Every Small Business Marketing Plan Requires Focus In 4 Key Areas
Getting a business started and making it grow is the dream of many business owners. It is hard work to get it started, but many business owners have found that even with more hard work they have not been able to grow according to their plan. So how do you help your business to actually grow? These four focus areas will help develop any small business marketing plan:
- Increasing your foot traffic.
- Securing repeat business.
- Faster velocity.
- Increasing the average ticket amount.
If you have reviewed or purchased books on “how to do marketing” in order to find ways to better market yourself into business growth, you may be crossed-eyed by now with far too much information. There are many, many marketing techniques out there that have been tried; some with success, but many don’t work for most businesses. This is because virtually every business is in some way unique within their local market. Unless you are a big box retailer or have dedicated marketing staff focused on the problem, the time, money, and effort it takes to do marketing is usually far beyond the millions of small businesses.
So what do you do to better market your business?
It starts by focusing more on solving the real problems rather than following a set of techniques. Going through steps or running a program is great to help make you feel like you are doing something, but what really matters is to focus on solving the real problems, with focus and creativity that best fits your business.
These are 4 areas to focus upon to help grow your small business with the right marketing:
Increasing your foot traffic.
The point is that the more customers that walk into your business the more business you will do. Furthermore, the more specialty type of business that you have more likely the customer will buy once he or she physically walks through your door. Every business may have a different way to increase foot traffic so you will need to come up with a set of ways that work best for you. Of course you must make sure that your store is inviting, attractive, clean, and organized; these are the basics.
However, when it comes to marketing activities you need to be creative to include a hook for the customer to visit you. For example, instead of just sending a mailing with a sales or promotion offer, find ways to include on the promotion and incentive for the customer to actually visit your business, such as to come and collect their free whatever.
Or in another example, make your website available to buy your products or services, but have the customer come and pick it up in the store. Once they come to your business to collect their purchase, they just might buy more by walking in, just because it is easy and convenient. You can come up with other ways to increase foot traffic, but the point is; stay focused on it, because it will help your business grow.
Securing repeat business.
Studies show that it is many, many times harder to get your first customer than to sell to an existing customer. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try and continue to get new customers – you must! – but there is another business around selling more or additional products to the customers that have already done business with you. Now the point here is not to just sit around and wait for them to come back.
The idea is to market to them after they have done business with you to get them to come back. Obviously, this means getting their contact information, and perhaps the first time when they come in you can capture this information from them.
Think of various incentives that you may offer in order for them to give you their contact info. For example, give them a discount, if they “friend” you are Instagram or Facebook, or provide their email address. Some small businesses use a “Starbuck’s” type of app thereby offering a cash-back rewards program as incentive – ask your payment processor if they have one available. Actions like these gives you access to communicate (i.e., market) to existing customers regularly, so that you can message them or put up a post with an incentive offer to get them back.
Faster velocity for customer queues.
What faster velocity means is to simply be capable of servicing or selling to more customers in a short time period. For retailers, you cannot always speed up the customer shopping time – that’s their time – but you might consider ways that make it easier for customers to find what they need. You also could make it easier for them to pay, reducing or eliminating any wait time at the register once they’ve finished their shopping. These types of techniques create positive customer experiences while benefiting your business to handle more customers.
If you are in the food services business, you also can focus on faster velocity. Find ways to turn tables quicker without, of course, diminishing the customer experience. It may mean fewer tables per server. You may hire bussers to help the wait staff cleanup and prepare tables for the next customers. Think about what could be done in the kitchen to prepare meals faster. Here’s an idea. Pair items with most meals like vegetables or salads that can reduce extra work in the kitchen. Minutes matter in this game and shaving them while keeping up customer goodwill is a balancing act.
Increasing the average ticket amount.
Many of us know when we are getting the age-old up-sell. People don’t like to get sold, but we sure do like to buy. The art of the up-sell requires subtle and repeatable technique. You’ll want to avoid a sour experience for you customers by pushing too hard. However, the idea is right in the sense that you have the customer there with you. Why not give an offer, or present a complementary product that makes sense to the buyer. Or, maybe bundle two or more products together with a reduced price. Ideas like these help increase your sales average ticket price; while also helping the customer with what they really need, as long as it contributes to a better customer experience.
By focusing on these four areas you inevitably unlock the hidden potential in your business to generate revenue. You’re ultimately focused on the customer, and that alone is a huge accomplishment for any small business or most marketing plans for that matter.