Building a business is challenging enough when the economy is strong. But we’re currently in the throes of a pandemic and on the brink of a recession and this is something none of us have ever seen before.
Small business owners don’t know if they’ll be able to survive the next few months. So what can you do when you can’t open your retail business or restaurant or office where you meet with customers face-to-face?
This is a time to be super proactive. Sitting on the sidelines waiting for things to turn around is not an option. Rather, use this forced quarantine as a time to get creative with your marketing.
Here are eight easy-to-implement tips designed to stay in touch with customers so you don’t lose them.
- Market consistently. You want to maintain visibility. It’s important to keep your name out in the marketplace – even if it’s only virtual. Never give your customers a chance to forget about you.
- Focus on your customers’ needs. Some of them are obvious now – food, shelter, business support, and the personal services we can no longer get (anyone need a haircut?). But never assume. Ask your customers what they need and how you can help. Let them know you’re still there for them.
- Make customer care a priority. A positive customer experience may be the difference between keeping a customer or losing her to a competitor. Vow to make every customer experience a positive one.
- Keep your marketing message consistent. Don’t keep changing who you are. Not only does that muddy your brand, but it confuses your customers.
- Don’t ignore what’s going on and pretend it’s business as usual. Nothing is as usual right now. Acknowledge that. If you’re a brick & mortar shop and can offer e-commerce, do it. Some sales are better than no sales. If you can’t sell online, what CAN you do? Could you offer online seminars or webinars? What about coaching? Get creative about alternative ways to bring in money.
- Find a WOW” about your business. If you can’t find one, create one. It’s the reason customers talk about your shop or your services. One-of-a-kind products. Custom designs. Styles that are always a few steps ahead of the current trends. Consistently outstanding customer service. What makes your company special?
- Read Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill. It’s a great book that explains what triggers peoples’ “need that” button.
- Don’t get discouraged. Well, try not to. Our economy is cyclical. The stock market always comes back. Yes, even from devastating losses like we’re seeing now.
Hopefully, your business will come back as well. But in the current economy, you need to hustle to make that happen.
If we can help, let us know. In the meantime, stay safe.
Today’s small business owner faces a big challenge. Digital noise surrounds us online — offers, freebies, surveys, endless articles. Getting your content read is more and more difficult. What can you do to make sure people see and share your content?
Here are 4 easy tips to make that happen:
- Focus on the benefit. How does your company help your target market? Think about the problem your products or services solve. Then tell visitors to your site exactly how that works. Don’t assume they’ll “figure it out” by reading your copy all the way through. That’s a crap shoot. In a noisy online world, you need to cut to the chase and tell people exactly what you want them to know.
- Identify your target market. Far too often we see business owners with wildly disparate target markets. Don’t try to be everything to everyone. The tighter you can define your market, the more you become a specialist. If you break your arm, would you want your internist to operate on you? Hell no! The same goes for selling your products and/or services. Focus on a particular segment of the market and target your copy to reach that segment in language they can relate to.
- Make it easy (or better yet, fun) for visitors to absorb your content. Is your product one that can be marketed with humor? Create a short clever video to get your point across. Or use images that convey humor. Cute fuzzy animals always seem to engage people. Cartoons haven’t been overused yet so that’s another option. If you offer services for a serious issue, like one that’s health-related, present content that’s easy to understand. Charts, infographics, copy with clear steps or bullet points and explainer videos are all good ways to share important or sensitive information.
- Make it easy for visitors to share your content. If you’ve succeeded in bullet point 3, this should be a piece of cake. People share what they think others in their world will like — content that’s interesting, amusing, informative, exciting or unusual. But be sure to tell your visitors to share your content. Share icons are important but saying “be sure to share this” or “don’t forget to share this with your friends” is just smart!
Your website may rank high in search, but if visitors aren’t engaged once they land there, you’ve got a lousy site. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.