Tried and true marketing strategies are just that. But does that mean you should rule out those that you haven’t tried? Of course not! Now is the time to evaluate what’s worked (and what hasn’t) and figure out how to tweak your plans. Here are some ideas to optimize your marketing efforts this year.
Try targeted email marketing.
Using an email marketing service to send messages to customers? Great! Sending the same email to all your customers? Less great. For more effective results, tailor a few different messages to various customer groups, like one for those who’ve made a purchase in the last month and another for those who haven’t bought anything in six months or more. You also want to contact these groups at different frequencies. Loyal customers should be receptive to regular messaging, while lapsed customers might unsubscribe if they’re hearing from you too often.
Automate social media.
Establishing a social media presence is key, but maintaining and growing your audience might require more bandwidth than you have. If that’s the case, consider adopting a service (there are a variety of affordable options out there) that consolidates your social media accounts and allows you to write, schedule, and view all your posts in a single dashboard. These services also allow you to monitor your analytics, so you can tweak your strategy based on performance.
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Rethink your advertising strategy.
TV commercials and newspaper ads aren’t just out of the budget for many small businesses, they’re also not the most effective means of communicating your message. Think about your customers: What do they read, watch, and listen to? Reach out to prominent local bloggers and podcasters and inquire about advertising opportunities. You can also ask prominent bloggers and social media personalities to take over your Pinterest or Twitter accounts for a day or week, which could help you reach an even wider audience.
Make your loyalty program irresistible.
Pretty much everyone has a loyalty program at this point, but most are pretty generic. Set yourself apart with a loyalty program that your customers pay attention to by offering discounts or free gifts that are actually worthwhile. For example, you could give members 25 percent off a full-price item the first weekend of the month, or a free gift (something good!) or gift card for each $250 they spend. Do what makes sense for your customers and business, but don’t just hand out another useless plastic card that only takes up space in their wallet.
Ramp up your community involvement.
Small businesses have to be tuned in to their communities in a way that large corporations don’t. And that’s what sets you apart, right? Be a good citizen by donating products or services to fundraisers at schools or nonprofits in your area. Even better, partner with a local organization and host charitable events at your business. When your community thrives, so does your business.