Every business must engage in marketing to survive, regardless of size and scope. Small business owners often ignore this aspect because there are usually bigger issues to deal with, especially when just starting out. The following seven points explain why marketing is so important for your company to grow and prosper.
Competitors are Your Teachers
Your first step in marketing is to see what your competitors are doing in your local area or with a similar product offering. Visit their establishments and websites to see what is bringing in customers and what is turning them away. Seeing a competing business in person will give you ideas on how to present your products and services in a different and better way. You can also take this opportunity to introduce yourself to the owners of the businesses to let them know you are also operating in the area.
After your visits and online research, you can build a chart that compares the strengths and weaknesses of your business in comparison to your direct competitors. For example, if the other businesses were not offering a loyalty program, that is something you could start to make your company stand out.
You Need a Strong Online Presence
The next stage is building an online presence for your business. If you are a small, local company, you may think there is little benefit to having a website. This is not true. An online presence will bring in new customers and help them connect to you. The mobile web drives most of the search traffic, which is often based on location, and 78 percent of those local searches convert to sales. If you want your business to be found online, you need a website, plus accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram and LinkedIn. That’s when social media marketing Gilbert AZ services come into play.
Your competitor research should have shown you how the other businesses are doing online, including the keywords they are targeting and the social media platforms they are posting on. Take a good look at what they are sharing and formulate your own ideas for doing it better.
Feedback Will Determine Your Reputation
How your customers see your business and write about their experiences online can play a large role in your company’s reputation. Reviews not only tell others about how you are doing, they determine how well your company will rank in local searches. Research has shown that 72 percent of users will trust a business if it has positive reviews. In addition, 92 percent will patronize a business if it has been rated at four stars or higher.
Since positive reviews are an important tool, you should encourage feedback from your current customers. Choose a platform like Facebook, Yelp or TripAdvisor to collect user experiences and opinions. Prompting customers right after they receive their merchandise or have finished a meal is the perfect time to get an honest evaluation. This can be done through your website, an app or by email. You also need to be realistic and accept that negative reviews are part of doing business. They can actually give you insight into the areas where you need to improve.
The Press is Your Friend
Marketing is a tough job, but you do not have to do it alone. Your local news outlets are a great way to get out the word about your business. Whether it is a newspaper or television station, share a narrative that is heartfelt and honest to make people want to patronize your business. Provide professional photos that can also be shared on social media. Another approach is to host an open house and give away free samples of your product. Your main goal is to make a strong connection with journalists to get air time and column space.
You Must Impress Your Customers
Impressed customers are people who will do marketing work for you through word of mouth, which has been proven 10 times more effective than other standard marketing strategies. The trick to getting this process started is by exceeding the expectations of your customers.
The personal touch always works well. Including a free sample or a small gift with every purchase will make a good impression as will a handwritten thank-you note. If you have a local store, learn your customer’s first names to make them feel like a friend. Surprise people by how much you care, and they will tell everyone they know how great your business is.
You Must Build an Email List
Even in the age of social media, email marketing is still the top strategy for getting and keeping customers. In order to do this, you must create a large list first. You can offer customers special discounts or VIP privileges in exchange for their email addresses. Many people will sign up for a list if they are made to feel special in some way.
After building a list, the next step is coming up with a strategy. The emails you send will depend on your long-term business goals, such as more sales, better brand recognition or keeping customers.
An App Will Help Your Business Grow
Apps are not just a mobile convenience, they are are also marketing tools. They can be used to attract new customers through loyalty programs or help to retain current customers through special promotions. Apps can also collect feedback and make it simple for customers to share their experiences on social media. You can get the ball rolling by having a launch party for your app. This event will get people talking and generate more interest in your company.
While all of the listed strategies work well individually, they can also be used in combination to make a strong impression on the public. Start off with a solid web presence, build a fabulous app and invite the press to hear your story. This is how you improve the marketing for your small business.