Small Businesses can spend large amounts of money on marketing and advertising expenses. Large businesses can spend into the millions on advertising. Just one commercial these days can take up a large portion of your marketing budget. Billboards, radio ads, commercials, flyers, etc. can be affective and we will talk about those later, but they all cost money. There are so many benefits of word of mouth advertising so this method should not be discredited.
Word of mouth advertising is first of all free and effective. So many things I buy and services I purchase I chose because a friend recommended it. Services like household maintenance including plumbing, electrical, and construction are services most people usually ask a family member or friend about even before doing an online search. Others like hairstylist, animal grooming, restaurants, you name it people like to hear from others before they choose. Relationships are a huge factor in consumerism. One bad review and your business can really suffer. People care want their peers think, that is why sites like Travelosity are so popular now. People want to know what they are getting into before they spend there hard earned cash. I read a review before I purchase just about anything these days.
With word of mouth advertising and customer service another aspect to keep in mind is customer feedback. It is important to survey your customers and clients and then actually utilize the information instead of allowing it to get lost in some file on your desktop. Value what your customer says about your company and make needed changes because you never know who your client is talking to. It just takes one person to take your business to the next level or break your business. One happy client is going to tell others in the community and that person will tell more people. This is why what we talked in the last article about how customer service is so important. So value word of mouth advertising because it’s a free and effective marketing strategy.
Photo Credit – www.ixactcontact.com
These days everything is online and there so many inexpensive ways to market your small business online. One great way is to start a blog. If you don’t already have a blog or have never set one up before, it has become so simple with using a format like WordPress where many of the themes are free. Setting up a blog does not take too much time and can be a fun process. You can start simple buy adding your business logo and slogan or mission statement. You can have a simple blog or go as complex as you want. Some benefits and strategies for having a blog for your business are:
It keeps your customers informed about any new products, services, or changes. It’s a way for you to get information to your customers in a clean and effective way. It is one consistent place customers can go to see what is going on with your business and is easy to share with others.
Your customers get to know what your all about. As we keep talking about, relationships are key to your business. Happy customers equals profit for your business. Let your customers get to know what you are all about.
It increases your presence on the web increasing your overall exposure. By posting high quality content your posts are likely to be shared and viewed by others. This a a great way to bring in new customers. See this example of this patient recruitment advertising agency.
If you already have a website, having a blog portion with quality content helps the search engine optimization of your site and is a way for you to increase your ranking for key words in Google and other site engines.
Allows you to be creative and come up with new ideas to better serve your customers. You can utilize your blog and a place to share news or have people to sign up for Webinars, events, conferences, etc. The opportunities are endless.
Link your blog directly with Facebook or other social media sites to increase your influence and reach. By having a blog and utilizing social media your reach will extend to new demographics and reach new clients.
Have fun! This is your business and your blog. Be creative! Share about your business and why you started it. If people feel a connection to you they will feel a connection to your business and be more likely to want to be a part of what you are doing and utilize what you have to offer.
Owning a small business is a joy at times but is a lot of hard work. At times you feel like you are doing great with clients lined up out the door and at other times you are barely surviving. People dream about owning there own business, making there own hours, coming home early, and playing golf whenever they want but they don’t always realize how much work goes into building a sustainable business. You can have great ideas, a great product or service and all the passion in the world but without consumers you make no money. In this series I am going to talk about some different marketing strategies for small businesses. The first one is customer service.
Having great customer service is where it all begins. In business school there is a lot of talk about advertising and how to promote your service or product. This is really important and we will be talking about aspects of that later, but if your customers don’t like working with you and your employees than what is the point. Businesses and organizations are comprised of people that love there jobs and people that hate there jobs. No one wants to end up on the phone with someone that hates there job. I had a job where I mentored high school students and helped them choose and apply for college. There are so many aspects that are involved in choosing a college like size, location, and majors offered but many students choose their college based off how nice and approachable their college advisor at the college tour was and the other students and professors they met because relationships is what life is about. I want to work with people I like working with and buy services and products from people I like.
So it is so important that you focus on good customer service in your business. Make sure that everyone is trained in customer service. Calls should be returned right away and the customer should always come first. How many times have you called around when you needed a service for something like a plumbing issue or a new garage door and moved onto the next business in your google search. Don’t miss out on customers over mistakes like unreturned calls. If you sell a product offer perks like free shipping and have an easy return policy. There are some stores I don’t shop at because I dislike dealing with customer service when I have a return or question. Don’t be one of those places.
In closing there are so many things to think about in marketing your service or product but, before all that you need to have excellent customer service because believe it you or not, you are not the backbone of your business,your customer is. All your ideas in the world mean nothing if your customer is not happy and satisfied with your business. If your customers are happy your business will multiple because happy customers encourage others to choose your business.
Photo Credit – www.clubtix.com