Tag Archive : small business marketing

sharkOften times the business world can mimic some of what we see in the natural world. With National Geographic’s ever-so-popular Shark Week coming to an end, we thought to connect marketers to the most powerful fish in the open sea.

1. Intuition

A shark has 6 senses. This means they are constantly aware of their surroundings. One of the best things a marketer can do is be aware of what is going on around them (both with their business and with their client base). What’s trending? What are people searching for? What part of your business is being utilized the least? Put your sensors out there and feel around in order to develop a plan of attack. The Aberdeen Group tells us that 79% of leading marketers use analytics to track how specific pieces of content preform, which, over time, allows marketers to know exactly what will work and what won’t in advance. Use your impressions page in Save Local Now to stay on top of your campaigns and see what is working best for your company!

2. Tough skin

A shark’s skin is made of something called “denticles,” meaning that the outer layer of their skin is literally made of tiny little teeth. This makes for a pretty impenetrable outer layer. One of the best things a marketer can do is be prepared for trial and error. Take the bad feedback along with the good and learn how to make changes as needed in order to keep swimming.

3. Adaptability

There are over 470 different species of shark; with each species, you will find a wide range of specialized skill that helps them survive in their environment. Businesses should also learn how to adapt and how to change their message, even sometimes their product, in order to meet the customer at their level. Maybe you had a certain idea for how you were going to brand yourself but it doesn’t seem to be working. Take a look around the market and see what other successful businesses in your industry are doing. Then come up with your own plan to blow them out of the water!

4. A mutually beneficial relationship

Sharks have a mutually beneficial relationship with fish called remoras that often swim with, or directly attach themselves, to many species of sharks. Both species benefit from this relationship as remoras get transportation and a free meal and sharks get a good cleaning! When you think of marketing, you should always try to think of it as married to sales. Your sales team needs a marketing plan that works for them, while marketing needs feedback from sales in order to grow and develop accurately.

So next time you think of how to best market your business, remember to think like a shark!

While I would love to take full credit for this article, alas, this article was inspired by this one.

The good news is that there are plenty of ways to dive into analytics as a small business owner. The hardest part is to decide where to start and how much time to spend on extrapolating data. My advice would be to start small and work your way into platforms with more advanced metrics (MailChimp). There are enough free sites out there (Facebook for one) that can help you understand your customer just a bit better. As far as time commitment goes, after you learn how to use the analytic tab in Facebook, you can check it once a week to see what trends are developing and what messages are working the best. Ah, but let’s get down to why you need to spend time, and possibly money, on all of this collected data.

1. Big box companies are kicking your butt.

Hell, baseball teams are using analytics to get better. Just ask Brad Pitt…er…Billy Beane from the Oakland A’s (Moneyball, a great movie). My point is that smart people with a ton of resources are killing it in the real world and you are quickly being left behind. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you are totally screwed. If you are lazy and hate technology, you are totally screwed. BUT – if you are an entrepreneur, and you need to get your marketing nerd on, then check out these 10 places to analyze web data. If you want to analyze a whole marketing campaign then try Save Local Now (cough, ahem, shameless plug).

2. Big data will grow by 44% over the next decade.

This report suggests that data will soar 44 times over the next decade. Cloud adoption is exploding and more and more data is available to be analyzed.

data_growth

This represents both an opportunity and a challenge.

The Intuit 2020 report and many other sources support that “those who become proficient in collecting, managing and analyzing this information will gain competitive advantage.” INTUIT 2020

Of course by definition, those that don’t will be left behind. Someone once said “knowledge is power.” It’s at our fingertips, people. Go get it!

3. You can can save yourself a ton of time (eventually).

You must give a little to get a little. It takes money to make money. Okay, you get where I am coming from. In order to harness the power of analytics, you must take time to learn how to use platforms that track data (Facebook, Google, Constant contact, Save Local Now, Hoot suite, etc.) Then you must learn how to use that data to your advantage.

An overview of HootSuite Analytics and uberVU via HootSuite.

Think of your data as a report on your virtual storefront. You can now see which device people viewed your product or service on. Email analytics will let you know what time of day it was opened, from which device it was opened, and in some cases, it can tell you where they opened it (which town they opened in or the location of the IP address …but lets not get into that). With just a few pieces of data you can begin to paint a picture of your audience and the type of interaction they are having with your digital store front.

In short, analytics allow you to

  • gain invaluable insights into your customer’s behavior;
  • examine facts rather than assumptions or guesses;
  • make educated decisions on how to improve to your website, App, Email marketing campaigns social media post, daily deals, events calendar, etc.

In the long term, this means more of the right traffic, sales and profit. And more time to enjoy your entrepreneurial success.

You’re welcome.

 

 

 

Social media can be a great way for small businesses to market themselves without a big budget. When you decide to spend time on your social media marketing efforts, there are a few things you can do to plan ahead. Bring out a calendar and take notes on these tips and you could have your whole year planned out ahead of you.

1. Set Goals

As with any plan you need to start by setting goals. Not just numbers but what you really want to get out of your social media marketing.  Do you want to generate traffic, or revenue? Do you want to create a larger following or create more interaction? These goals will ultimately decide how you lay out your plan. It’s okay to have more than one goal and they might even change over time but setting these kinds of larger goals is a great starting point.

2. Look at what other companies are doing

It’s good to think outside the box but sometimes it’s also good to see what your competition or even big brand names have done. Look at what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. See how you can emulate their types of posts.

3. Create “social media” promotions to create more followers

Creating deals on your Save Local Now account that require following your company on social media is a great way to get more followers. With smart phones it is easy for customers to walk in and show that they have done this to receive the promotion. You can also go another step and ask that they share your promotion on their own account. This works especially well with Facebook and Twitter and is easy to set up from your Save Local Now deal creator.

4. Engage

Automatic posting and clicking “like” or “favorite” aren’t good enough sometimes. If a customer decides to interact with you on social media, sometimes it’s nice to leave a comment or engage in a conversation with that customer. One of my personal favorite clothing companies Conversation Pieces has built an entire marketing strategy around interactions and it has definitely made their customer base grow!

5. Up the Ante

Maybe you have time for this and maybe you don’t but eventually you should try to post more than once a day on your social media accounts. Use your research to see what days are best for posting and maybe try to do more posting on those days at first. This can make any small business appear more friendly and create even more brand awareness.

6. Use hashtags

Hashtags might be something that a lot of people use to be funny but a lot of people use it to search for products or even services. Facebook has jumped on the hashtag game but these are more commonly used on Twitter or Instagram

7. Follow back

When a customer follows you on social media, it’s obviously more likely that they will see your posts. If you were to “follow” them as well, there is an even better chance that they will share your content. Imagine that you start following your favorite little cupcake shop on instagram, and then you see that they have started following you back. It’s exciting and you’d probably tell at least 2 friends! It might also be a good idea to follow some other companies or organizations in town. The chamber of commerce is always willing to share your business and other groups or companies might be willing to do the same.

8. Use photos

Sharing photos of you and your coworkers is definitely a great way to show your stripes. It adds a human side to your marketing. Photos could be serious, silly, creative, or show some charity your team might be doing. You can also share pictures of products or satisfied customers (with their permission) but make sure you do include yourself and your team as well.

9. Create Brand Identity

Make sure that across all your social media pages you have a similar message and similar branding. It makes it easier for customers to find you if you have the same profile picture across all platforms plus it creates awareness for your brand. Big companies like Nike and Apple know the power of using a logo at every opportunity and just because you are smaller, doesn’t mean you can’t do the same.

10. Always keep your customers in mind

Ultimately your customers experience is what you want to improve. You should keep your own goals in mind but it’s important to ask yourself what your customers might like or want to see when planning. Take a peak at your social media followers and see that they are into. You can also just create one on one conversations with your customers in person to see what kind of things they might like to see on your social platforms.

These 10 tips are a great way to get started on social media planning. You might not use all platforms but I suggest you try at least one. Get started and see how you can improve and strengthen your companies marketing plan with social media.

e-mail-marketing

Maintaining a list of valid customer e-mail addresses is an essential marketing tool for small businesses.  But if you’re starting a new business, how do you begin to gather addresses?  And as your business grows, how do you continue to grow that e-mail list with it?  Here are a few useful tips and tricks for building a quality e-mail list that will make reaching out to your customers more effective and rewarding.

  1. Events & Conferences – If you’re holding any sort of event or gathering for your business, always collect the e-mail addresses of the attendees.  These are clearly loyal customers with whom you’ll want to stay in contact.  It can be done by requiring them to enter their e-mail addresses on the RSVP form.  If there is no RSVP form, simply put a notebook out at the event and ask attendees to leave their e-mail addresses as they enter or leave.
  2. Online Giveaways/Contests – Require customers to enter an e-mail address before submitting their entry.  This is an easy way to get new addresses of those interested in what you have to offer!
  3. Divide and Conquer – If you’re feeling ambitious, dividing your e-mail list into different target       audiences can help maximize the effect of your e-mail campaigns.  Some customers may not be interested in your general e-mails, but may be interested in certain promotions and deals you have.  If you know enough about the customers to do so, divide the large group into those with specific interests.  This will increase the success of your campaigns and make it more likely for customers to open and interact with the e-mail.
  4. Social Media – Yet another reason to make your business active on social media is for the e-mail marketing tools it provides.  There are several tricks you can use on these sites to build your list:
  • Include an opt-in tab on your business’ Facebook page – Visitors to your page can easily click on this tab and enter their e-mail address to receive promotions and event postings.
  • Youtube – Include a subscribe link or URL at the end of each video, so that interested viewers can easily enter their e-mail address or be re-directed to your website.
  • Social sharing buttons – Use your current e-mail subscribers to attract new ones.  At the bottom of each e-mail campaign, make sure to include links for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (or whichever social media site you want to include), and e-mail so that receivers can forward the campaign to their friends and family.  In addition to these links, include a subscribe button, so that anyone being forwarded the e-mail can jump on your list too.

Lastly, e-mail marketing is a very successful platform for your business if you use it correctly.  Quality content is key to making the most of your business e-mails.  If you’re putting the effort into building a list of current and future customers, you should put equal effort into the e-mail campaign itself.  Well put-together content will not only get people to open your e-mails, but will get them to interact with your business and forward the message onto others.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get building!

Save Local Now’s commitment to inspire people to shop locally is near and dear to our hearts. We know how challenging it can be to try and get your community fired up about buying local. You might think you are just one business and nothing you do will have any impact, but I beg to differ. Here is a quick list of things you might want to try out this year that will really make a difference in your communities efforts to buy locally.

1. Meet your neighbors (and tell your customers about them) – From my own personal experiences with the communities I’ve lived in, as well as from the communities we work with, I’ve learned one thing. The more businesses promote their neighbors, the better and more thriving the community is as a whole. You should make friendly suggestions to your customers on other businesses they should check out. This will reassure them that you are a trustworthy business owner and not just out for your own profit, and it will also inspire people to keep checking out local businesses and keep returning to your town. Your neighboring businesses might return the favor and send people your way, and soon your whole community could become a giant web of local networking. I’ve seen this happen-there is nothing more powerful.

2. Join (or help out) local organizations – Aside from your local chamber of commerce, there are probably a multitude of other small organizations you could become involved in. Some might say they don’t have the funds or time to join all of these, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t get involved.

  • You could reach out to organizations and tell them you would like to volunteer once a year for their big event.
  • You could tell YPO’s they may host their next networking event in your business space.
  • You could offer a discount to any member of the local book club.

However you want to do it, my bet is you will see some more business coming your way by word of mouth. Local organizations are usually just that: organized, and helping them out once in a while could mean extending your marketing efforts 3 fold!

3. No brainer: Buy Locally – Make it a point to frequent other businesses not just as a business owner but as a customer. Other business owners will appreciate it and will often return the favor. Use local suppliers, local farmers, and local services for all of your businesses needs as well as that of your personal life. It will show the rest of your community that you are standing behind them, so they can in turn, stand behind you!

4. Take local global – Register your community in national, or even world wide competitions or write into travel magazines to tell them about why they should check out your town. Sometimes there is only so much you can do locally and you need to let the rest of the world know why THEY should come to your town. Highlight the things that make your town unique and don’t underestimate how weird quirks can attract attention. I promise you there are people out there looking for just the kind of beautiful little town that is your community.

5. Create $LN awareness – In order for Save Local Now to have it’s affect on your community, you need to get people using it! I know I say this a lot but the bottom line is, being a free service to both consumers and businesses, we aren’t the ones who will benefit from people using $LN, YOU will. So tell your friends, family, community, organizations, newspapers, and schools. Tell them to try Save Local Now and stay up to date with everything local.