As a small business, often it’s difficult to get your hands on the budget or the personnel to adequately market your business. As a small business owner, it’s likely that you are equally responsible for the staff rota and the product branding. You’ve got a lot on your plate, so it’s understandable that effective marketing strategies often fall by the wayside.
However, the efficacy of your marketing strategy is critical. With fewer people on your payroll and fewer resources to expend, you cannot afford to play around with different techniques to see which one works best in the next quarter; you need results immediately. Luckily, we’ve gone through the trial-and-error process for you. We’ve picked up a few hints and tricks along the way.
- Know your audience.
Whilst larger businesses think about their marketing strategies on a national and sometimes international level, your efforts need to take consideration of regional limits. However, this is not necessarily a hindrance. Take advantage of your local audience and tailor your marketing materials accordingly. Make reference to local landmarks, events, and things your customer base might understand, in your marketing; this way, you’re establishing a sense of intimacy with your audience, a sense that you know what they’re going through. You don’t have to worry about coming across as a greedy, faceless conglomerate, because you’re not one. Use this to your advantage.
2. Social media marketing
Let’s face it, everyone is on social media these days, and you’d be mad not to take advantage of that. You have a captive audience on sites like Instagram and Facebook, so if you don’t have a presence on these sites it’s time to create a profile today. On social media you’re able to target local customers, post regularly to promote your products/services, and engage with your audience via direct messaging and comment threads. Facebook and Instagram are governed by algorithms that establish what users are most interested in, making companies and figures who correspond with those interests more visible to them. This means that, not only are you able to reach out to pre-existing customers, but also those who haven’t even heard of you (yet)!
Some businesses use their social media presence in lieu of a website. Whilst there is some merit to that – especially if your target audience are people under 30 – having a website is usually an especially important aspect of digital marketing. Often, your website is the first impression a potential customer will have of your business, and if you can make a success of it you will be reaping the rewards for years to come. You need a website to show you’re real and to offer information about your business to potential customers. I cannot overstate the importance of a website that is easy to use. No one wants to be clicking through tens of pages to find the right contact info, or to make a booking. Make sure your website is easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, and be sure to pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO).
Getting your customers in the door is one thing, but keeping them is a whole other story. Yes, the quality of the customer service they receive and experience they have at your venue is important. However, if you want to ensure that your customers don’t forget about your business after they’ve left, effective retargeting is the best way to go. Automate emails and SMS alerts, reminding customers to review your business or to rebook soon, are a simple and cheap way to achieve your marketing goals. Follow up questionnaires and physical advertisements are more time-consuming, but often pay dividends. Furthermore, simply encouraging customers to follow you on social media is a failsafe way to literally keep your company in their minds’ eye. If, weeks after visiting your venue, they’re still seeing your daily posts on their newsfeed, they’re much more likely to return.
Emails are like gold dust to the modern marketer. If you can convince customers to give you their email address, either by signing up to your mobile ordering service or mailing list, you can then create persuasive and targeted content which is delivered into their mailbox every week! From emails – as with all digital marketing tools for that matter – you can determine how many people are regularly engaging with your business, the types of content they’re more likely to respond to, and the rates at which they are opening your emails and clicking on the links you send. Finding the right CRM tool (HubSpot and Google Analytics are two we’d recommend) is essential if you’re to make the most of this data, but the potential benefits of it to your businesses are innumerable.
Words by Rebecca Clayton