Sometimes, it is the smallest actions that can lead to the largest changes in business.
At some point your customer comes face-to-face with your company, and you need to know how that interaction will go, before you start signing up customers. The smallest action you can do in your business is simply ‘do what you did last time.’ If this is easy, makes you money, and makes a customer happy, this is a win, win for everyone. If there is a flaw in that system, you need to clean up the mess before it becomes endemic, and you start doing the wrong things to customers – even accidentally. This has to be remembered when you are marketing for your small business.
We all know someone who is a fan of a company; someone that is forever talking about this place’s prices, or service, or how they go ‘above and beyond’. These people are “Evangelists”, and Word-Of-Mouth evangelism is an unpaid marketing force that people believe. After all, these people aren’t paid, and they have faced the same choices that others in their place have at some point. Whenever shoppers find themselves in that place, they remember the trustworthy advice given to them by someone that didn’t have to say it. They then shop there, too, to put that trustworthy experience to their own litmus test. Can you imagine what power you would have in your business pleased people so much that they sent you extra business at no cost to you?
Whenever someone buys from you, they should go straight to the top of your Loyalty charts – what they want in the future shouldn’t be limited by anything other than “They liked it before, they will like it again.” There shouldn’t be anything internally in your business that stops them getting what they want a second time, after becoming a partner with you. They will tell other people, and the snowball will grow.
Too many companies these days have complex loyalty systems that mean more money for them, rather than keeping the customer happy. Whatever it costs you to retain that client, it will gain additional customers. Can we quantify this? Yes. The Harvard Business Report released a report in 2014 that I will never forget. It stated that decreasing customer churn by just 5% can grow profits by between 25% and 125% .
That is a powerful financial argument for not only keeping your current customers happy, but also putting in place policies and systems that mean your customer is treated as they wish throughout the transaction process, and they are rewarded for it. If you have those systems in place when you are signing up a small amount of customers, that process will earn you much more as your sign-up process really ramps up. The myriad of possible customer problems in the future can be handled now; when the task is smaller and more easily handled. So, put these policies in place at your business, and see how large your customer base becomes from this one, small task.
Everyone loves listening to an expert speak. In the small business world, everyone suffers from the fear that they don’t know enough to challenge other, larger, more sophisticated competitors in their field; “They are larger, more established, more profitable, how can I possibly contend with them?”
The same is true of your Prospect Marketplace. Everyone is looking for the right information at the right time. It is your outreach that answers these questions for them. If you are a ‘small fish’, you can grow your size by offering information that no-one else is doing. Don’t question who will be listening, but rather drive their interest by highlighting what you do better than anyone else.
By way of illustration, and as a Thank You to my own industry partners, here are the questions I have answered about Small Business Marketing over the last 12 months that have been published in Influencer articles. The reasons for doing this are many fold:
- I have been included by Industry Leaders in their professional field. This makes me an expert.
- By re-printing their address, I am extending the life of my post and sharing their address. This is the perfect Thank You.
- By adding links in my blog post, I am strengthening my site’s SEO, because all of these links match my industry and prospect marketplace.
- I am offering information that my Prospect Marketplace can use.
When you extend a welcome to those that write for your industry to print your answers to their questions, you are not only gaining a friend, you are offering assistance, promotion and information to them. You are also recruiting a specialist to help you out with your own outreach: Definitely a ‘Win, Win’ situation for all.
So thanks for including my answers to your questions, and I hope that the following short tips are helpful to everyone reading:
“Digital marketing is a wonderful, cost effective way to market a SME business, but writing about how good your goods and services are simply isn’t enough to engage people. The challenge for many small businesses is to ‘open themselves up’ to their prospect marketplace and highlight their authenticity as a business. People buy from people, not simply for deals, so becoming an active part of your community is very important.”
Develop a new (or updated) mission statement. “Too many sales reps and business owners are consumed with the everyday realities of how to get the next sale, how to get through this quarter, and how to do this or that, all without giving much thought to the long-term. One way to avoid this trap is by knowing—and living by—your mission statement. If you already have one, dust it off and make sure it still represents your brand, who you are, and where you’re headed. If you don’t have a mission, then it’s time to develop one. “In order to start putting the right message out there for customers, you have to start at square one. Think about what your company does, what it does better than anyone else, and why customers should work with you for the long-term. That’s your mission statement.”
Small Businesses — and especially startups — have to address the trust gap: Why should you, as a small company, be trusted more than other companies?
For many Home Service companies, this is complicated by having to put prospects’ minds at rest about inviting you into their homes. I always suggest that small businesses highlight their differences from the bigger, ‘industry leaders’, and ‘being just around the corner’ can work for you. However, ensure to add some details about your trustworthiness — such as testimonials about how clean, efficient and sympathetic you are while in people’s homes — so that you stand out from the competition, and make your prospect’s ‘Value Decision’ easier.
Marketing Tools for All:
You have the opportunity to add a video to your Google My Business listing, add your videos to YouTube channel and link them to GMB. As this is a Google property, you will get extra benefits from using it!
Pairing investment tracking with UTM tags and asking customers where they heard of you: The time costs and possible advertising costs should be reflected in eventual sales. Ask your customers where they saw your posts, and ensure that any organic posts are directed at your prospect marketplace. Tag each weblink with a suffix so that you can see how many hits your posts get, what type of posts are the most popular, and who retains the information.
Google Alerts are a very valuable resource. Delivered free to your e-mail inbox every day, you can read and understand more about breaking news, fashions and trends in your given industry.
Don’t forget to visit these great sites to learn even more about how to successfully market your small business – there are some great tips in each one. Part Two of this Thank You is coming up. Hope you also find that instructive.
I have a wonderful surprise for you: My voice!
I recently guested on Andy Curry’s Podcast: “Crazy, Cheap Marketing: Innovative Marketing Tactics For Instant Growth.” and spoke about small business digital marketing including, social media marketing, blogging, community outreach and customer retention.
Andy’s approach to marketing a ‘neighborhood business’ was forged by running his own Hardware store for over 30 years. He offers in- the- trenches, first-hand knowledge of the pitfalls of marketing and the best use of advertising dollars for all businesses.
A few years ago, he started sharing this knowledge online via a web blog, a matching podcast and, more recently, books. He invites marketers, educators, business owners and other specialists to speak about different aspects of marketing that any entrepreneur can do to promote their business better, most of which are ‘crazy cheap’. I heartily recommend signing up for his podcasts and newsletters for free, and gain some expert knowledge on your business’ growth.
Although the main topic of our conversation was about Business blogging, a couple of other points of interest that have come up since the interview’s publication: I had the opportunity to ‘plug’ this blog, and had a link added to the website itself. The result has been the third-best month of readership figures since I began this blog. I also picked up more followers – in fact my total is now almost 30% bigger than it was in December 2018!
I have written before about the ‘waterfall’ effect of good marketing, and the above is a great example of this: More opportunities to talk about your business leads to more interest in your other marketing, which leads to more ‘fans’ that want to learn more. Additionally, people have learned something more about me as a business owner. My Voice is a give-away to my background. Despite spending over 30 years in North America, I never added to my birth dialect, so now I get lots of comments along the lines of: “I never knew you were English!”
This not only shows interest as me as a marketing expert, it also highlights interest in me as an authentic person – something that this blog has constantly highlighted as a ‘must do’ for any small business looking to grow.
Here is the direct link to the Podcast, so enjoy 25 minutes of marketing tips, and I do recommend you listen to some more interviews on the website for great tips on how to expand your digital footprint, turn more prospects in customers and make those customers evangelists for your business to others.
Of course, you can also start searching for opportunities to speak on behalf of your own specialty and business, creating your own waterfall effect of interest, growing both your name and your business!