If you are a small business owner, you may not have the funds to invest in a lot of advertising or software that pushes your marketing messages. But, there are still cost-effective ways you can deliver targeted marketing messages and increase sales.
1) Segment your mailing list
Yes, this takes some work, but the payoff can be big. Capture as much information about your current clients and leads as possible and use it to your advantage. Have a database that is searchable (even a spreadsheet can work) so you can generate truly targeted emails, SMS and hard-copy marketing messages.
Here’s an example of how a small business owner can lose, or gain, based on segmenting: For about 5 years I have purchased cosmetics from a local small business. The owner knows my skin type, color preferences and more. Yet, last year as summer approached and my skin starts to give me problems, she lost an opportunity to sell. All she had to do is send me (and others in her database who have the same skin type) a text message or email explaining how specific products she carries could help during the summer. The same approach would work in the winter.
She does send me text marketing, but what she sends is generic. I know when she has a promotion. That’s nice, but not personal. In fact, many times when I get her marketing messages I sigh and delete it immediately. She doesn’t seem to care about my needs. She’s just sending a message to send a message. How about, when she has a promotion, mention it’s been months since I purchased cleanser, and that her sale would be the perfect time to get some more? If she’s kept track of what products were purchased, she could target a few unique messages to cover her client base. The message is less self-serving and focuses on the client’s potential needs. More work, yes. More personal, yes. More sales, yes!
At this point, I’ve started shopping other cosmetic vendors to see what they have to offer. In the long-run, she is losing a customer.
2) Create strategic partnerships
Many businesses that share the same customer demographics don’t directly compete. Form partnerships with other reputable companies for advertising and referral business. A good example of this is a networking group here in Louisville where all the members serve the older adult community. The group consists of lawyers, accounting firms, adult care facilities and more.
Once you are a member, learn as much about the other members as possible. When you’ve determined the key companies that could make good partners, work on a referral plan. Also, look into opportunities to purchase space at expos targeted at your shared customer base, invest in targeted joint advertising or even offer joint loyalty programs.
3) Use social media wisely
Always keep in mind what your client base might need. Share informational blogs from other sources. Share your client’s success stories. Offer incentives and loyalty program information. In fact, tag customers you know would be interested in specific products based on their past. Send private messages and promos. Target your message to benefit your customer base. You will get more shares and likes with less self-serving social media posts.
Use these 3 strategies to build loyalty and increase your profits. Spend the extra time and effort on nurturing your leads and clients with targeted marketing that answers their needs. You will always be a hero when you help vs. sell.