Having a clear idea for your marketing plan can help your business reach and maintain customers. While every business will have its own unique products, goals, and a certain amount of resources with which to maintain those products and goals, there are a few strategies that most businesses can implement to help better market their wares.
Capture Customer Email Addresses
Think of the last time you purchased a product online. To place your order, you filled out a bunch of information, including your email address. Your product was shipped to your home several days later, but the store you purchased from is still sending you emails about other products, sales, and special events. Why? Because they have your email address on file. Email is one of the easiest ways to reach current and potential customers, and it's cheaper than paying for traditional advertising, like events, direct mail, and other marketing methods. There are a variety of ways to capture customer emails, including setting up an opt-in form on your website where individuals can input their name and email address, or doing something as simple as placing an email and newsletter sign-up sheet in your brick-and-mortar store location. You may not even know what to do with the email addresses you begin entering into a database, but just know that the more you foster a relationship with your customers, share what's going on in your world, and get customers excited about your products, the easier it will be to keep your customers engaged and coming back for more.
Who doesn't like a little treat every now and then? Whether you occasionally offer your customers a free gift with a purchase, a discount for buying a certain amount of goods, or a coupon to use another day, giving your customers incentives and different offers will motivate them to take action. For example, many businesses, particularly home improvement companies, are starting to offer free e-book downloads that include information about their specific products, services, and project examples. For someone who's deciding between Sunroom Company A (a business that doesn't have much of an online presence and doesn't seem to offer any incentive for an individual to do business with them) and Sunroom Company B (a company that has lots of readily available information in e-books and offers new clients $500 off any installation), the choice will be easy.
Reach Out with Social Media
Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr, and others have become indispensable tools for many businesses to reach a wide audience. Determine which social media platforms work with your specific brand, are easy to use, and can reach your intended audience. If the majority of your customer base is in retirement, has disposable income, and travels frequently, attracting your customers via Facebook may not be the best method. On the other hand, if your target customer base is young moms and dads who are technologically savvy and can navigate many different kinds of social media to find what they're looking for, your business may benefit from creating a presence in several outlets.
Ask a Professional
If improving your marketing reach is a goal for you this year, but you're not sure how to best go about it, contact a few marketing companies in your area to see what they can help you with. They'll likely be able to help you create a plan that not only reaches customers, but that works with your specific needs and budget. To find the right marketing company, ask other business owners who they've used in the past and whether they had success with one company or another. Most importantly, keep a clear idea of who you are and what your business is trying to accomplish. People can tell the difference between someone who genuinely wants to serve customers and those who don't.