COVID-19 is affecting the way businesses communicate and market with customers. Whether you’re keeping your customers up-to-date on hours, restaurants announcing curbside pickup locations, or important news and tips, communication is key.
You’re good at what you do. Now it’s time to think outside the box and get your name in front of customers.
There’s a truckload of marketing advice out there, but it can be difficult to figure out where to start.
We can help. We’ve scoured the internet for the best marketing tips for small businesses to help you create a path to success.
Below are 10 of the tips we found:
Start with Great Content
We’ve all heard it before, content is King! Before you invest one dime in marketing your business, start with a strong foundation. Include digital content like a blog and YouTube channel, as well as printed content like premium business brochures and sales sheets.
Customer attention is more divided than ever. Besides written content, try:
Facebook Live sessions
Once you have content in place, you are ready to focus on buying more advertising, sending custom postcards, and attracting clients to your stellar content.
A video is a Big Business
If you’re looking for an easy way to capture the attention of customers, a video is growing in popularity.
YouTube is the second largest search engine. Viewers watch videos on everything from cell phones to Smart TVs. In addition to creating entertaining and educational content, you can buy bumper ads.
Facebook Live is a great way to connect with customers in real time. You can do a Q&A related to your services or products and answer questions as viewers type them in the comment box. Watch a couple of sessions yourself to get the hang of real-time interaction.
All you need is a cell phone and a quality mic to get started. What you have in your pocket is probably good enough. Add earbuds with built-in microphones and you’re ready to shoot your first video! If you want to edit videos or share your computer screen, free and low-cost software is available.
“Old School” Marketing Techniques are Coming Back in a Big Way
There’s so much noise on the internet now. Businesses often find postcards, brochures, and printed materials cut through the noise. Brick-and-mortar businesses can mail coupons to local customers with Every Door Direct Mail® postcards. Online businesses can send sample packets and brochures to clients.
Provide an Over-the-Top Customer Experience
Today’s customers have more choices than ever. If you compete on price, it’s a race to the bottom. Someone will always provide lower cost products and services than you.
Research shows that treating customers like royalty pays off. According to the Temkin Group:
“Loyal customers are five times as likely to repurchase, five times as likely to forgive, seven times as likely to try a new offering, and four times as likely to refer.”
Creating loyal customers is hard work, but the results are worth it. Study customer service experts like Intercom to see how it’s done.
Artificial Intelligence is the Wave of the Future
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming central to the way enterprise companies do business. Small businesses can take advantage of AI as well due to advances in technology. Over half of marketing executives think AI and machine learning improve customer experience.
Small businesses can use AI’s amazing processing power to create large-scale campaigns on a small budget.
AI can do everything from support your customers after-hours to build better ads. It’s surprising how many of the tools you use everyday use AI.
E-commerce Businesses Need Print Branding, Too
Your website is your shop’s digital welcome mat. But what about the printed hang tags on your products?
Consider e-commerce experience from your customer’s point of view:
- Jill is looking for a product on Google and stumbles upon your website.
- Beautiful branding and delightful UX make it easy (and fun!) to buy from you.
- Jill eagerly awaits her items.
- A brown box arrives on Jill’s doorstep.
- Jill’s new treasures include carefully wrapped products with foil-stamped hang tags attached to each item.
- Jill keeps one of the tags and uses it to follow you on Instagram.
SCORE! Jill will probably buy from you again. Now that she’s connected to you on Instagram, her friends are more likely to interact with you, too.
Do you think Jill will continue to buy from you because of your beautiful website? Your website is only the beginning of a customer’s journey. It’s critical you provide a user-friendly shopping experience to capture the Jills and Joes that stumble across your website.
What Jill will remember most is the last experience she has with your brand via the shiny hang tag. Once she connects with you on Instagram, she’s exposed to even more of your awesome brand.
There are a million stores online that sell what you do. Think beyond the first sale to keep customers coming back for more, and competition won’t be an issue.
Sweat the Small Stuff
It’s easy and less expensive to open a business than ever before. Customers also have an unprecedented amount of choices in where they buy from.
That’s why little details make a big difference. Pay attention to every last detail of your client or customer experience, including:
- Website User Experience
- Quality of product and/or service
- Customer engagement (increases the likelihood they’ll buy from you again)
- Personal attention (handwritten notes, fast and courteous customer service)
- Quality assurance and complaint resolution process
Track and Measure the Results of Your Marketing
No matter how you choose to invest your marketing dollars, the best way to know where to spend them is through tracking and measurement. Often, inexpensive marketing methods turn out to be costly compared to how much revenue they create.
Measuring the effectiveness of your marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. The important thing is that you do it. The way you measure success varies depending on your goals and the platform.
Listen to Your Customers
Successful businesses respond and adapt to the needs of their customers. The only way to truly understand your customers is to talk to them. Find out why they like your business, what social media platforms they use, and publications they read.
Customer feedback comes in many forms. Here are a few ways to find out who your clients are and what they need:
- Email surveys
- Online reviews
- User testing (for online businesses)
- Telephone calls
Start Small and Be Consistent
A “spray and pray” approach to marketing often costs more than it’s worth. Take time to get to know your customers, and tailor your campaigns to where they like to hang out online and off.
There’s no need to be on 50 social media platforms and run several print marketing campaigns at once.
Start with two to three social media profiles and one print campaign at a time. Give each method at least three to six months to start working before abandoning it for a better one.
As your marketing success increases, you can scale your operations to reach more customers. With the help of the following, you’ll be able to grow and expand your brand with these small business marketing tips.
Also published on Medium.