Small businesses don’t have the same marketing muscle as large businesses. A small business simply doesn’t have the advertising budget needed to build a “big” brand and to gain recognition in the market through that brand.
So how is a small business to compete with the “big guns?”
The answer is by utilizing effective communication strategies with their customers.
As a small business owner, communicating with your customers should be at the top of your agenda. Your customers will give you feedback which may help you improve the business. And if you use the right communication strategies you can also cement your business in their minds so that they become repeat customers.
Unfortunately, all too often small businesses miss this step and conduct themselves in a manner more reminiscent of large corporate companies. This can spell disaster for the small business owner.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid this trap and communicate effectively with your customers.
#1 – Ask for feedback. Good or bad, feedback from customers can be the saving grace for any small business. It will help you improve, tweak, keep what’s working and get rid of what isn’t working within the business. You can ask customers to fill in a simple survey card or a fun poll about their preferences and so on. It may help to make the feedback anonymous to make it easier for the customer to state their true feelings about the business.
#2 – Stay in touch. Even if the customer was impressed with your business in the first instance, it’s easy for them to forget about it or go somewhere more convenient when they’re in a rush. However, if you stay at the forefront of your customer’s mind then you’ll up the chances of them becoming repeat customers.
Send your customers reminders about your business and news about special offers which will benefit them. You can also offer repeat customers a discount voucher and other incentives to get them to come back to you. But keep in mind that the best incentive for customers to return is often a simple “thank you” and great customer service.
You can do this by treating each and every customer as though they are your only customer and making them feel special. Send out birthday or Christmas cards to your customers. Let them know you appreciate them by sending a simple thank you letter, perhaps with a discount voucher inside. And in some cases a small thank you gift may be a worthwhile investment.
Treating customers well is one sure way to stand out from the competition.
#3 – Get creative. Many businesses use the same old boring marketing strategies. Why not stand out from the crowd by “juicing” up your marketing? Humor goes a long way in marketing – come up with a funny campaign that will grab your customer’s attention.
What may seem “crazy” to some can catch the eyes of potential customers or clients and get them interested in your business. The first step is always getting the customer through the door – a creative marketing campaign will help you do this. Once they’re in the door it’s up to you to wow them with your services.
Communicating effectively with customers doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s all about connecting with people on a more personal level and setting up your business to help you customers and to provide value. A few simple strategies can help you achieve this and stand out from the competition.