Despite your size, industry, or number of years in business, your company’s viability rests upon your ability to keep your brand top of mind with existing customers while drawing in new ones.
Here are four simple marketing tactics you’re not using — but should be.
1. Give your customers a reason to spread the word. Leveraging satisfied customers’ favorable opinions of your business can be one of the most impactful and cost-effective marketing tools at your disposal. According to Extole’s Ultimate Guide to Referral Marketing Programs [PDF], 92 percent of customers trust the recommendations of their friends when making purchase decisions, and 80 percent of all purchases (both consumer and B2B) involve word-of-mouth recommendations in some way. Offer customers an incentive to sing your praises, such as a referral program that gives them a discount or a free item for sending business your way. Remind them of this opportunity via social media, through email marketing, and at the point of sale.
2. Build relationships with email campaigns. Some 88 percent of smartphone users check their email via a mobile device each day, according to a study by eConsultancy.com. This makes email a low-cost way for small businesses to target customers with timely offers — and glean insight into which messages get opened and read. If you don’t have a robust email database, it’s easy to build one into the customer experience by offering discounts or “premium” content like e-books in exchange for a customer email address (or by simply asking for contact information during the checkout process).
3. Submit your business to online maps. Submit your street address to Google Places for Business, Yahoo Local Listings, Yelp, and any other directories that customers may consult when looking for the types of products or services you sell. These listings not only provide a place for customers to share their experiences with your business, but also can help to boost your company’s page rank in online search engines. According to Yelp, small-business owners who claimed their free listings saw an $8,000 boost in annual revenue; those who advertised boosted annual sales by $23,000.
4. Be habitual about posting content. Content marketing with blog posts, videos, and social media interactions can boost your online relevance, start a conversation with customers and prospects, and position you as an industry authority. However, you must commit to a strategy in order to see real results. If you haven’t developed a publishing schedule around what you’ll say, to whom you’ll say it, and why — that should be the first step in your plan. Once you’ve published a few posts, use Google Analytics to see what content is most popular, which referring pages send people to your website, and which posts cause them to leave it. Use Google’s keyword tool to see the search terms and phrases people use to find sites like yours and integrate them into your posts. This will increase your odds of attracting more visitors and, ideally, turning them into paying customers.