I think it’s safe to say that we all want to have a very successful, rewarding 2016. To that end, we wanted to provide you with 5 quick small business marketing tips that you should use throughout the year to make sure you are bringing people back and getting your products and services in front of the right audience. Below are 5 tips we feel will help distinguish you from the competition when thinking about your marketing efforts for the New Year.
- Market to the Right Audience
Many businesses try and shotgun their advertising budget in all directions, hoping to hit the most possible customers in the future. This misses the importance of targeted marketing which can get specific messages, promotions and information to the best potential customers. By spending your time and resources in a more targeted manner you can best utilize your customer database to get the right message to the right people in order to grow your entire business! Too many people are receiving email blasts with no direction that they are quick to delete. You want to make sure that each message you’re sending out has an actual impact on the intended audience. The best way to have an impact is to send a message that directly relates to an experience they had: a service they received, product they purchased, or even hygienist/doctor/stylist/service writer they saw. A great example of targeting the right audience can be seen with a hair salon: if you have a special right now on a haircut for women you wouldn’t want to send this to the men that frequent your hair salon as they will just open it and delete it; this has no impact on them. Before you send an email campaign you want to ask yourself, “should this go to everyone?” If not, segment it to the right people.
- Incentives to Draw In Unlikely Customers
Yes, what you have is worth the cost, but in order to get your products and services in front of your targeted audience you should consider a small promotion or coupon to solidify why what you offer is amazing. Ideally you’d send these incentives to consumers with a sporadic purchase/service history to get them to start coming back regularly after their next visit. Price is always a huge decision maker for people shopping around and turning a customer into a long-term, regular customer will outweigh any initial discount offered; if you get 2 extra visits a year out of a customer because of an incentive it makes it worth it (as long as your incentive isn’t more than they would spend in 2 visits). You have the opportunity to turn random customers into lifelong customers! Make sure those promotions/coupons are ending up in the right persons’ inbox by targeting the right audience (see Point #1)!
- Don’t Forget Your Web Presence
From Facebook to Google to your own company website, you need to be visible on the web in order to bring in new business effectively. Without a strong web presence you’re losing business to competitors that are visible in all of the areas that you are not. It may seem like little things that don’t matter, but in this day and age of everyone carrying a smartphone and being connected to information at their fingertips making sure you have a presence on those sites is the difference between a future customer choosing you or a competitor. If a customer can’t find a Facebook page or a website about your business they may find that odd in this internet age and may just go to another business that has an online presence that can answer their pre-visit questions. Click here to see some tips regarding your online reputation.
- Maintain Existing Customer Relationships
Once you get customers you have to keep them, but that’s a different story than in the past as competitors now have more ways to get in front of your customers. Every business is trying to bring in new people and while all of the above suggestions will get people in the door, your staff’s people skills coupled with ongoing marketing efforts are what is going to bring those same customers back and turn them into lifelong supporters. You have to maintain the relationships you forge so that even if a competitor offers a lower price or a flashier email, your customers stay loyal. The best way to do this is combination of non-invasive electronic marketing (targeted to the right audience of course) and a great interaction with your staff when they do come in. Your customers will feel more connected to you if you are sending communications that contain information specifically related to them (a service they had, product they purchased, car they have, etc.). Additionally, a thoughtful and rewarding conversation with someone as they enter and leave your establishment is important to remember as first and last impressions stay with them long after they’ve left.
- Don’t Advertise Like a Big Business
All of this is pointing to one major statement: You’re not a Big Business and you should not market like one. Big Businesses have market share, staying power and clawed their way up from ground to be where they are today. They also have huge budgets that allow them to throw massive marketing waves at the general public, hoping for things to stick; they don’t need to target specific customers because their customer base numbers in the millions. Remember that you are not always top-of-mind because you don’t have billboards and TV commercials reminding people that you’re there and ready to help. People are always checking their email and social media so making sure you are sending targeted communications to their inbox and that they can find you online because of your great online presence are effective ways to remind people you are there.
Every small business is going to be different, but thinking about these 5 tips when discussing your 2016 marketing efforts should allow you to be more effective and successful in your marketing! We know not everyone went to school for marketing so we want to make sure everyone has the tools to be successful. If you have any comments or questions please share them below and we are wishing everyone a safe and happy 2016!