by Ryan Pinkham, Constant Contact
Let’s face it — marketing isn’t always as simple as we’d like.
While you probably know all about the different tools that are out there, and have likely experimented with different strategies for reaching new customers — it can still be difficult to come up with a plan that works for you.
Some days you may feel like you’re not doing enough; others may feel like you’re doing too much.
What if your growing list of marketing tasks could be made a lot simpler by answering a few basic questions?
It’s easier than you might think. We believe marketing is not optional, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be overwhelming or complicated.
By focusing on answering a few important questions, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success and avoid wasting time and resources in the wrong places.
Here’s a closer look at a few of the most important questions, along with resources to help you answer them.
1. How will new customers find your business?
If you’re like most small businesses, word-of-mouth is still the most effective way for you to reach new customers. But in addition to the referrals and recommendations that help bring people to your business, there are a number of online channels that people can use to learn more about you and the products and services you offer.
When someone recommends a business to you, what’s the first thing you do next? If you’re like a lot of people, you pull out your smartphone or jump on your computer and search for the business online. You may visit the business’s website, but you may also use sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor to see what other people are saying. You may also turn to social media and see what type of information you can find there.
And of course, there are plenty of other ways you might discover a new business — like an ad on a website or a promoted post in your social feed.
Think about all the places people could be finding your business. This will likely include a mix of search, social media, listings, and any paid promotion you’ve invested in. The key to getting your business found online is making sure people can find you in the places that matter to them. You’ll also want to think about the questions potential customers could be asking and how you can create content to answer those questions.
2. How will you stay top-of-mind and build relationships with new and existing customers?
Once someone finds your business and pays you a visit, it’s your chance to offer an experience that they’ll remember. Here at Constant Contact we call this your WOW! moment. This could be something small like an enjoyable interaction with a member of your staff, or something a little bigger like a free giveaway or a follow-up message that makes them want to come back.
When you provide a great experience, you don’t have to work hard to get people to want to stay in touch. Make it as easy as possible for customers to connect with you by including links to your email sign-up form on every page of your website.
You should also promote your email list at your place of business — this can be as simple as a paper sign-up sheet on your counter or more high tech like allowing people to scan a QR code on their mobile device or send a text message to join your email list. Don’t forget to train all your employees to ask customers to join your email list.
3. How will you get customers to come back and do business with you again and again?
When someone joins your email list or connects with you on social media, they are asking to hear from you again because they’re interested in what you have to offer.
This is your chance to follow up and continue to build the relationships that are critical to your business. The more customers engage with you, the more they get to know, like, and trust you. And once you deepen these relationships, these people will become your biggest supporters.
Set a goal to send a minimum of one email per month, and make sure to offer something of value. Include a healthy mix of helpful content to keep them engaged, and also come up with opportunities to keep them coming back. You can host an event to give guests the chance to learn more about your business and meet other customers who support your business as well. Or, create a special offer that people can redeem in-store or online.
4. How will you encourage customers to tell their friends/connections about your business so you reach new customers?
Word-of-mouth is still as important as ever, but the ways people talk about their favorite businesses has changed quite a bit.
The one-to-one recommendations that used to happen offline between friends and colleagues, have expanded online — making referrals more impactful than ever before. When someone talks about their favorite small businesses on social media, their friends will see it. When they comment, like, or share your updates or check in at your location — it can show up in your friends’ and followers’ feeds too.
These small social interactions can play a major role in your business’s long-term success by helping you reach potential customers and expand the size of your audience. Beyond these basic social media interactions, customers also have the opportunity to review your business on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Google, and even on your Facebook Page.
Think about your most loyal customers and how you can get them to show off their enthusiasm. You could consider starting a brand ambassador program or simply provide an incentive for writing a quick review.
5. How will you evaluate your success and make improvements?
This is the piece of the marketing equation that’s often overlooked. You put a lot of work into your marketing, now you need to take the time to measure your results.
There are plenty of tools you can use to track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. With email marketing, you have the ability to track important metrics like opens and clicks. On social, you can easily see how many people your posts are reaching and which type of content is generating the most engagement from fans.
Beyond these performance metrics, you can use an online marketing platform like Constant Contact to measure event registrations, and monitor how many people are claiming and redeeming the offers you send out.
Find the tools that are right for you and make sure to regularly check in to see what’s working, what’s not, and what you can be doing differently to improve your results.
Put these questions to the test!
Take some time to answer these questions and see how your business performs. Constant Contact created this handy 5-Point Checklist to help you get started.
BizzyWeb’s Buzz Builders online marketing services can help your company generate leads, optimize your site, promote your products and retain your customers. Get started today with a FREE BUZZ Report to see what you’re doing well, where you have room for improvement and how BizzyWeb can help you create a plan to get REAL results!