There is no doubt that this past year has wreaked havoc on local businesses. Local businesses have been looking for any solution to help them keep their business up and running and their staff employed.
Local businesses generally rely on heavy foot traffic to keep their bills paid and their doors open, but when foot traffic is at an all time low things start to look bleak.
There has been a solution for many, many years, but a lot of local businesses just haven’t taken advantage of it. This is mainly due to not having the time or even the expertise to figure it out.
Necessity has changed the outlook of many business owners. E-Commerce technology is a fantastic way for local businesses to still be able to service their customers.
While they might not be able to come into your business, that doesn’t mean they can’t get your products or services.
As a bonus, if a local business plays their cards right, they can reach more people than they ever could before. Ninety percent of adults in the United States use the internet each and every month.
Can you think of any other method that can allow your business to reach 90% of the adults in your town or city?
Getting e-commerce for your business has never been easier. There are free services like:
Setting up an online ecommerce store can be a little overwhelming, but the majority of these companies have made it extremely easy to use. As a last resort you can spend a bit more money and hire a web design or marketing company to help you get this set up if needed.
Once everything has been set up and customers can purchase your products or services online, execute a huge marketing campaign to your existing customers to let them know that they can now still support your business and continue to get your business’s great product or service.
Then, do an advertising campaign on Google and Social Media to let new people who have never heard of your business before know that they can get your product or services online. I think you might be surprised by the results.
As marketing professionals, we get asked this question all the time:
“What are the most important aspects of digital marketing?”
Generally we give ourselves a small chuckle. Just look at the amount of information on our website, all 100% necessary for digital marketing. There are books and books of information on our website.
The questions did get us thinking. Is there any one thing that is more important than all other aspects of digital marketing. So after hours of putting our heads together, we came up with the answer.
A business’s branding! Branding is the foundation that all other forms of marketing stem from. This isn’t exclusive to digital marketing, it covers all forms of marketing.
A company’s branding should be synonymous with who they are. Branding, done properly, creates trust in the market and with customers.
Branding incorporates the story of the business, the name, the icon or symbols of the logo, design, colors, all fonts, the voice of the brand and even the imagery connected to the brand.
Branding is often just regulated to a logo, but honestly is so much more than that. There should be what is called a Brand Guide. In this guide you should have the following:
This guide should be available to every employee in the business. When any piece of content is released from the business, it should follow the guidelines.
Consistency = Professionalism. In terms of marketing, the #1 difference between small and medium sized businesses compared to large businesses is Branding.
Having a guide as laid out in the article will help any business bring about consistent branding effort from any business.
There is a lot of money that gets invested into marketing each and every year. Unfortunately, all this money being spent on marketing isn’t always effective.
This is especially true for local and small businesses. It is not for the lack of trying, but more a lack of knowledge.
If you think about how local and small businesses get started, it follows a particular pattern. A product or service is created, then the business owner sells it to a friend or family member.
That friend or family member tells other people about the product or service and then word of mouth marketing starts generating more business. The business owner sells more of their product or service and generally keeps expanding based on the amount of people they can personally speak with.
At some point they reach a make or break point. They can’t personally speak with more people in a given week or month. They hire an employee and continue the process of expansion.
Somewhere in this process the business owner will have an epiphany that just working or dealing with people in their sphere of influence can only yield so much expansion.
At this point they turn to marketing as a solution to further expansion, but here’s the rub, this business owner didn’t go to school for marketing. They went to school for being an engineer, carpenter, doctor, chiropractor, hair stylist, etc.
Local and Small business owners are walking a tightrope blindfolded over a chasm with a thousand foot drop and no safety net and getting to the other side has varying degrees of success.
Here at Evolved, we thought it would be a good idea to take the blindfold off; to at least give local and small businesses a fighting chance of making it to the other side of that chasm.
Before any marketing occurs from a business, they need to understand their client. Most business owners have a belief that they do understand their clients.
What we have found is that they understand their needs or problems and have come up with the solution to solve that need or problem.
This does not equal an understanding of their client, it just means they understand their needs or problems.
To find out what people want or will accept or will believe, a business does surveys.
This isn’t a new tactic. You could go on the internet right now and find pages of companies that offer survey services through email or social media platforms, but this is a very ineffective method of survey.
Surveying through an email or social platform isn’t very thorough and we aren’t talking about the amount of questions you can ask.
People don’t make decisions based on words or pictures. They make decisions based on emotions. Surveys through an email or social platform do not translate the emotions.
In addition to missing the emotions, most people give canned responses when confronted with an email or social media survey.
There is an exact technology to doing surveys: creating questions that produce emotional responses, properly spotting the emotion given when responses are given to the questions, picking the pain points or buttons from the answers, crafting positioning questions against the pain points or buttons, etc.
Once the surveys have been compiled and the right information extrapolated then a business can create a marketing strategy that WILL GET RESULTS.
While this isn’t the only failing that local and small businesses make with their marketing, it is a major one.
If you want to make sure that your business is executing the right marketing strategy, always make sure that you have proper surveys done.