Consumers want to feel good about where they’re shopping.
Big-box stores are hardly in danger of extinction, but consumers are increasingly conscious of the types of businesses they patronize. They want to know about where the products come from and who produces them, plus the company’s mission and its charitable partnerships. The “shop small” trend, popularized in part by campaigns like American Express’ Small Business Saturday, can be a boon for your business. Focus your marketing efforts on showing what your business is all about and what sets you apart from your big corporate competitors, like personalized service or items from local artisans.
Social media engagement trumps popularity.
Having tons of fans and followers on social media sounds great, but what does it really mean? If likes aren’t translating into dollars spent, it doesn’t mean much. That’s why engagement gives you a more accurate sense of your popularity and reach. Pay attention to your social media posts: What gets the most traction? Do you notice any trends? Figure out what your online audience loves and cultivate that. Having an engaged niche audience is better than having a bunch of casual, disinterested followers. While you’re at it, rethink the social media platforms you’re on. Instead of spreading yourself (and your message) thin by posting everywhere, consider focusing your efforts on a few platforms where you have the most engagement.
Email quality is more important than quantity.
Getting your customers’ attention over email is more challenging than ever, especially with some Gmail users who relegate any marketing messages to their Promotions tab. The solution is not to overwhelm your subscribers with a barrage of email. Instead, be thoughtful about your messaging, and make it worthwhile for customers to open your email. Send special offers to select groups of your subscribers, plus email-only deals that you’re not also listing on social media or your website. If they know that they’re getting something special, shoppers are more likely to open your email — and less likely to unsubscribe.
Online storytelling is gaining popularity.
Along with understanding the supply chain and manufacturing process, customers are also interested in the story behind their favorite products and services. That’s where online storytelling comes in, which can include photos, videos, and other personal accounts. Try making a video of how one of your best-selling products is made, or post a photo timeline of how an item comes together, from the drawing board to the shelf. When customers understand the work that goes into what they’re buying, they’ll better understand the value (and price).
Personalization beats mass-market efforts.
Companies are moving away from a global focus to smaller, regional concentrations. This is something where small businesses have an advantage, because you’re already attuned to the needs and interests of your customers and community. Look at information like your sales data (who’s buying what and when), social media (what types of posts are prompting the most engagement), and email newsletter open rates (what’s getting customers’ attention) to get the full picture of your audience. Use this information to tailor more personalized messaging to shoppers.
Transparency is key.
As consumers become more discerning about where they spend their money, they’re increasingly interested in learning more about the entire supply chain. Companies like the online fashion retailer Everlane are promoting “radical transparency” in their supply and manufacturing process. Small businesses have a built-in advantage when it comes to transparency, because when you’re not a huge corporate entity, your processes and organizational structure should by definition be a lot more simple and straightforward. If you’re proud of where you source your products and how your manufacturing process works, share that with your customers.
Social Media Strategies
The better you coordinate names, content and strategy on all three platforms, the more marketing leverage you will have.
First, decide on what name you will use on all three platforms. This makes you easy to find.
Be sure to put large social media icons on each page of our website, at the bottom of each blog post and on your emails. The idea is to get readers to like, tweet and repost your content.
According to Kissmetrics, there are more than 110 million Facebook users in the U.S. The average user has 130 friends. He refers products and passes on fun videos and posts to these people on a daily basis. If you’re not on Facebook, you are losing out in a major way.
Facebook is an effective B2C platform for small business. It is easy to share unique content like posts, photos and videos with a link. Consumers of all ages, from teens to grandparents are Facebook friendly.
Start by claiming your vanity username, which makes it easier for followers to find you. Put up your fan page. Then you can start posting.
Post advice about using your product. Add customer testimonials. Re-post interesting news articles from other sources, with a short comment as to why you think it of interest to your followers.
According to DexMedia, the Yellow Page people, videos encourage sharing. You can find a funny one that is relevant on YouTube or even make a short one yourself.
Ask questions about what your customers would like to see in a new product. Ask for feedback about services, products and customer service.
Twitter is effective as both a B2B and a B2C platform and a great way to share content. According to Social Media Examiner, by getting active on this platform, you can reach a much larger audience and generate leads. Entetaining and useful posts stand a very good chance of being tweeted and retweeted, extending your reach in the process.
After opening an account on Twitter, upload an avatar and you’re ready to start. You can hire a designer inexpensively on Fiverr to make a simple background that matches your other social media graphics.
Twitter works well for a wide range of posts. What sets these apart is the fact that you are limited to 140 characters. With experience, you’ll develop skill with the concise art of a tweet.
Good posts are discounts or promo codes just for your followers. Conduct contests to keep people interests. For example, tweet trivia questions. The first person to answer correctly gets a prize.
Get up to speed on how to include graphics, photos and videos in your tweets. This will keep interest high.
Use Twitter as a way for your customers to keep in touch with your customer service department. Tweet information of interest to influencers in your industry. This is a good way to network.
Consistency with tweets is essential on Twitter. It may take months to get a substantial following, but it will grow if you keep it short and engaging.
Google+ is part of the behemoth Google family of digital services and can’t be ignored. An active presence on this platform can help your small business expand its visibility on the Google search engine results page. The platform is effective for both B2B and B2C marketing.
To start, simply sign up for an account. Use visuals like videos, photos and colorful graphics on your page. Make sure your page is coordinated in looks with your other social media and with your website. Completely fill out your Google+ business page. Don’t skip any area. The more info you provide, the more solid your company will appear to viewers.
With this in hand, start sharing content. After sharing a post on your page, post it to your communities using your personal profile. Business News Daily points out that when you share a link, it is important to add a personal comment too.
Make your posts easy to read by using bold, italic, underline and bullets. Add images and hashtags. Post business news about your company and information about new products and services. Add posts from around the web that contain useful, entertaining information for your followers. Ask for reviews for your business from readers.