What are THE 6 Most Effective Ways To Boost Small Business Marketing?
Marketing is important to every business’s survival, whether it’s for the local business up the street or the mega-corporation that spreads across all continents. Unfortunately, marketing is often put on the back burner as a small business owner has so many other things to deal with.
#1. Learn From Your Competitors
As a small business, you should start by learning what your direct competitors are doing in the area. Find out how they are attracting customers and, more importantly, learn from costly mistakes they may have already made trying something that was a complete failure...and why? It’s time to start or revisit your competitor research. “If you’re opening a location-based business, like a restaurant, that competitor research might involve visiting other venues in person to judge quality, service, aesthetics and other factors through which you want to differentiate your own business”, Score says. This is also a great time to introduce yourself to other local business owners. On the other hand, if you have an e-commerce business, you will be conducting a lot of the research online.
Make sure to document your findings; you can create a chart to show your strengths and weaknesses alongside your competitors. For instance, you might find that you are the only business in the area who isn’t offering a loyalty program to attract customers, it is time to jump on that bandwagon. And, from statistics and experience, the old punch cards aren't nearly as effective as a customized tiered or maybe a point system program that is something we build into our client's Apps. If it's on their phone, they'll always have it with them!
#2. Build a Strong Online Presence
An important part of marketing today is developing an online presence. You might think your local business has no benefit of being online, as customers are usually local. To the contrary, you will be able to attract new customers in the area and beyond by being present online. It’s important to remember that one-third of all mobile searches are related to location and 78% of local-mobile searches result in offline purchases. You want people to find you online when they are looking for a business in the area, whether that’s on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram. These things make a massive difference in comparison to those who think they're doing just fine without them.
From your competitor research (see #1), you already have an idea of how other businesses in the area are presenting themselves online. Now dig a little deeper, asking questions like Which businesses show up in Google’s local pack? Which keywords are often targeted? What social media platforms are they using? What type of online content are they sharing? Take inspiration from your competitors and improve their efforts in order to stand out. It's OK to use other businesses as inspiration to put your own twist on. That's exactly what the business your doing it to did to come up with their content in most cases!
#3. Collect Reviews & Testimonials
Having positive reviews is easily one of THE most important things when it comes to your online presence! Reviews are crucial when it comes to ranking in local searches and acquiring new customers. Research shows that 72% say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. What’s more, 92% of consumers say that they will use a local business if it has at least a 4-star rating.
Having positive reviews to your business name is an incredibly strong tool, so part of your marketing strategy should be directed towards collecting reviews from current clients. Pick one or multiple platforms that you want to direct people to (e.g. Yelp, Google My Business, Tripadvisor, Facebook). With the help of a mobile app built by a leading company in the industry like Newfangled App Solutions, you will be able to prompt your customers to leave reviews within seconds. The easier you make it for customers to leave reviews, the more positive reviews will pour in! With a Mobile App build by Newfangled App Solutions you're able to prompt them just at the right time! For example, right after they have enjoyed their experience or received their product in the mail. Lastly, don’t be discouraged by negative or mediocre reviews, these are valuable insights into what you can do it improve your business. You do however want to have the opportunity to address any less than great reviews BEFORE they're left publicly to permanently affect your reputation. With a mobile App, it will act as your Online Reputation Management System that will redirect anything less than "GREAT" to you instead of posting to Google, Yelp or any other platform you use. Those are just two of the most prominent places people will often look. How many times have you seen a business with 8 reviews and a perfect 5 star rating, then seen a competitor with 377 reviews and a 4.8 star rating? Which one would you choose? Hence the importance of making it EASY for your customers to leave reviews which they will do through a Mobile App!
#4. Make Your Customers Say WOW
You don’t need to do all the marketing yourself, turn your best customers into brand advocates who will market for you. In fact, word-of-mouth is 10 times as effective as traditional forms of marketing and advertising. So how do you generate that word-of-mouth marketing? You need to exceed your customers’ expectations!
The Missouri Business Development Program states that: “All successful small businesses seem to have an edge. They have found a way to distinguish themselves, to rise above the commercial fray, to put the WOW into their business.” In other words, you need to delight your customers and make them say (or think) WOW. Maybe it is sending them a handwritten postcard or giving them a special gift with purchase. Maybe you have a life-long warranty or know all your customers by name. Think of the most creative way to surprise your customer and they will not only become loyal customers, they will also spread the word for you.
#5. Building an Email List
According to eMarketer, 80% of SMB retail professionals report that email marketing is the best marketing tactic for driving customer acquisition and retention. Email marketing is a great way to a build lasting relationship with your customers. But in order to get the full benefits of email marketing, you need to build out a substantial email list first.
Start by setting up a lead magnet. “Lead magnets are essentially tempting offers that provide consumers something of value in exchange for their contact information”, says Lyfe Marketing. For local businesses, this might include asking for an email address in to sign up for a VIP loyalty program; or signing up for the email list to receive special discounts.
Once you have an email list, you can create an email marketing strategy. Decide what types of emails you would like to send out, ranging from newsletters and industry-related news to promotions and recommended purchases. The types of emails will depend on the goal you want to achieve, such as improving brand recognition, increasing customer retention, or boosting sales.
#6. Add an App to Your Portfolio
An app is not just a mobile application, an app is a complete mobile marketing solution. It is a powerful marketing tool if used the right way. You can use an app to draw new customers in by offering features in your custom App by Newfangled Apps! Features such as mobile ordering, in-app purchasing for your inventory, customize a loyalty program that fits your specific business. You can also engage with existing customers by sending out messages with promotions and news about your business. You can set up a lead capture form within the app to start building out your email list. As previously mentioned, an app will help you collect positive reviews as you are able to prompt customers to share their opinion on social media, produce online reviews, or send a referral in a matter of seconds.
If you want to get even more creative, you can pull out all the stops with an app launch party. This will, in turn, trigger word-of-mouth and draw more people to your business.
All of the above marketing strategies can help small businesses gain new customers and increase repeat business. Many of them also overlap and work together in order to set your business apart from the crowd: adding a “WOW factor” to your business can trigger positive reviews and, in turn, strengthen your online presence. A custom Mobile App from Newfangled App Solutions can help you build an email list, as well as get you local press coverage and so on. Give your customers the experience they want, and take your business where EVERYONE is....to Mobile Devices! Progressive Web Apps are the future of mobile apps, and if you want to impress your customers and make their experience with your business memorable and unique a Progressive Web App is certainly the most affordable & effective way to do it!