When it comes to marketing your business, how do you feel? Is marketing like a dreaded chore, the one you put off? Is marketing something you’d love to do but find yourself thinking, “That’s the work I’ll do when I’m not staining.” Maybe you find it fascinating and understand the value of great marketing, but simply don’t know how in the world to get started?
No matter your sentiments toward marketing, the fact is this – marketing matters. Many times, your marketing provides consumer’s a “first impression” of your business. Beth Comstock, former vice chair of General Electric said,“…I believe passionately that good marketing essentials are the same. We all are emotional beings looking for relevance, context and connection.” We agree. In this article, we’ll share five top-tips for effectively and affordably marketing your business to increase revenue all year long.
Tip #1: Make Sure You Shine Online!
There is simply no way around it, your business must have a great online presence. Gone are the days when a great website was optional. Do you know that approximately 80% of shoppers across nearly every buying category begin with a Google search ? Investing in a professional looking website pays dividends throughout the year. There are excellent tools available that make building a professional website easy, even for a novice. Website building services to consider include
Webpress, Squarespace.com, Websitebuilder.com, and Weebly.com. You can also hire a pro to build your site for you! If you want to pay someone to build a great website, but don’t know where to start, try Fiverr.com. This site gives you access to thousands of creative folks ready to help make your business look amazing, and, most at incredibly good prices. You can also find people there to help you with SEO (search engine optimization), and, this is really important, content writing. No amount of “pretty” can make up for bad writing. If writing isn’t your strength, hire someone to help you write great content. Remember: it’s the consumer’s first impression, so make it a good one!
Tip #2: Reviews Matter – BIG TIME!
Customer reviews are like gold. Making a serious effort to gather online reviews can literally be a game-changer for small- to medium-sized businesses. Why? Because research shows that 90%(yes, 90%!) of all shoppers are influenced by reviews when making their buying/hiring decision. If you’re not currently going after customer reviews, this could be your prized tip. Gathering customer reviews is not only a powerful form of free marketing, but it’s also easy (score!). Obtaining customer reviews can be as simple as sending a follow-up email or text asking past clients to leave you a review on places like Google.com, Yelp, or Facebook. Once you have them, remember to use those great reviews! Post them on your website or Facebook, you can even include them in emails or newsletters sent to current or past customers reminding them that your business is“5-star” stable!
Tip #3: Coupons Are Always Current!
While many of the rules of marketing have changed with the insurgence of technology, one small marketing tool has remained effective – coupons. People love coupons, always have, always will. Coupons are an inexpensive, but powerful way to attract new customers. Marketing research consistently shows that consumers will go out of their way to use a coupon. Not only are coupons an effective strategy for attracting new business, but they also generate return customers. At the end of your job, offer customers a coupon for a discount on future business or to share with a friend. There’s a high chance they’ll be back. In most cases, coupons are a fail-safe marketing method.
Tip #4: Love on Your Current Customers
Are you familiar with the 80/20 rule (or the Pareto Rule)? If not, it’s an important rule of thumb to keep in mind when marketing your business. When it comes to business, the 80/20 rule says that a small handful of repeat customers account for most of your income. The customers who become long-term users are key to your business. 80/20 says that though they provide 80
percent of the value of your business, they only represent 20 percent (much less) of the overall people that use the business. Why is this important? When it comes to marketing, it makes sense to determine the best way to attract and convert more customers into long-term users (Maintenance contracts, anyone?). A common mistake among business owners is to overlook your 20%. Many people pour significant time, effort, and financial investment into recruiting new customers but neglect their current customer base. The 20% who already love you are anxious to be your ambassadors. These people will gladly help you gain referrals. They are built-in advertisers, don’t neglect them. Simple things like sending thank you cards for referrals, adding past clients to an eNewsletter, sending them Christmas cards, or offering customer appreciation specials all go a long way toward keeping your 20% for life.
Tip #5: Be the Go-To Expert!
Positioning yourself as the go-to expert in your field is an excellent marketing strategy. Customer confidence and peace-of-mind are significantly impacted when they trust that they are in good hands. One highly effective way to market yourself, and your business, as the leading authority in your craft with instructional videos. Instructional videos can be used to offer education and information all while subtly marketing your business. Videos posted to social media gain big exposure at no cost to you. Now, that’s smart marketing! Keep in mind though, quality counts! Just like the quality of your online presence matters, so does the quality of your video. Take time to learn how little tweaks go a long way toward making your videos look more professional. This article from Wistia provides a great tutorial for making high-quality videos from your plain old iPhone!
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This month's training tip comes directly from a question we received recently.