Life isn’t easy and neither is online marketing. Effective, quality marketing usually requires a clear strategy and some hard work.
Before the rise of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, relying on customers to promote your business by word of mouth was unpredictable and didn’t yield the results that you were hoping for. Today, a single mention in a social media post by a person with a large following, friend-list or fan base can yield dramatic results. In previous years, building a fanbase for your company needed media investment from your marketing team, who invested in media such as radio, TV, billboard or print advertisements.
In today’s day and age, you should leverage social media to your advantage. This will appeal to potential millennial customers who have cash to burn but were previously unaware of your business.
You will have to come up with efficient ways to encourage your customers to promote your business and boost your branding to encourage online reviews. Note that the word used is ‘encourage’. Be sure not to force or coerce your customers. Make sure that you have a strong social media presence where posts can be reblogged or ‘shared’. You should also try and design a website and product packaging that are as on-trend as possible, and would look great on instagram, Facebook or blogs. All this requires is a little research into the marketing strategies of similar businesses that optimise this technique..
Here are some other steps you can take to make your customers do your marketing for you.
1. Prioritise Brand Authenticity
To gain the following you want from your target market, differentiate your brand from the rest of the competition. It makes it easy for potential customers to align themselves with your brand, resulting in ongoing investment in your brand..
As a small business, owners must focus on establishing trust and loyalty within your fan base. Prioritizing brand authenticity is the first step towards making ambassadors out of your customers. Subtly highlight your ‘points of difference’ and unique brand identity when compared to similar businesses..
2. Draft A Team Of Influencers
After you have gained the trust and loyalty of your audience, you now have yourself a fan base that will hopefully include a handful of social media influencers. As you probably know, influencers have large fan bases that follow their pages and view their content on a regular product. So when an influencer feautures or tags your product in a piucture or post, or writes a positive review, their customers will want to purchase it to align themselves with the influencer’s lifestyle.
Influencers are content-generators that drive positive word for your branding. Again, as I mentioned, this will only happen if you have a consistent brand image, reliably deliver great quality services and products, and have an appealing website and product aesthetic.
3. Encourage Customer Testimonials
For a small business to thrive online, encouraging online reviews from your customers is a great way to drive up traffic to your website and draw in new customers.
Create a customer testimonial section on your webpage and feature quotes from your most loyal customers. You will also achieve customer retention while also establishing a trustworthy image and credibility in the industry you wanted your business to achieve. Additionally, consider setting up accounts on external review sites such as Yelp, Feefo and more. If you receive a negative review, be sure to post a calm and apologetic response that addresses the problem. This can transform a bad situation into an opportunity to make your business look authentic and proactive and will show that your business takes customer satisfaction seriously.
4. Keep Selling After The Deal
Doing business with your customers does not end after sealing a deal. Keep selling your product or service offered by sending them a follow-up message through email. Educate them on why doing business with you is a smart and budget-friendly choice.
Additionally, it achieves the goal of giving them the right information about your brand, which can be useful when they tell others why they should be associated with your small business.
5. Reward Your Customers
To retain loyal customers, be sure to reward them with discounts, small gifts or special offers. You can also use this strategy to lure in new customers, such as by offering a first-purchase discount.
If you are a small business, call your VIP customers to convey your gratitude. That will go miles further for you, as calling customers personally is rarely done anymore and will make your business stand out in a crowded marketplace.Recognition is a big thing for customers. Always remember that.
6. Spread Positivity By Launching A Competition
Creating a positive attitude amongst your customers and fans that reflects your company’s culture is a must .
Organising fun competitions with great rewards spreads the word about your brand, driving traffic towards your business. Everybody knows how involved customers become over a competition by their favourite brand. You can make tagging friends in social media posts about the competition a condition of entry. Every customer wants a freebie from their favourite brand. Because competitions that involve tagging a friend yield such high returns on investment (ROI), you can afford to offer a bigger prize, making your customers even more likely to share the competition with friends and family.
7. Make It All About Them
You need to build a community where the customer is listened to and their input is actively implemented into your business.
Small businesses actually have an advantage here, because they can focus their marketing efforts more specifically towards their customers, react quicker, and make their products and services more appropriate for their customer’s needs Demonstrate that your business offers a human touch.
Encourage customer participation with your brand by encouraging them to share photos of them enjoying your product or service, or tagging your company in social media posts.
You can even dedicate a whole page to your website displaying these photos and stories. Again, this will create a personale feel and make your customers feel as if they are part of an exclusive and caring community.
Potential customers will see how attentive you are to your customers and your needs – a point of difference that will set you apart from the competition and convert them into new customers.
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