What's your plan for marketing your small business in 2022?
The new year has started and if you resolved to do more to market your small business in 2022, here are some ideas to get you started. 1 - Share relevant content with your target audience.
31.8% of companies with a content strategy achieve 27.1% higher win rates than those without a content strategy per CSO Insights. Sharing relevant content frequently with your customers and prospects should be a cornerstone of your small business marketing efforts. How should you do this? Create a weekly blog, develop graphics for social media, send emails, write whitepapers, etc.
It's important to share content that is relevant to your target audience. Not sure where to start? Begin by writing about what you know would be valuable to your customers or prospects. Key is not to focus on selling your products or services, but rather sharing information that would be of interest to them. For example, if you sell outdoor equipment, share the best places to fish or hike, rate the latest equipment, review how to be prepared in case of emergency, etc.
2 - Connect with your customers via live chat.
Nextdoor recently shared interfacing one-on-one with your existing customers is nothing new for business, but with online chat options and machine learning, you can talk, answer questions, and solve problems instantly. Live chat services make it easier for customers to find the solutions they need while feeling like personalized content.
There are plenty of out-of-the-box services to fulfill all of your online chat needs, so it’s feasible for a business of any size to start using the marketing strategy of live chats without costly investments. Some of the major uses for online chat services include:
Instant response – There’s no hold music, and no waiting for a message in your inbox—live chat is all about quick answers to a mobile device that answers your customers’ questions.
Direct messaging – Build your brand’s voice by implementing specific personalized content and messaging points directly into your live chat. Design a script that hits all of your business value propositions and effectively shows your customers why you stand out from the competition in customer experience.
Increase sales - A recent survey showed that 77% of online shoppers want to talk to a real person before making a purchase. As a marketer, give your existing customers what they want with a direct line to a sales representative. By meeting the needs of consumers, your live chat service has the potential to offer a serious return on investment.
Need more proof that conversational marketing through live chat can help your business pave the way for success in 2022? A digital marketing specialist recently conducted a study on a real estate partner’s live chat feature. In fact, they tinkered with the marketing automation feature to allow bots to chat with customers and help them find the answers they were looking for. The results? The engagement through the bot booked three condominium tours that led to sales in just ten days.
Show that your company means business when it comes to customer experience and service with an online chat service. Customers are frequently looking for a reason to support small businesses and quickly giving them the answers to their questions is another reason.
3 - Leverage social media.
Marketing your small business on social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach customers and prospects. In fact, Hubspot said it well, "If you’re not taking advantage of social within your digital marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a fast, inexpensive, and effective way to reach almost half the world’s population."
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great platforms to build brand awareness and connect with your customers locally. Share your blog and graphics with content relevant to your target audience. For example, if you offer photography services, share with permission your clients' photos or videos. You can also share information about different venues, how to prepare for a shoot, how to find the right photographer for you, etc.
4 - Seek out customer reviews.
There's a proverb that states, "Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips." Why? Because it's always better to have someone else say how great your products or services are. Positive online reviews help build trust. Many consumers look to reviews before interacting with a company, trusting the first-hand experience and unbiased views of previous customers. No matter what your small business does, you can benefit from using reviews in your marketing materials and prioritizing the positive word-of-mouth recommendations generated by your offerings.
NextDoor shared three ways to bring reviews into your marketing materials through the following processes:
Request reviews – While some customers may be happy to share their opinions without being prompted, others might not think to share their experiences. Create a review prompt to send to customers after their purchases and consider developing an open-ended survey for those interested in sharing more details about their experience.
Use testimonials – With a plethora of customer reviews, pick and choose the best ones to implement in your marketing materials. You can place testimonials front and center on your website, or use them in a variety of social media posts to let the world know what everyone thinks of your business.
Respond to your reviews – Reviews can be a two-way street. Customers often offer questions, concerns, or critiques about your business, so don’t let their messages go unanswered. Respond to your reviews to show your customers that you take their opinions seriously.
5 - Create a weekly email campaign.
Email is also a very important tool for reaching your customers and prospects. Building a curated email list takes time, but you will reap the benefits of your efforts in the long run. Campaign monitor shared, "Email lists are important because email marketing is the best way to connect with customers vs. social media. In fact, you are 6x more likely to get higher click-through rates through emails instead of tweets. Also, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter."
Many small business owners hesitate to send emails because we all get too many of them most days. The key to a successful email strategy is to send content that is relevant to your list. Many email tools help you identify your email subscribers that are most interested in different types of content. You can and should leverage key email metrics such open and click rates to refine your email audience depending on your message.
We shared some average email open rates by industry in a recent blog to help you assess your email effectiveness. If your open rates are equal or above the averages for your industry, your content is likely resonating with your target market.
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At It's All About the How Marketing Consulting we offer expert marketing support and practical tools to help improve your brand awareness and results. We can help with all aspects of your small business or non-profit marketing needs from developing strategic marketing plans to weekly blog content. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out our website at www.itsallaboutthehow.com.