As a business owner, how are you planning to compete in the marketplace against the noise of large, corporate companies?
If you’ve completed a Branding + Positioning Strategy with us then you know who your target audience is, how to speak to them and where to interact with them.
The unique position you have as an entrepreneur, small business owner or the town’s only boutique is the attention to detail, the local supplier, the sense of community, the benefit of supporting a family vs. a large corporation.
You may offer homemade ornaments, goodies baked from scratch or customized clothing.
Maybe it’s a service you offer. Landscaping companies who hang Christmas lights or do cleanup. A cleaning service prepping for the guest’s family visit. A decorator ready to deck the halls for any office party or set a table for a home gathering.
Ho-Ho-Hold On….Even if you weren’t planning on incorporating holiday marketing in your strategy, you need to. Too busy or overwhelmed? We are here to help.
What you offer is just as unique as how you market it. How you market your product or service needs to match the effort you put into your work. Otherwise, how will it get into the lives of those who need it?
I have put together six ideas to bring joy to your holiday marketing strategy (and to your customers.)
ADVENT CALENDAR. Most manageable is a 12 Days of Christmas Advent Calendar. Each day, at the same time, publish a photo or video with an offer that’s good for the next 24 hours. You may also choose to do a full 24 days and you can enter whoever answers a fun holiday trivia question correctly to win one big prize. Other ideas could be the instant winner, the refer-a-friend tag or a discount on a future purchase.
E-COMMERCE. E-Commerce sales take the lead in all orders and more than 20 percent of those sales take place during the holiday season. more than half of the sales traffic is done via mobile. Is your site optimized for mobile screens? Another great idea is to ‘decorate’ the platforms your customers will see. Think of the Coca-Cola polar bears and Santa. Incorporate a new cover photo, cover video, profile photo, and effects to your platforms. Do you have an up-to-date website? We can help.
#HASHTAG. Market research can lead you to find the most frequently used hashtags for search engine optimization (SEO). #WishList2018 can be added to your feature items or #HolidayCheers for your wine, beer or spirits. The more creative for your special offers, the more buzz. You can also turn famous songs, stories or rhymes to fit your business’s theme. Have fun with it!
Packages. Make it simple. Make it easy. Creating gift boxes, packages (or another creative name) is a great way to group similar items at a few different price ranges for your customers. If they can order a basket for an outdoorsman, a teenage girl or a newborn it’s a one stop shop. Showing these off as Gift Guides For… allows people to imagine who they could gift the package to. Bonus points if you include giftwrapping in the price!
North Poll. Conducting polls about Christmas cookie shapes, favorite songs, least favorite movies, holiday drinks, decor styles, etc. gets interaction from your customers. By including your shop’s tag or website on the image, every time the image is shared it’s circulating to new audiences and people will look you up from the original source.
Santa’s Cause. Tis the Season to give back. At the beginning of the month announce a cause near and dear to your company’s heart. If you have a brick and mortar you can hold a warm clothing or toy drive. Enlist your employees and their families to ring bells for the Salvation Army. A portion of your sales can go toward an organization or you can accept Christmas donations (trees, wreaths, decorations, etc.) to give to those in need. I recently saw a story of a family unable to EVER have decorations or a tree because of their financial priorities. A simple Facebook post by a family friend gave them a beautiful Christmas and no Christmas decorations or trees were tossed in the trash.
There are books, videos, podcasts and coaches out there who will teach you how to find and gain clients; some even go as far as to how to keep and nurture them.
But no one tells you how to losethem.
And why would they? No one wants to learn how to lose. My hope is that if you find the lessons in LOSING that you will use that to find what helps you WIN.
My first job out of college was 100 percent commission selling supplemental insurance products. When jobs in my field came up short, I went in for an interview and immediately recognized what kind of working environment this would be. I told myself to stick it out for one year and it ended up teaching me everything I DIDN’T want to continue doing (which taught me everything I DID want to do and be.)
If you’ve ever had issues with a boss, employer or parent you have probably learned a lot about what you DIDN’T want to do as a future boss, employer or parent.
This is just as beneficial a lesson and in comes the ‘no regrets, just lessons learned’ quotes.
The entire goal of a business professional is to build your book of business, have them refer you and then continually service them while receiving commissions.
Maybe you’ve been someone who is great at closing accounts or fantastic at servicing accounts OR maybe you’ve been in the game for 10 years and have accounts you don’t even have to think about.
Then one day your star client calls and asks to cancel their subscription to your product.
“No one wants to quit when he’s losing and no one wants to quit when he’s winning.” — Richard Petty
If you’re active on multiple channels, working with multiple people and continually filling your sales funnel then this will be a bump in the road. If you’ve decided it’s good enough and already wiped the dirt off your hands welcome to the best way to lose clients. Here are the Top Three things I learned from gaining and losing clients.
Have a topic you want to hear more about? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!
It’s Not Them, It’s You
I was watching tired people closing business, grudgingly setting up the account and then walking away as fast as they could with their paycheck. In fact, on multiple occasions in multiple businesses, I have been handed a list of HUNDREDS of accounts or clients to revive. They had been almost a year or more of no communication and I, as a new and unfamiliar employee, was to rekindle that relationship.
It’s not their fault; it’s your fault.
If you expect someone to love you, sign up for what you’re selling and cheer for you continually, it’s not going to happen. Like any successful relationship it requires continuous communication.
My co-workers were emailing people who didn’t use their email. They were calling people who don’t answer numbers they don’t know. They were walking in to businesses surprising them in the middle of their workday.
They were careless and regularly got caught showing the client they weren’t any different than the thousands of other people met in their lifetime.
Pay attention to what your client needs and how best to communicate with them. Each time I met with someone I took an insane amount of detailed notes to remember everything I could about them. Their outfit, their Alma Mater, their kid’s names…anything that came up in our conversation that I could recall and build rapport.
It is not their job to buy into you while you sit back and relax. It’s YOUR job to make an effort in relating to that person and (secondly) how your product can best fit or help that person.
Mary On The Prairie
A fun way to say you’re outdated way of doing things just don’t work anymore. My first job trained all of their agents to make hundreds (150-200) cold calls every Monday. Not kidding. It was hell at a desk. That kind of poison spreads through an office, to clients and back to you.
You’re calling people who don’t want to be called, leaving messages that won’t get returned and if you DO talk to someone it was a script that more than likely never got you anywhere.
I swore I would never get another job that required you to cold call….until I did. My next job the calls were a little bit warmer but it was still a call many found pointless or uninvited and this immediately alienated them from the company.
In the age where technology has found it’s way sneakily into our everyday life via Facebook or YouTube ads, spam calls, email blasts and more, people have a lower tolerance for the icky and awkward virtual door knocker (…and in person door knocker. No, I don’t want to buy your overly expensive vacuum cleaner.)
Time to work smarter and here is where your notes come in. If possible, doing business in person will help you win more than doing business over the phone. Think about how much can get lost in translation by not being face-to-face.
If possible, I will tell them when to expect my follow-up call. I will make sure I am showing up early and prepared on time. I can reflect on my notes to overcome possible or common objections before they come up. If someone prefers to have a texting reminder for a meeting, ensure it’s professional and leave emojis out of it.
ALWAYS make sure you’re following your state’s guidelines for communication and just because your manager says “You’re not selling, you’re inviting/just talking/asking questions” always do what you feel is right and what is legal.
If you wouldn’t want a stranger calling then why call? In the age where people text, you might find more success with a texting campaign. This will likely irk people who have opted out of your calls and emails so just leave them off the list. They’ll come back when they’re ready.
Oh, and for the love of all good things, stop asking “Can I ask you a question?”
Erase The Scoreboard
Difficult for people who consider themselves competitive, right? Keeping track of stats, accounts closed, clients enrolled or number of ___ sold are solid ways to keep an eye on all your quantitative data. This should be something you’re buddied up to daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly in order to reach your goals and improve your business.
But it is NOTthe only thing that matters.
When you have your eye on closing five new accounts this month or enrolling twenty new people during your next promotion, you’re making them NUMBERS and not PEOPLE. I highly recommend figuring out your WHY and not just using that in your elevator or sales pitch to make you seem relatable but tattoo it on your dang forehead so you see it e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.
We all have the same handful of friends that will send the generic message about how they were thinking of you and you would be GREAT to sell ____, or how they want you to buy ___ . You know the kind.
But these people only want to talk when I am looking for someone to hire. They don’t tell me happy birthday, they don’t message me unless it’s for a product purchase and they don’t interact with any of my posts yet they are all smiles when wanting to bring me on to their team. When it comes time for me to work with someone or buy something do you think I would go to them?
If you try to pretty up an ‘Ask’ or dodge around a topic in a way that will make them feel lied to, cheated or manipulated later on then you will lose them as well as anyone they speak to about it.
Remember people are more likely to share about a negative experience than they are about a mediocre one. Always treat every person and situation as if you were taking care of a loved one. If you continue chasing after the end goal, bonus amount or number you will never win. If you remember WHY you are doing this and WHO you are doing it for, you’ve got a client for life…not just another client.
Take notes. Learn everything you can about the person and record your conversations for future use. Remember to keep it factual and unbiased to your emotion. If you see that you’ve reached out twenty times in the last year (as an example) without a return interest, let them go.
Communication. If you suck at listening or communicating then you’re business will suck. Show that you care and provide an awesome experience even if this means over-delivery or a few minutes longer on an already long conversation. People will always remember how you made them feel.
Work Smarter. If you’re doing the above two well then you can work smarter instead of harder. Use names, gather what information you can so you can speak to the correct person and do as much business in person as you can.
Don’t ask how to be authentic; just be authentic.
Say what you mean but don’t say it mean. Don’t ever talk poorly about a client (or friend or colleague, etc.) because that will reflect how YOU are, it will hardly ever damage the person you’re speaking of.
I hope these gave you something to think about and please share in the comments if you have any other tips for us. If you or someone you know is looking for a partner in the marketing field, let’s connect!
Oh, yeah, have you left a review yet? This helps people understand what they’re getting when working with Local Collaborative and I would love to review you right back!
Funny subject for someone who focuses a large part of their industry in social media, right?
Well. That’s exactly the point.
In a world where it is 110% necessary to have some sort of online presence for your business, how many potential clients are you missing out on by not being online? How many clients would you lose if every social media platform you’re on were to disappear?
I’ve heard several excuses, concerns and questions about being (or not being) online:
“I know I’ve missed at least 10 clients because I don’t have a website.”
“I got on Facebook but now it’s about Instagram and I need to post on Pinterest but I want them to order through a website…It’s all too much so I just gave up.”
“I’ve never been on ____ because my people aren’t there.”
Yeah, I thought so…
How do we overcome these problems we’re facing?
It starts with branding. There’s more to it than a cool name and pretty logo. You need to figure out your ideal audience, the colors that will attract them, the language they speak and where to communicate with them. Use your Free Consultation right now if you haven’t before!
NEVER…listening?…NEVER put all of your eggs in one basket! And NEVER have too many baskets. A good rule of thumb is to focus on two to three social media platforms for your business. This is manageable and will prove to have a strong ROI for you. Any more than that and you’re making little to no impact on your audience. I suggest most of my clients focus on Facebook and Instagram while directing all traffic back to your website. Curious on where to focus your social media advertising? Check this out.
If this sounds too intimidating or time consuming then please let us help you. Local Collaborative is doing important work to take the question and uncertainty out of your marketing and communication needs. As I mentioned, this is necessary for your business but can be confusing or overwhelming to busy business owners.
You know whoyou are talking to and more than likely wherethey hang out online. Now it’s time for how. If you don’t already have your Instagram or Facebook Business Account setup, do it now. This will let you know where your audience is, who they are and when they are online. I’ll lead by example…
I researched the best days to post blogs and it was Tuesdays. I tested a few varying times in the morning and early afternoon for my posts and saw that just before lunch and in the evening around 9 p.m. is when most of my audience was checking out my profile. These are the peak break times for my working age audience. Instagram is the most popular platform and, since it’s more than likely the last thing they’re checking before bed, it’s the most personal.
What I post, write and share will resonate with my audience if I am able to communicate with them at the most convenient time for them. I find that I am able to interact at these same times because the young professional audience is looking for the same thing.
If your audience is single moms, construction workers, farmers or realtors, whenis the best time to reach them and howcan you best serve them? How often are they online and on what platform?
At the end of the day this is ‘just’ the shallow world of online life highlights, ruining perceptions of realities everywhere. So WHYdoes this matter so much?
If your WHY is big enough then you probably already realize the importance of this. If your WHY is simply to help others, spread awareness or share your findings (like many people) then why not give it the best chance of happening? If you’re only half-assing your attempts then you really don’t think what you have is that important and your audience or potential clients are not worth it.
If you’re solely depending your entire business or success on social media platforms then open your eyes, ears and heart to this.
Social Media Is A Supplement
Just like a supplement, it enhances what you are currently working on achieving but it cannot compare to what a healthy diet and consistent exercise routine can do for you. The world does not revolve around social media, nor should it.
If you base your success on subscribers, likes, shares or following ONLY then what does that say about your business when Facebook shuts down?
When your Instagram gets deleted?
When you’re in a YouTube scandal and lose all paid partnerships and subscribers?
I don’t want to see any more businesses struggle with their happiness and entrepreneurial success based on what they do or don’t have online.
A good business will thrive on WHO they are, WHAT they provide and HOW they provide it.
We believe a sustainable business thrives on word-of-mouth referrals that lead people to their Facebook page.
That an authentic video of you using your product will open a line of communication in the comments section.
That an in-person conversation can lead to selling your book on Amazon OR your website; even if one of them were to be shut down.
I challenge you to hone in on TWO social media platforms. If you need help deciding: Which one do you enjoy being on most? Which one is your audience on?
Get started and stop starting over. No, this isn’t a contradiction. I want you to get started and stop freaking out over what’s the perfect thing to say, the right platform to be doing or if you should be the one doing it. You will have nothing to improve if you don’t start somewhere.