Marketing Your Small Business
If you build it, they will come. Well, not if they don't know about it. That's why active promotion and marketing are so important for your business. Because you can have the perfect product or service for customers, but they will never know it if you don’t show them.
To clarify, when we ask the question - where should you spend your first marketing dollars - we don't mean the first time you pay for advertising. We are, instead, discussing where you should prioritize your marketing budget and efforts. Should it be digital? If so, where? What about newspaper or direct mail?
Nope. None of the above.
For the most part, your first priority should be customer retention and increasing repeat purchases.
Customer retention and repeat purchases are your keys to growth. Yes, customer acquisition and new customers are necessary but when we develop marketing plans customer retention is usually a priority - even for new businesses without a customer base.
Our thinking is simple - customer retention increases customers' lifetime value and increases the ROI of your customer acquisition marketing costs. Your costs to attract new customers are far higher than selling to your current customers. You get better results from all your marketing and promotion investments when you have a plan that maximizes the lifetime value of new customers.
Your marketing plan should include new customer acquisition and customer retention strategies as both are important and they work together to grow your business.
5 Customer Retention Ideas You Can Try
You need an actionable marketing plan before spending money on marketing and promotions. The size of your business doesn't exempt you from this idea, solopreneurs to large businesses need a plan with goals, timelines, actions, and include a way to measure results. A real marketing plan includes ways to measure success or failure that you can use to improve your marketing and promotions.
Email marketing continues to be the most effective marketing channel for most industries because it is low-cost, allows you to segment customers, run campaigns, and develop a solid relationship with engaged customers who are more likely to buy from you.
Your email marketing can be as simple as a weekly newsletter or as complicated as you want with segmentation and sales funnels.
Email services such as Aweber, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, etc. - are relatively cheap and are easy to use. The complicated part is the actual marketing and getting the reader to take an action.
You need only a few things to get your email marketing going (a marketing plan is first, but we will assume that is implied for the rest of this article):
- Email Marketing service
- Content calendar
- Ability or partner to write and execute your emails
- A way of collecting sign-ups
You can start by asking your current customers to sign up for an email list. Current customers should be segmented from lead-generating funnels because they should be treated differently than prospects who aren't as familiar with you or your business. And customers can be segmented further based on what they buy, where they're from, or any relevant way that makes sense for your business. The main point here is that there is a huge difference between a person who has purchased in the past and one who has not made a purchase.
People love rewards and they also love free stuff and discounts. Dedicating between 3% - 5% of purchases to a reward/loyalty program is reasonable for most B2C businesses to run a great loyalty program.
A loyalty program is a great way to stimulate customer spending and to keep them coming back. A customer that has purchased from you is familiar with you and has a certain amount of trust. Gaining awareness and building trust are the time-consuming and expensive parts of the customer buying cycle. Now you're selling to a warm audience that is more likely to be interested in your offer.
Loyalty programs can provide you with valuable data about your customers. From price tolerance to selection - you can drill down and see who your most profitable customers are and identify new opportunities to upsell or get your customers interested in higher-margin products or services.
Social media platforms can help you stay top of mind with your customers. While organic reach drops for businesses on a lot of popular social channels such as Facebook, you can still get into some of your follower's feeds with a little bit of effort.
Your social follower will include people who have already done business with you. Write a lot of your posts as though your audience knows you and trusts you because that's different messaging than writing marketing copy for strangers who aren’t familiar with your business.
SMS is a little like email marketing. It's marketing by text message and it's faster than email and has an over 90% open rate compared to around 21% cross industry for email. SMS is great for sending timely deals to customers and encouraging repeat spending.
Sending customers who just made a purchase a deal for their next purchase is one way to use SMS marketing. Another is to remind people of an upcoming event or sale you are promoting. For example, a restaurant could send out their lunch special to SMS signups just before lunchtime, or businesses who offer points can text customers with updated points total and encourage them to use their points on a specific purchase.
The utilization is different than email marketing and SMS works nicely in conjunction with email marketing to target your best customers.
Every touchpoint with your customer helps to establish your brand and win more sales. You should set standards and develop processes for the different ways customers interact with your business. This includes how customers are greeted to how complaints are handled.
The first step is a plan. Your staff needs proper training and support to provide the customer service you expect and create the customer experience to keep people coming back. Poorly trained staff leads to many avoidable service problems.
Your employees are the face of your business and well worth the investment. Unique or exceptional service is often overlooked by your competitors, and you can turn that into your advantage to keep customers happy and loyal.
Is Your Marketing Working for You?
Do you feel like your business is missing opportunities? Do you feel like your marketing and promotions efforts are not helping you reach your goals?
It’s time to end random marketing activities that don’t deliver results! We can help you understand how to take your business to the next level! From marketing plans, to partnering, to developing and delivering your brand – we will be in your corner.
Contact us today to chat about how to improve your marketing and promotions and grow your bottom line.