Insider-advice on small business marketing to help give you a competitive edge and a better return on your time and money spent on marketing your business.
1. All companies, large and small, have the same marketing goals
Every company wants to get customers, keep customers, get existing customers to buy more, fire unprofitable customers and create customer advocates.
Since everyone has the same goals, success in marketing is about what you choose to do and how well you implement or execute against those goals.
2. It’s better to do a few things well, than a hundred things poorly
Focus on mastering the marketing basics that are needed to retain and attract profitable new customers or clients. Then focus on developing a winning marketing strategy, one thing that you can be known for.
Small Business Marketing Must Do List – Here are the most important priorities for small business marketing to help you get the best return on your time and money.
- Collecting and updating your customer email and cell phone information. That will allow you to send email and text messages and call people. These are all the least expensive (and most effective) ways to contact people.
- Customer contact plan. You’ll also want to set up a customer contact plan to keep your retail store top of mind. You need to contact customers at least six times a year with some type of relevant message or offer. Ideally, you are contacting customers monthly.Your contacts can be through email newsletters, email alerts, personal emails or cards, text messages, calls or direct mail postcards, Facebook posts, letters or catalogs. Mix it up. Use a variety of ways to contact your retail store customers to stay top of mind.
3. Create brand fans
Small business marketing needs to work to generate referrals and create brand fans and customer advocates who share positive word-of-mouth with others.
You want your customers to be so satisfied that they proactively share positive word-of-mouth about your company, products, services and/or employees. Why is this so important? It’s now easier than ever for people to share positive (and negative) stories about their experiences. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, forums) has given everyone a microphone to reach a much wider audience.
What do small businesses consider most important for small business marketing success?
Word-of-mouth recommendations are critical.
What drives positive word-of-mouth?
- A great product or service
- Consistently great customer service with some “wow effect” that is worthy of sharing with someone else.
- Positive word-of-mouth being shared by others in person and online by customers on places like Facebook and Twitter.
- A winning marketing strategy that differentiates a company
- Great branding – that is far more than a logo. It’s going to market in a consistent, unified way that makes a company look bigger and more like a “safe buy”.
- PR coverage, including positive word-of-mouth from bloggers and industry influencers
- Positive reviews on sites like Yelp and Google Places
- Employees at the company who are excellent “brand ambassadors”
TIP: Positive word-of-mouth is achieved by doing many things right and aiming for Brand Love, something much greater than brand loyalty.