It is almost the end of another year, which usually means that it is time to perform a review of the past year. This is a good thing, because it motivates small business owners to take a look at what worked well and what did not pan out as planned, so they can make course corrections for the coming year. While this is appropriate from an administrative and business perspective, it can also be helpful to perform a marketing review.
You will first need to take an honest look at the numbers to determine whether you were able to maintain or increase business from current customers, attract new customers, and increase profit levels. If your small business did not meet these goals, then it is time to assess your marketing strategy to determine where it may have fallen short and think about steps you can take to get back on course for next year. Here are five actions that will help you take a proactive approach to increasing business in 2020:
1. Give Thanks: We all realize that customers are the life-blood of any size business, but we seldom reach out to thank them for contributing to our success. A small business can be particularly effective at this, as you have a more personal relationship with customers. If you know their names and contact information, take time to send a personalized hand-written note, or at least an e-mail. Include specifics about why you enjoy doing business with that person, and confirm that you want to continue building your business relationship. If you do not have contact information for your customer base, put something on your website, write a blog about it, produce a video, or list out the various ways you want to give thanks on your social media sites.
2. Put a Plan in Action: If you don’t have an active marketing plan in place, there is no time like the present to begin. Think about what you want to do to improve your online presence, social media connections, in-store communications, and traditional advertising, and then put together a plan to get it done. Get out a calendar for next year, and schedule meaningful time to implement your marketing plan.
3. Capitalize on Current Marketing Trends: You might not think you are much of a marketer, but the internet really can put small business on an equal footing with larger businesses – you just need to take better advantage of the opportunities. Ask your customers what they like and don’t like about your current marketing efforts. Find out if they think your current website is easy to use, ask whether you provide enough updates through social media and email, and learn whether there is anything about your product or service that is hard to understand. This will give you great insights into how you can proactively respond to their needs. Make sure your website is mobile friendly, and help your business become easy to find online if foot traffic is important.
4. Study High-Performing Businesses in Your Industry: Surely there are local competitors in your industry, or companies on a larger scale, whose accomplishments you admire. Research them and carefully assess what they are doing in their marketing, so you can emulate their actions and build them into your own, unique marketing campaigns. If you uncover something that really makes your business stand out, then you will know where to begin with your strategy for next year!
5. Generate Content: One way to keep prospects and customers motivated is to provide great content year-round. Create a list of topics, and then start writing blogs, video scripts, and social media updates to share with your customer base. If you don’t have these skills, hire a part-time employee or freelancer who does.
You still want to leave time for observing the holidays with family and friends, as they are the reason you work so hard to make your business succeed. Create a balance where you pay attention to your business and emotional needs, and 2020 will really look great!