My reflection on 2016 continues.
In addition to the 10 things I learned in 2016, there was one more important thing I observed and wanted to share, but my previous post would have been too lengthy.
I noticed that many business owners do not have set marketing strategies in place. There is no organised system to present products and services and to reach their audience. I believe that this could be because many business owners (large or small) still heavily rely on a word of mouth. Many don’t see the need to invest in promoting their business besides telling someone what is being offered with the hopes that that person will tell someone else and customers will show up at their door.
Ask yourself, “Where do I want to see my business in the next 5 years?” If your answer is, “on markets outside of my island,” then you need to start thinking beyond your shores. It does not matter the size and nature of your business, if you present it well to your audience, if you implement marketing strategies to meet your customers and keep them coming back, then you’re on your way to seeing bigger markets.
Take a look at a few ways to boost your marketing strategy and widen your reach:
1.Create a Facebook Page for your business.
I have seen some business owners using their personal Facebook profile to promote their products and services. I urge you to take some time to create a Facebook page for your business and use that page to share everything related to that business. That way, if someone wants to know more about your business, they won’t have to add you as a friend and wait for you to ‘accept request’. Instead, they simply ‘Like’ the page and get all the info needed. Having a page also sets you apart and says that you are serious about what you’re doing.
2. Create a website.
This depends on the nature of your business. For some businesses, a Facebook page will work fine, but for others, a website is definitely needed. For persons in niches like clothing and accessories or offering a service, a website is a great way to sell your products. If you’re not sure of how to start, there are loads of tutorials and online tools (Eg. Wix.com, WordPress) to build websites without using codes. You can also consider hiring a professional web designer who you know can get the job done.
3. Create a customer list.
I have seen how having a list prompts your customers (in my case, readers) to come back. Once you have a list, you can use that as a form of marketing to inform customers of new things happening such as sales, new stock, promotions or you can just touch base which some people really appreciate.
A list can be created by simply collecting emails or contact information directly from customers and creating a separate customer contact group on your email. You can also use free online email marketing software such as MailChimp.com and link to your website to capture those emails. The purpose of grouping the emails is to be able to send out information to your customers in a faster more efficient way and it can be used to get feedback from customers.
Never underestimate the power of a follow-up call or email. This is where your list comes in handy. Customers love to know that you are not just interested in getting their money but, they like to know that you are taking the time to listen, especially when they have concerns. Listening helps you, the business owner, to learn about their experience with your service. With that information, you now know where to make improvements and what you did that has been working.
Thinking beyond your shores starts by meeting the needs of customers. Good service speaks and customers love to brag when they’re treated well. You just never know who your customer may brag to. It may very well be to someone who will give you your ‘big break’.
5. Provide customer incentives.
What motivates customer loyalty than with gifts every now and then? Customers love feeling appreciated and would not mind spending more money if they know that they’re being heard and appreciated. Provide discounts, freebies, etc.
6. Education – Keep learning.
I will always add education to a marketing strategy because the more you know about your product or service, the better you understand how to sell and present it. Don’t ever think you’ve learned enough and stop there. There’s something new to learn everyday and that will eventually help you develop a winning strategy. So keep learning.
Would you add anything to this list? Let’s chat by commenting below: