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One of the most common human traits is to analyze a problem and want to determine why it is happening. Many times, in doing so, we end up finding a reason something adverse might be happening, and are able to justify it in our minds as out of our control and the fault of some extenuating third party reason. This is understandable. After all, who wants to be at fault for something? The simple thought is nobody.
The truth of the matter though is that it is not the market’s fault, the season, or even construction going on in the downtown area around your business. These things could be contributing factors, but it will rarely be 100% the any of these things that are the reasons behind why your business is not growing.
In all the year’s we’ve been handling marketing programs for business owners, there are a few issues that tend to consistently pop up and need to be dealt with. With that in mind, today I wanted to share with you the top two.
You don’t have a marketing plan
This one should sound like an obvious thing you HAVE TO do in order to run your business. I cannot tell you though how many business owners not only have no plan, but really don’t even have it on their “to do list” to get documented and running. Not having a marketing plan is just like not having a daily routine you follow to conduct business. It makes things impossible. Most likely you get busy and thinking about other things, your marketing plan becomes forgotten and suddenly your brand is suffering because consumers aren’t thinking of you when they are thinking about needing a product or service that you offer.
The most successful businesses we represent are always paying attention to, honing and refining their marketing plans. The bulk of the work we do on marketing planning with them generally takes place in November and December. That way, they are already locked, loaded and ready to roll by the time the new year rolls around.
Setting up and executing a marketing plan does take some skill and a bunch of elbow grease. If you aren’t doing it because you are stretched too thin, that is not an excuse. There are tons of firms out there (ours included) that can help you with this task.
You aren’t keeping in touch with your best customers
Remembering your best customers and keeping in touch with them, educating them about what is going on at your business, and keeping you in their top of mind awareness doesn’t have to be a taxing or expensive task. Not following up with them though and finding out they they forgot about you and now frequent the competing business across town can be an incredibly costly lesson to learn. Don’t be that person.
Just as you would set up a marketing plan for your consumers in your marketplace at large, you need to set up a marketing plan for your best customers that is specifically tailored to their needs and the relationship you have with them. For instance, they already are regularly buying your products and services. So for this reason, the content of these messages will be much different than the more general, broad marketing you are deploying to your marketplace at large. We generally suggest that this marketing be more brand experience oriented.
For instance, if you are a restaurant that is doing a tap takeover microbrew event, maybe use that as an excuse to set up a Facebook Messenger broadcast campaign to get in touch with your best customers. You’ll not only alert them of what is going on, but you can also offer them perhaps a special tasting flight offer only available to your best customers. This will for sure keep them engaged, happy, and intimately aware with what is going on in your business.
Lastly, remember that every once in a while it is okay to ask for referrals. These customers love you and what your company does for them. The truth is 98% of your customer base will actively seek out to recommend you to their friends and family. The trick though is the ONLY way they will do this, is if you actually ask for the referral. Otherwise, you are basically 100% guaranteed they aren’t going to do this. Why you ask? It’s simple. Most customers don’t now that business depend on and love to get referrals from existing customers.
My favorite way to do this for our clients is to use our email platform and tie in unique capture codes to each email. This way, our client’s best customers can forward the offer email to their friends and family. The friends and family get that great discount. That’s not all though. Because of the unique capture codes, you’ll know exactly which customer referred them, allowing you to double back and do something nice for that customer’s effort of referring someone to you. Clean, easy, and everyone walks away happy.