Solutions to New Year’s Resolutions – Part II

Social media is, quite frankly, social! Understanding your customer is a great beginning to developing a marketing plan to meet the needs of your clients. Listen, talk to customers and interact together on Facebook and Twitter. Social networking areas allow you to gather research on your clients. Knowing how they think is important to your company.  Your marketing is meaningless if you are just doing things because “well, that’s what we did last year and it worked OK” – or “the guy down the street is doing well with it, maybe I should have a coupon out there too”. Me too marketing is just – second. Let’s be first! On to our second installment of Solutions to New Year’s Resolutions. (See Part I here)

So you’ve listened to your customer discuss their New Year’s Resolutions and you have a pretty good idea of what common elements appear in your customer’s list of “needs”. If we break down Lisa’s List for her resolutions what solutions can you possibly provide for her? If you can’t provide a total solution, how can you assist her in meeting the goal? Being helpful is important! Let’s take a look….

new years list of to dos, capture marketing ideas

Gym workouts – Calling her parents once a week – Buying from Local Farmer’s Markets – Eat Healthy: Fruits,Vegetables – Listen to something inspiring – Help Neighbors – More Theater – Compliment people – Kid activities (bowling, camping, etc.) – Save $$ for a vacation! – Laugh more! – Enjoy Life.

Ok! This is a great list of fresh ideas, interesting goals – she has some personal, some family and a few community goals in the mix.

As a business owner how do you help Lisa? Encouragement to achieve her goals is key to having her frequent your business.

Use the Power of an Email Newsletter

If you are sending out an eNewsletter to your clients (by using a service like AWeber) you stay in touch with them maybe twice or once a month. The newsletter format is wonderful because you have their permission to be in touch with them and you can write interesting articles, announce new staff members, talk about a new product in your store or on your website and you can add some fun things like jokes, Farmer’s Market information and inspiration quotes to brighten someone’s day. I once found a deliciously simple recipe for pumpkin bread and added that recipe with the link to the food site and it received a lot of click-throughs! Many clients thanked me the next time they came in. For some reason the recipe was so easy even the most challenging cook tried it! lol. That made me smile.

Of course you can announce a sale in the newsletter – but the newsletter should not be all about the sale. This is a time to write something fun and let your personality shine through. Tell a story. Maybe a story about how the business started and how it has changed over the years and thank your loyal customers for making your business a success. Talk about a family member that inspired you like a Grandfather, or Cousin – someone who encouraged you to take a risk and start a business. Ask your clients if they have someone that they can mentor – a young person or someone changing careers. Maybe you will inspire them to pick up the phone and offer encouragement to someone in need. It’s these types of connections that will leave an impression on your clients. Inspire someone. Make a heartfelt post in your Newsletter and see what happens.

Offer Apples for your Customers Instead of Candy

A simple change of apples instead of candy is a great way to encourage people to stay on their New Year’s Resolution. Many people include weight lose and eating healthy on their list each year. You can even put up a sign that says – “Helping You – Healthy You in 2011!” Awesome. A case of apples is inexpensive – think of it as marketing – because I am sure that customer will tell someone about the delicious apple and great customer service they received in your store. By eating healthy you indirectly might stop them from grabbing a “drive-thru” soda with tons of sodium and sugar. I loved offering apples in my store and seeing the smiles of my clients and their children made my day!

Help Thy Neighbor

I know this has been done so many times, but the simple act of a can food donation to the Food Bank is a wonderful thing. You could offer 5% off their total purchase with just one can brought into the store. If someone needs direct assistance with one of their neighbors and you have the materials, perhaps sending an idle employee over with the good samaritan to assist for an hour or two would make the difference in a simple fence fixing operation or donating an open box of nails, or – ?? just think of ways to meet the needs of your customers and their neighbors. They will recommend you over and over – your good deed will be known in the entire neighborhood and that type of word of mouth endorsement is simply priceless.  If there is a neighborhood party, you could donate something or offer to cover the permit. There are so many creative ways to be involved with customers.

Part of being a good neighbor is helping support causes that are important to your customers. I have purchased so many Girl Scout cookies over the years! I offered tea and cookies to clients and everyone said the same thing, “oh I shouldn’t really – but I have to support the Girl Scouts!” – yes, we all love the cookies too. There are women’s shelters, fund-raisers for families are in peril, Boy Scout Christmas Wreath activites and Popcorn – etc. Donate a Gift Certificate when you can and be actively involved in the same causes that your clients are passionate bout and they will remember your generosity.

Have Fun

Don’t forget that having fun is always an option! Each quarter you can offer a prize to someone who guesses the classic “how many beans are in this jar?” set-up. (Be creative and change it to coffee beans, washers, hair bands, licorice, pretzels, etc!) They must provide their email address and add them to your email list.(Always gather information!).

What about buying something fun and unique that your client’s might like and just give it away? For every $50 spent – the customer adds their name in the bowl one more time. I gave away two items that were slightly related to my business, but I did not sell those items in my store. They were unique looking and had a zebra print. I put the two items in two areas of my store. When pointing out the items one of my customers evidently looked at my shelves for the first time and said, “oh! I didn’t know you sold that item!”  What? I had no idea that I was forcing people to actually look in a certain area. And she learned something about my business in the process. Interesting huh? I announced the winners in the next newsletter and it was a fun thing to do. (Sales increased too!)

Engage your Clients with Social Media

Don’t forget to announce all these fun happenings on your social media platforms. People feel more connected when they hear that activities are busy, busy at your store – they will want to come in and participate and perhaps buy something as well.

These are just a few examples of ways to reach out to your clients. Be a thoughtful business owner who provides solutions to New Year’s Resolutions. A marketing plan that is conscious of these needs is a plan that will work. Having a focused effort each quarter to help drive business growth is key to growing your business. Listen to your customers – every age – and see how you can be an MVP in their life.

Solutions to New Year’s Resolutions – Part I

emarketing, online marketing, fresh marketing ideas.

Need Help with Marketing? Keep Reading

It’s time to make your first quarter marketing decision. Traditional Marketing (Newspapers, Coupons, Sales, etc.), New Social Media Marketing (Facebook, Twitter, Email Newsletter Delivery, eMarketing), Public Relations efforts (Donations, Sponsorships, etc.) – there is a vast amount of ways to get your customers attention and increase sales. But the age-old question – which marketing area is best for your business?

Low cost marketing is always a great idea. Yes, you have to spend some money to make money – but many small business people end up “buying” their customers – i.e., breaking even. If you don’t come out ahead, don’t do it. And watch out for the sales types that will tell you that if you lower your price now and get them in the door – then you will make money when they come back. Hmm, are they coming back? Or have you trained your customer to just sit back and wait to sniff out the next deal (lower price) offer. You see you are training them to respond to your marketing.

Why not make your marketing fun and different?

Customers respond to creative marketing ideas. They will respond with a “oh that was so fun” or ” what a great idea! I always wanted to try that new item” – either way if you make the shopping experience an actual experience – you will be rewarded through higher sales.

Margaret Drugovich, vice president for Strategic Communications and University Enrollment at Ohio Wesleyan University, says that experience “connotes understanding, familiarity, and the act of connecting. Our success will, at every turn, increasingly be the result of how well we build these relationships.” – from Brand as Experience by Robert Sevier

It takes a little creativity to do this so you have to engage your brain. Yeah, anyone can lower their price – but if you are offering something different – a fresh approach – it will be considered innovative and fresh and customers like to do business with business owners at the top of their game.

There are ways to influence your new and existing customers to buy goods from your business more often. It’s through targeted marketing focused on their personal New Year’s Resolutions. What? Now what does this have to do with anything? Most people make a list at the beginning of the year. We might not write it down, but secretly we all have our lists. I have one and I really like my list this year.

So how can you align your business to assist people in reaching their New Year’s Goals? If you place your business as a sort of “go to” place for solutions to New Year’s Resolutions you become a helpful business. Someone who cares about their customers and is willing to make changes to their business to meet the needs of customers will have measurable success.

Here’s a list I made up – just arbitrary. Let’s see how we can take this Resolution List and turn it into a Solution’s List for your business:

new years list of to dos, capture marketing ideas

As this post appears to be getting long, I will make a second post to cover some of the solutions. Questions to think about:

  • How does my business fit into Lisa’s goals?
  • How can I help her achieve these goals?
  • What sort of positioning should I do to be her solution-oriented-friendly-local-business?
  • If I can win over Lisa, perhaps I will influence her neighbors being as she is going to be interacting with them more often it appears.
  • How do I generate the buzz that makes her simply rave about my business to others?
  • Be thinking of these answers with your business in mind. Be creative. Think big. I also want you to think “simple”. Business solutions do not have to be on such grand scales – remember your are not (nor is your $ budget) Target or Sears-like.  Stay tuned for my next installment where I will take you through some cool ways to make Lisa (and others just like her) love, love, love your business!

    Jambo, Bonjour, Hola, Buon giorno, Hello!

    The internet has embeded itself in our lifestyle. We check emails regularly, text, chat, log on to Facebook to connect with friends and share photos and memories, we discover new friends and business associates using Twitter and other social media sites.

    Where does your business fit in? How can you be visible to your clients and appear as the solution to their issues so that they purchase from your business repeatedly?

    Simple. You stay in touch and become relevant to their needs. Here is where eMarketing comes in to the scenario. It’s all about positioning your company to be the solution to your clients problems or issues. You stay in touch with them, listen to them and offer them goods and services that make their lives simpler, better, easier. Do this and you will grow your business and your influence (your Brand) in a short timeframe.

    I am here to help you make that happen. No more “thinking about it” or “maybe next year” (hello, we are in 2011 now!) or I’ll get on that as soon as “______” fill in another excuse.

    The simple truth is that it is an online consumer driven marketplace. Customers are searching on a daily basis for your goods. Are you there? Is your website visible to someone who searches? Is there a link from your website to your social media sites so that they can see how you interact with others? If your presence online is a “secret” why bother? Just because you know you have a cool, hip, graphically super-sized website does not mean others know about it – unless you market it properly and pay attention to the changes on the internt.

    That’s where Get You Started eMarketing comes into the picture. I have been setting up Facebook Pages, Twitter accounts and Designing Blogs and helping clients post and loading images and generally coaching small business owners in the art of making themselves FOUND and RELEVANT to their clients on the internet. Once I hold their hand a bit they are amazed how easy and simple it really is and I feel comfortable to have taken away some anxiety that business owners have over taking that first step.

    Posts on here will be informative, funny, sometimes story-like, and current on the topic of eMarketing or internet marketing. I hope you bookmark this site and or subscribe to my newsletter as well to keep yourself updated in changing events.

    Make a habit this year to improve your online presence. It could mean the difference between staying in business or closing due to a lack of sales/interest.

    I believe the New Year (2011) has a lot in store for us in the world of social media marketing – new fresh ideas will mean that forward thinking business owners that act fast and embrace new technology will leave others behind to play “me too!” marketing games later. Are you a forward thinker? Awesome. I am too….let’s get you started right away!

    Jan Rossi

    Marketing Catalyst