Being in business can be one of the biggest roller coaster rides of your life. Some people don't make it past the first revolution. Others manage to navigate the highs, lows, tight corners and the many twists and turns.
The roller coaster undergoes continual maintenance and upgrades. If you're not keeping an eye on these changes and upgrading as well, one day you'll wake up and wonder where your customers are.
Is this happening to you? Are the marketing techniques you've been using for the last 10, 20 or more years not working anymore?
In 2015, the team at The Community Entrepreneur surveyed 160 businesses as well as worked directly with them to review their marketing strategies. Many of these have been operating for 10 or more years and experiencing similar challenges. Most wanted to grow and thought that technology was the answer although they didn't have the skills in-house.
Our analysts looked at what they were already doing to market their businesses, identified gaps and made recommendations for improvements. Here are 8 common mistakes that we are constantly finding and how you can use your Bartercard dollars to get in front of your buyer.
1. Poor quality websites
Today there are hundreds of plug-ins so you can have a site that looks as professional as a global brand’s without the expense. Your website is the first place people look online, so why use an out-of-date template that doesn't connect with your customer?
2. Missing the mark on social media
You've got a Facebook page but are you really using it to its full advantage? Facebook pages work best when you engage your audience. Too often we have seen posts that are all about sell, sell, sell. If pictures paint a thousand words, then use them to your best advantage. Research your market so you can understand what content you should be posting to start meaningful, two-way conversations which inspire consumers to take action.
3. Not connecting your on-line media tools to each other
Where possible, drive potential buyers from social media to your website or landing page, otherwise it's a lost opportunity. Make the most of social media, not just Facebook. Optimise TripAdvisor, WOMO, YouTube and Twitter feeds. Use the rich wealth of the online environment to connect with your prospects, establish your credibility and lead them to choose you.
Not sure where to start? Take the nightmare out of getting your online strategy to achieve the results you are looking for. Look up the local web services on offer through Bartercard members in your area.
4. Being stuck in old approaches
With the advent of social media, marketing has moved away from a disruptive approach (where advertising is placed directly in front of the consumer) to inbound methodologies which are less about hard selling, and more about leading the consumer on a journey to buy through meaningful content and building credibility as a brand.
Instead of focusing on what you are selling, focus on solving a problem for the consumer to position yourself as an expert which will lead them to buy from you. Convince them that you can help them achieve the outcome they are looking for.
5. Not utilising your database
Make a commitment to putting the details of purchasers into a database. This information can be used to send out offers and newsletters. It's not too much effort if it leads to repeat business and is lot cheaper than continually looking for new customers. Create mailing lists and automate them. Don't rely on 10 years of paper invoices and diary notes.
Stop missing opportunities and referrals. It might be time to invest in a virtual assistant to create and automate your mailing lists. Contact your local Bartercard office who will assist you in finding the right assistant for your needs.
6. Not up-selling – ‘Do you want fries with that?’
All too often the focus is on the one product and companies don’t take the opportunity to upsell. A tailor will sell a shirt or cufflinks to a man who buys a suit, so what can you upsell to your clientele? When the hard work of a sale has already been done (you have already convinced the customer to make the purchase), upselling can come down to asking a simple question (i.e. Do you want fries with that?).
Our tip is to find Bartercard members you could purchase from to extend your product offering.
7. Do you really understand your customer?
Buyer behaviour is important, so it's vital that you understand the buyer you are looking for - their demographics, lifestyles, interests, priorities and more specifically, where they hang out. Do you have a huge show room when your customers buy online? Once you figure this out, you can focus your efforts to get in front of them and make the sale.
Use your Bartercard dollars to engage a marketing professional who can help you to update your strategies that will sustain you for the next few years. Win win.
8. Everybody needs good customer service
It’s amazing how many companies stress the importance of good customer service and then pass the buck by claiming they’re ok but the business next door could do with some training. We all hate waiting at the end of the line to an overseas call centre, but we fail to recognise our own shortcomings. If you're not getting repeat customers, it can come down to one of two things - lack of follow-up or a poor customer experience. Ensure you’re not failing in either category.
Get started with an audit
Not sure where to start promoting your brand? Need an outsider’s view when choosing one of the above services through Bartercard?
The Community Entrepreneur is offering an audit of your current marketing strategy. Let us analyse what you are already doing, give you some feedback and provide you with recommendations that you can put in place now to attract more customers and increase your sales.
For further information contact Pat on 0407 450 818 or email us at email@example.com.