid $1.88 per thousand. Four months later? Eighty-one cents.

Don’t think a strong Facebook presence can help you? Think again. In addition to impressions, Facebook can help you build authority, improve brand awareness, and increase clicks and sales.

Right now, your ad can reach more people for much less money. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started with Facebook if you aren’t already or crank up your existing FB game.

4. Streamline Communication with Incoming Leads

You never want to squander an inbound lead. But right now, leads are even more precious. 

But with so much of your sales team suddenly working from home it can be difficult to stay on top of everything. You definitely don’t want leads to disappear into unchecked email boxes or worse.

Quite often what happens is that a lead might call you and email you and then two days later chat with you on the website. The person answering that chat two days later does not have a fast way to check to see if this person already spoke to an SDR or even contacted the company.

Internal communications and record-keeping is not in the cloud and not centralized around a CRM, so sales teams and support team are not on the same page. 

A recent survey by Nextiva revealed that today’s employees use three devices, including their mobile device to communicate with their teams every day.

Luckily, technology has your back, you just need to use it correctly!  One of the simplest ways is to implement a communications suite which has something called unified communication. That is phone, chat, email, SMS messages, even customer support tickets are all integrated with a central CRM in the cloud so that everything is all in one place. 

This way anytime you’re chatting with a lead you have all their information right in front of you. 

5. Optimize eCommerce Checkout Flow

ECommerce has been trending since it was invented. But with so many people around the world now confined to their houses, now is the time to capitalize on eCommerce.

The advantage of eCommerce when potential clients are in lockdown is obvious. They can make purchases without breaking quarantine. Great, right?

Well, there are some challenges for eCommerce businesses. In order to optimize your sales now, you need to address these challenges.

Abandoned Carts

Abandoned carts cost businesses $2-4 Trillion dollars every year. You know you can’t afford that right now. So it’s time to do what you can to close that sale.

Some abandoned carts are from people who were just window shopping. You may be able to convince them to buy through targeted ads and reminder emails. However, a survey indicates that up to 40% aren’t going to buy anything.

However, other top reasons buyers abandon carts include hidden fees, being required to create an account, high shipping costs, and site speed. As an online retailer, do everything you can to prevent these issues.

Checkout UX

User experience determines the success of your checkout process. So you must do everything you can to refine your UX to maximize sales.

These days most people are familiar with the online checkout process. Make sure yours follows the now-familiar process of entering shipping information, billing information, and confirmation.

Always lead them to the next step. Customers who don’t know what to do next can easily do nothing, and that means lost revenue for you.

Plus, customers hate re-entering information. So don’t make them. If they have an account, auto-populate any information you already have. And make it easy to enter additional information.

Conclusion

If you can keep your company top of mind, leverage low ad prices, and optimize leads and eCommerce, you can stay competitive and even grow sales during COVID-19. This is good news for your team who needs their paychecks and good news for your customers who need the service you provide.

And there are good lessons in here for after this is over. You can emerge stronger, more flexible, and ready for what’s next.

Dmitry Dragilev

I’m the founder of https://justreachout.io/ – we help small businesses, startups, entrepreneurs pitch and get press coverage from journalists and influencers who are interested in their niche.

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