6 Creative Ways to Market Your Small Business
Are you a small business with big marketing ideas? Budget can limit the executing of these ideas. However, not every successful strategy requires a lot of money. Here are six inexpensive, effective and creative ways to market your small business.
1. Get personal.
Customers love the opportunity to make something their own. Take the “Share a Coke with” campaign by Coca-cola. If there’s a way for you to allow customer customization, give it a try and see how your audience responds.
- Promote customer engagement.
We live in a “tweet it, post it” world so, whatever you can do to make your small business more shareable is good for marketing. Create an opportunity for photo ops and increase your social reach without spending a kobo. Add a prize as an incentive to get people to use your hashtag or tag your business in their posts.3. Say thanks.
How often do you let your customers know that you appreciate them? You’d be surprised the power a simple “thank you” can have on creating customer loyalty. How about hosting a special event where guests can sample new menu items, or showcase the season’s new arrivals with a fashion show? Any event that builds excitement and celebrates the customers will do the job.
4. Develop a loyalty program.
If you’re losing customers, you need to establish a way to cultivate repeat business. Your loyalty program can be as basic as a punch card or as elaborate as a membership that rewards customers based on how often they visit or even how much they spend.
5. Utilize LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is one of the most frequently skipped social media networks for small businesses. While not the most exciting platform, it does provide unique opportunities for marketing your business. You can connect with people in your community by creating a group and reaching out to other small business owners and potential customers in your area without spending a dime.
6. Do a Customer Survey.
If you’re not sure what types of marketing or promotions your customers will respond to best, ask them. A simple survey can provide endless insight into what you’re doing right and wrong, and what you’re not doing that you should be. Include a raffle-like component, where one participant will win a prize to encourage your audience to take part.
10 Hot WordPress Plugins for Business Websites
Having the right set of tools can help you take your business to the next level. Below are the hot WordPress plugins for business websites.
- OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers. If you want to grow your email list, then this is a must have WordPress plugin in 2017.
- As a business owner, allowing your customers to contact you should be your top priority. WPForms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. This drag & drop online form builder allows you to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms, and other type of online forms with just a few clicks.We use it on WPBeginner and all of our other sites. There’s a free WPForms Lite version available for those who are looking for a simple solution. If you want more advanced features, then get the Pro version.
- MonsterInsights is the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It allows you to connect your website with Google Analytics, so you can learn more about your website visitors such as where are they coming from and what are they doing on your website. You can then optimize your site accordingly to improve your earnings.
- Constant Contact is one of the best email marketing service providers. It allows you to build an email lists and send emails to your subscribers. It is by far the most beginner friendly platform, with quick and easy setup. It comes with built-in tools to add signup forms and also works well with lead generation software like OptinMonster.
- Sucuri’s web application firewall is probably one of the best protection you can get for your site. They monitor and protect your site from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and basically every other type of attack. If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then add one today.
- Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It allows you to optimize your WordPress site for search engines. It not only helps you add meta tags, it optimizes your site as a whole.
- Speed is one of the most important SEO factors. Faster websites rank higher in Google, this means more visitors for your business website and more conversions. W3 Total Cache allows you to serve compressed and cached files to your visitors. This reduces the load on your server and your website becomes faster.
- Testimonials allow you to showcase your past clients and their feedback about your services of products. People love to hear what others have to say about your business. It helps you gain trust and build lasting relationships with your clients. Testimonials Widgets makes it super simple to add customer testimonials on your WordPress site.
- If you need a solution for your business website where your users can book and pay for appointments, then BirchPress is the solution for you. It allows you to easily add a complete online booking system to your WordPress site.
- When launching a new product or website, you may need to add a FAQs section in WordPress. You can add a new page with all the frequently asked questions (FAQs), but in most cases FAQs grows as your product evolves and as your customer base grows. By adding the FAQ section, you can significantly reduce your support overhead and improve conversion.
Improving Customer Satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is the measurement of how happy your customers are. Improving customer satisfaction will help you increase revenue, reduce churn, boost customer lifespan and create more advocates. According to new report from CFI Group, customer satisfaction levels have experienced a slight decline over the past year. Data compiled from consumers across various sectors reflects a customer satisfaction score of 68 (out of 100), a four-point decline from the previous year.
This year’s reading is the lowest score since the report was first issued and it represents the uphill climb many companies face in satisfying increasingly demanding consumers. As it is Customer Service week here in Nigeria, I will be bringing you some tips to improve your customers’ satisfaction with your brand
- Our golden rule: never say no to a customer. If a customer service rep can’t deliver a solution for the customer, they escalate this to their team lead, so strategically we can resolve the root cause.
- Be positive… Let them see your smile even through the phone. A positive experience and a customer care representative that leaves a positive experience will go a long way. Customers can hear in your voice that you are smiling – it’s hard for a lot of people to be angry when the person on the other end of the phone is happy.
- Listen to those that are dissatisfied and act on their advice when it rings true. Find out as much detail as possible. Maybe the problem started on Twitter and has now taken an email and 2 phone calls. How can you improve overall, not just the end problem?
- Put the customer at the heart of your decisions and take a balanced approach. Be focused on problem solving, not on the process.
- Be precise and clear in your Terms & Conditions and customer communication, so you control the expectations you create. Keep your promises.
- If management is mostly about the processes, schedules and targets, leadership is mostly about behaviour. So, train team leaders, not team managers. Facilitate leadership sessions to train your team leaders to understand leadership styles, behaviours, decisions and reputation. This is key to them becoming successful and respected leaders. Good team leaders support their teams to perform and develop and thus get the best results possible from their team members.
Treat your customers like they are your boss. With no customers, there’s nobody to pay you! By taking this approach to every customer interaction you can naturally flip the angle on customer service.
- Did you know that 91% of your unhappy customers will never purchase services from you again? Measuring customer satisfaction can help you reduce the number of unhappy customers.
- No business is immune to unhappy customers. In fact, even companies with the best customer service in the world will still lose up to 9% of their customers to competitors. The good news is you can do something to stop customers defecting. Here are three common customer retention mistakes that are killing your customer satisfaction:
- You are ignoring customer feedback
- You are taking customer feedback to personally
- You are using long, boring customer feedback surveys
- Make Employee Satisfaction a Priority. Simply put, when your employees are happy, they can provide better customer service. Studies have proven that employees often perform better at the jobs when they feel appreciated.
While there’s no one solution for improving customer satisfaction levels, the key is to develop a customer-centric mindset that will help inform decisions and company direction.
What Artificial Intelligence (AI) could mean for your business
Originally the term Artificial Intelligence was created in the 1950s based on the possibility that machines could act like humans to perform general tasks without the need of a human. Simply put though, AI is a subfield of computer science. It is an aspect of technological progress, aimed at benefitting us in terms of making our tech more efficient. All of the tech giants are investing heavily in AI with Facebook revealing their plan to go all in into AI, AR, and VR at the annual F8 conference.
Forrester predicts that there will be more than a 300% increase towards investments in AI amongst all businesses in 2017. In 2016 there was almost $1.5 billion invested in just the first half of the year. AI will offer capabilities like predictive analytics, thereby reshaping your decision-making process and ultimately improving the way you and your brand work. As a business owner, you need to start thinking now how your organization can benefit from using it.
Artificial Intelligence brings technologies and processes together to make machines work smarter and to have the ability to discover insights, suggest predictions, and strategize recommendations.
AI is also not just about making your business run easier, but better. AI reflects the process of human self-improvement and operates based on acquiring knowledge over time. This means that AI is always learning from the data received to produce more refined outcomes. This means AI increases efficiency and productivity when delivering the products and/or services of your business and in the end finding ways in which to completely discard basic tasks.
Plus, not only does AI increase efficiency but it reduces the chances of critical mistakes to be made. By detecting unusual patterns like payment fraud or spam filtering, AI can notify businesses about suspicious activities.
As a marketer, it can be time-consuming to plan blog post topics, discover keywords, personalize and automate content, schedule social shares, test landing pages, and review analytics. If a machine was able to accurately create those tasks it would free up the marketer to enhance the recommendations. It would help us marketers, to optimize the content to ensure what we’re creating is actually relevant based on their behaviour.
More so, while advanced machines may replace low- skill jobs, AI technology lacks a key component which is intuition. This is where AI technology and humans work off of each other’s strengths to be able to work harmoniously to solve problems. Because of AI, there’s an increase in workplace productivity and efficiency.
AI will continue to be a hot topic for everyone. Staying ahead of its development is highly recommended for anyone wanting to benefit their business.
WHY YOU NEED GOOD WEB DEVELOPMENT
As a business owner, it is imperative to have an excellent and functional website. It is perhaps, one of the best assets you can have to boost sales and stay ahead of the competition. Good web development has become a must have for almost all business owners and online marketers to gain sustainability. While having a website is important, spending too much on a website design and development that isn’t easy to access or navigate is like fetching water in a basket because with your website as the heart of your online existence, your visitors will lose interest if it isn’t accessible and easy to use and subsequently, your sales can decrease. We’ve brought you some of the reasons you need good web development.
Your website is like a shop display window. Keep it clean and always open. It should be built in such a way that Google and other search engines can drive traffic your way. Also, having a website that works on all devices makes it easier and convenient for visitors and potential customers to access your website on their computers, phones and tablets. This saves you money and effort as you no longer need to provide an exclusive mobile website.
Having a good website development helps you cut cost as one single site fulfills your needs and eliminates putting your site on multiple versions. Isn’t that just dandy?
A creative, user-friendly and fast loading website is more attractive to website visitors and customers than an overburdened, graphics loaded site. People are busy and not very patient with a slow web page. They lose interest quickly. This is why you need good web development. If your web page is responsive and user-friendly, it will boost your traffic and eventually generate more sales.
I must not forget to add this: there is a cost associated with having a good website, how? It simply means getting reliable and efficient hand create and manage your website. I often hear people lament on the poor state of their websites, and how unreliable it is becoming, and it is saddening to know some people place their websites and business in jeopardy because they are only concerned about cheap services with poor quality. There are many affordable website that could be develop, but you need make sure you find yourself an efficient and reliable handler.
There you have it. Having a good web development makes you accessible, boosts your website traffic and eventually, have you grinning to the bank.