When people ask about my daughter, I tell them she’s a hot mess. She’s only 2, but a few weeks ago in church, she clapped after a baptism and said “YAY! WE’RE DONE!” She used her outside voice to ask where Nonna and Aunt Bekah were. (They live out of town.) She spilled goldfish under the kneeler. And after about 45 minutes, I took her out of the sanctuary for time out. An usher walked by as she was screaming about her plight, and I ran interference to keep him from engaging the “prisoner.”
Every time we go to a different mass or a different church, I imagine people must think “if they took her more often she might know how to act.” But we DO! We take her every week. I’m sure I was that judgmental person before I was the parent. Now I know that as much as I want to just go somewhere by myself sometimes, it’s worth the inconvenience to help mold my toddler into a productive citizen.
“Kelli, what does marketing have to do with your toddler?” A lot, actually. Successful marketing can lead to a successful business. Sometimes, successful marketing is a little uncomfortable operationally. But just like my efforts to play the long game with my tiny human, it’s worth a little short-term discomfort for long-term results!
We’ve all heard that presenting a problem without a solution is useless. If your primary reason for refusing a particular marketing strategy is “it’s difficult to implement,” that’s no reason at all!
That’s not to say that operations shouldn’t be a consideration. And marketing campaigns may need tweaking. That’s when strategizing comes in handy. Consider these common conundrums and a few ways around them.
How do I know I’m reaching my customers?
Simple. Contact the customers who already like you. Facebook, the 10,000-pound gorilla in the social media room, has consistently reduced business’ organic reach on Facebook over the last several years. Organic reach is, on average, around 1 percent of your fans. Email, though, can have significantly higher reach if it’s used well.
“But, Kelli, we don’t have email addresses.” Why not?
- If you’ve got an online sales platform, collect emails there. You may already do that, so give those users the chance to opt-in to your communications when they check out.
- Ask customers for emails when they’re in your place of business. This can be as simple as having cashiers ask, placing a sign-up sheet on the counter or setting up during busy times to entice customers to join your email list.
- Incentivize them! Studies prove that individuals are more likely to act for a small, guaranteed item than the chance at a larger one. So something like a small discount for signing up or a small free item will be plenty to get a few emails.
- Set up an ask on your website. Your website designer should be able to set up a simple pop-up for new users to your site (determined by their IP address).
“Collecting contact information slows down my service.”
- Start small. Collect for one day per week or at a slower time of day. Once you’ve perfected the process, go from there.
“People give me fake emails.”
- Combat that by emailing their incentive. If they get 10 percent off for giving you their contact information, send it via an email coupon instead of making the reward instant.
I already talk to my customers, why change?
Do your customers communicate the same way you do? It’s important to meet customers where they are. If you send emails but they prefer text messages, they’re not seeing what you’re sending!
- If you’ve got email addresses, ask your customers how they prefer to communicate.
- Create a survey and ask customers to tell you what they like.
- Ask customers in your place of business.
I don’t have time to handle the marketing.
Hire someone who does or engage a great partner! This will help your scheduling challenges, but it’s also likely to benefit the strategy itself. A professional is likely to know more about various marketing activities and ways to keep the work efficient.
It’s too expensive.
It doesn’t have to be! Let’s be clear that you’ll probably have to spend something, whether that’s an agency fee or a sponsorship fee or an advertising cost. But just because someone tries to sell you a primetime television spot or a presenting sponsorship of an event, that doesn’t mean you need that specific thing! Your strategy is likely to vary greatly depending on your business, and that’s when having a great partner or in-house marketing mind (see above) is so valuable.
I’ve done [insert marketing tactic here] before and it didn’t work.
Why didn’t it work? Pose that question to your marketing partner and you may get a different answer than you thought. Maybe that particular tactic wasn’t a fit for your customers, maybe it wasn’t implemented well or maybe it was poorly timed. A failure for one tactic doesn’t mean a failure for all marketing tactics!
Managing incentives is costly and time-consuming.
Coupons or other incentives are a common first step for many business owners. And they can be costly or time-consuming. But for the right business, well-managed incentives can be useful. Good incentives:
- Are valuable to the consumer but not too costly for the business
- Drive trial, referrals or an extra visit (rather than just replacing an existing sale)
- Have a clear expiration
- Are communicated to all business employees to ensure consistent messaging
I don’t know how to tell whether my efforts are working.
Marketing may translate directly to sales, but if you truly want to gauge your marketing efforts’ worth, set measurable objectives before you begin. What is your ideal open or click-through rate on an email campaign? How many website visits would you like? Your marketing partner can help you identify measurable objectives before you begin.
Still have questions? Leave ‘em in the comments or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!