Many small business owners are on a constant daily struggle to keep their business afloat. Fending of other SME’s and trying to stay clear of the big corporations is an arduous task. Managing staff and cash flow whilst doing extended hours is time-consuming and takes its toll. As a result many do not have time to enter the world of marketing barring its very basic form and others do not see the value in it, being a non-revenue generating department. On contrary. The Holy Grail is in trying to reach out to customers successfully and effective digital marketing strategies can achieve this for you. We’re not saying do anything fancy and over budget, here are 5 things you can incorporate into your daily business activities that can really make a difference.
Many small business owners may not pay attention to or fully recognise and understand what branding is. In the modern age, the good quality of your product or service is not a pre-cursor to success. This is slightly unfortunate (isn’t that what customers care about!?), but the fact of the matter is with so many organisations competing for the same target audience, it is incumbent on a business to add a sense of culture and meaning to not only themselves but their products and services. This is branding, developing a sense of association and attachment within customers for your organisation. If you are a family business, then embed the family culture into your outward facing business activities. Show your customers that you care. A famous quote states: “your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
Social media content
If you’ve read other articles in our blog then this may sound like a broken record, but it is imperative to use social media to your advantage, specifically, using social platforms to extend the reach of your business at a level that is not possible for small businesses using offline marketing techniques. Engage your customers in the content you post, don’t use it just to talk about how great and cheap your product is or how your service can save people time. Use your Twitters and Facebooks to develop a level of branding. Furthermore, mix up your content by using a combination of text, pictures, graphics, opinion polls, videos and so forth.
You may be wondering why we’ve singled out Instagram over other social media platforms. Being a small business, you may not have the marketing personnel or skill to write quirky, witty and engaging content, so instead use Instagram- anyone can take a picture and upload it to share with others. Moreover, a picture paints a thousand words and people process them quicker, making it an effective visual stimuli to engage with customers. For most businesses especially restaurants and retailers selling electronics, toys and other goods, it’s an obvious and easy choice.
Write what people Google….
…in relation to the industry you operate in. Free and easy to use tools such as the Google Keyword Planner can help you identify what customers are searching for with regards to your organisation and thus your blog and social media content should reflect this. For example, let’s say you are a restaurant and you find that as summer is approaching customers are searching for good mocktail combinations, as a result there is little use therefore in having your content talk about how great your range of soups are! It is pivotal for any organisation, let alone small or big, to keep up with customer trends.
Respond to your customers
Half of marketing is responding to customers. If your customer feels that you are not hearing their voice, your best content will be rendered useless. As the above mentioned quote states, customers need to know that you care before anything else. It may be the case that an organisation with semi-good social media content is not responding to customer comments. It is important to give them just as good level of online customer service as you’d do through traditional methods. What’s more is the online customer service you deliver will be there in the open for all to see, so a great opportunity to stamp your credibility.