Long-term customers make a difference. A big difference. There's no way around the fact that investing in your faithful customers pays off. However, getting more traffic in the door (virtual or bricks and mortar) can't take a back seat. Small business owners agree—a recent Manta survey found 50 percent rank 'acquiring new customers' as their top business resolution for 2015. But how can you actually do it?
1: Don't underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Treating loyal customers well gives them the ammunition they need to rave in 140 characters to friends and followers about why they love you.
2: Draw customers to you. You know who your ideal customer is (or you should), so use that knowledge to develop targeted content (e.g., blog and website messaging) that answers questions and serves up what they need. (This is known as inbound marketing.) As you get to know customers better, make tweaks and personalize messages.
3: Bring your products or services to your customer. There can be value in traditional outbound marketing (e.g., print advertising), but it's not for every business. Consider costs, short-term verses long-term return, and how you might combine tactics with inbound efforts for increased success.
4: Lead generation shouldn't be intimidating. You're already doing it. The name of the game is optimization. Track all marketing initiatives, figure out what's working and improve.
Keep in mind that attracting customers is only half the battle. Add elements (such as access to a report, whitepaper or a special offer in return for an email address) on your website that empower relationship building, and conversion from visitor to customer, and eventually, to promoter! (Manta.com)
Social media experts often kick around the numbers 80/20 when they talk about the perfect ratio of social media content. It's all about cause and effect, and relates to an economic theory that says 20 percent of the input creates 80 percent of the result. So what does this cause and effect mean for your social campaign?
The 80/20 rule is two-fold—it begins with talking about your business 20 percent of the time—with meaningful communication that specifically promotes your business, products or services. But beware, going overboard with self-promotion can sink your social media credibility. Stay afloat and engage followers by talking about things otherthan business 80 percent of the time.
Tips for the 80 percent:
While it may be trendy, co-working is not just a trend—it’s here to stay. If you currently run your business out of a home office, you know the pros and cons of working independently. Co-working offers not only social and professional engagement, but as this niche market expands and spaces become more specialized, it also provides opportunities for sharing equipment, technology and other nice-to-haves that many small business owners otherwise couldn’t afford.
Is it for you? Ask yourself a few questions:
Many of us hate networking. You may still be reading this only because the headline is a lie. Networking isn't really a four letter word. But 'tool' is—and thinking of networking as a tool can help you be more successful at it.
Just because you'd rather clean the office restroom with a toothbrush than go to a networking event doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, and it doesn't mean your networking has to be formal. After all, networking is about creating reciprocal, beneficial relationships that can result in new customers, new partnerships and new knowledge.
We're talking face-to-face networking here, and that means leaving someone else in charge and getting out of the office, or the store or the car. And do what? Here are a few ideas:
Some things never change. Case in point: word-of-mouth marketing. There's little question that consumers are more likely to trust a friend's recommendation than something coming directly from a company or any kind of advertising. This kind of influence is difficult—if not impossible—to purchase, but it doesn't have to only come by accident.
There's often a misconception that it only counts if 'a lot' of people say good things. And in an age of data this and data that, numbers rule … especially big numbers. But bigger isn't always better. Take social media, for example—a wonderland for savvy word-of-mouth marketers. Don't get us wrong, thousands of fans, retweets or likes can have impact, but quantity shouldn't always win out over quality. A small number of loyal and engaged online fans can produce an attractive return.
Word-of-mouth is generally free and seems simple, but many business owners have a hard time creating a structured plan. The first steps?
If I can help a business owner create the brand they're looking for, my job is done.