You will hear me talk about Super Customers a LOT at The Girls Mean Business™. In my opinion, getting clear on your Super Customer is the single most important thing you can do in your business to make your marketing quicker, easier and more effective.
It’s a different approach to what you might be used to and people you meet at networking events might tell you you’re missing a trick, but they’re wrong! Let me explain.
Ok let’s start from the beginning.
You, like me, are the owner of a micro-business.
It’s just us, maybe a helper or two and the dog, right?
And we’ve got stuff to do, we have a business to run, we have customers to deal with, we have children to look after, we’re BUSY! And because we’re busy and have so many pulls on our time, we have LIMITED TIME, MONEY & ENERGY to spend on marketing.
Are you with me so far? Good.
BECAUSE we have limited time, money and energy to spend on marketing we need to get really clever.
WE CAN’T MARKET TO EVERYONE
[Tweet “You can’t market to everyone! Market to the people who are most likely to buy #tgmb #supercustomer”]
We can’t do ‘spray and pray’ marketing where we just shove a load of adverts out there and hope someone gets the message. We have to put our marketing where it’s MOST LIKELY TO WORK.
So, we need to put our marketing in front of the people who are MOST LIKELY TO BUY. These are our SUPER CUSTOMERS.
Our Super Customers are the people who are a great fit for our business. You might even have some already and if so, you’ll probably know who they are.
Our Super Customers love us.
- They love what we sell.
- They value us – they never quibble about price or haggle for discounts.
- They appreciate the time and effort that goes into our business.
- They keep coming back
- They keep spending more
- They tell their friends.
- They are a joy to work with
- They are really easy to please
- They think you are a miracle worker or a ninja genius or both.
Get the picture?
Your Super Customers are a GOOD fit for your business and if all your customers were like them, life would be a breeze.
So, let’s make that happen!
IMPORTANT: YOU DON’T NEED TO SACK ANY CUSTOMERS!
This is not about whom you SELL TO. This is about whom you MARKET TO. You can sell to whomever you like but YOU CAN’T MARKET TO EVERYONE!
It might take you a bit of time to really crack your Super Customer. It may be that you don’t have anyone at the moment who fits that description but do you have any customers who fit BITS of it? Have you had a glimpse of how it could be?
You need to spend some time getting really clear on this. If you’re struggling, here’s a different approach.
Have you ever had a BAD customer?
Someone who was such a colossal pain in the bum that you never want to hear their name again, let alone deal with them? Brilliant! Have you had more than one? Even better? Let’s use those negative experiences and use them to make your marketing better.
What Does A Bad Customer Look Like?
What was it about them that made them so bad for your business?
- Was it the way they spoke to you? Their unrealistic expectations?
- Did they begrudge paying? Did they not pay at all?
- Did they keep moving the goalposts so you couldn’t finish the project? Did they disrespect your products?
I’m sorry to bring this all back but it’s worth it, I promise because whatever it was that made them so BAD, you want the OPPOSITE in your Super Customer.
Write a list (it will be quite therapeutic) of all the bad things about them and then write the opposite alongside it – that pretty much sums up your Super Customer.
Why Is Your Super Customer So Important?
Well, apart from the fact that out of everyone in the whole wide world, they are most likely to buy from you?
OK, well once you know who they are you can start filling in some gaps.
- Why do they need you?
- Why do they love you?
- What is it about your business that keeps them coming back rather than going to your cheaper rivals?
- What do you give them or do for them that they can’t easily get elsewhere?
Your Super Customer Marketing Messages
Once you know what sort of person they are and why they are a good fit, get inside their head and figure out how and where they spend their time so you can put your marketing messages in front of them where THEY hang out.
Are they on Facebook or other social media? Why?
Are they searching Google? Why? What are they putting into their searches?
Let me give you an example:
My Super Customer is a woman business owner who is stuck. She’s lacking in confidence, she can’t get focused, she has no time, she feels alone and isolated working from home, she is broke and she really needs help with marketing because she doesn’t know where to start. Oh, and often she has children too.
She loves me because I make marketing easy for her. I show her what it means and how it works and I give her shortcuts that work, like Super Customer marketing.
I teach her how to be more confident and to get more focus, I teach her how to get new customers and how to sell more to existing customers and I teach her how to sell and make more money.
Because I know THIS about here, I can figure out she’s spending time on social media looking for groups of women like her where she can ask questions and not feel so alone. She is Googling things like ‘how to sell more’, ‘how to get more done’ ‘which social media platforms are best for business’. She is scrabbling around looking for help. And I can give her that help.
It doesn’t matter where in the world she is because what I teach works anywhere for pretty much any business, so I don’t need to look locally for my marketing. I need to take advantage of the Internet and put my marketing messages in front of her, where she is already looking.
What Do I Say In My Marketing?
Because I know who my Super Customer is, I can create marketing messages that will catch her eye and resonate with her. I can ask questions like
- Are you struggling with your marketing?
- Do you wish you had more time in the day to build your business?
- Are you scared of putting up your prices?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed?
- Do you just want your marketing to WORK and bring you some sales??
And I know she’ll be nodding to herself. You can do this too. What is YOUR Super Customer struggling with? What would she love to find? What problems do you solve? What needs do you meet? How do you make her life easier or better? How do you make her feel? How do you save her time, make her time, save her money, make her money? What outcomes do you bring about?
Hopefully this is starting to get your brain cogs whirring.
Bread And Butter Customers
Every business has 2 different types of customers: Bread and Butter customers and Super Customers.
When you start out in business you tend to attract Bread and Butter customers. These are not perfect fit customers and they are usually a long way from Super Customers, but they are customers all the same and they bring in money to pay the bills. They are your ‘bread and butter’. You attract more of these because you’re not being very targeted with your marketing and you tend to say ‘yes’ to every bit of business that comes your way, good and bad.
The trouble is, after a while it gets a bit wearing and you start to see the difference between ‘good’ customers and ‘bad’ customers, and you start begrudging the ‘bad’ customers because they are hard work!
Well, we know all about them now, don’t we? And that’s great because when you start marketing ONLY to your Super Customers, you start attracting more of them. And you start attracting fewer bread and butter customers. And your business changes.
The more Super Customers you attract, the more sales you will make and the easier your life will be.
How Much Time Will My Marketing Take To Work?
Here’s the thing – marketing takes TIME to work. It takes time EVEN when you are doing clever, Super Customer marketing so it’s going to take even longer if you’re doing it the hard way.
Once you get your Super Customer marketing working, you need to give it 3-6 months of marketing CONSISTENTLY AND PERSISTENTLY before you can expect it to properly work. You’ll probably see a change in the response you’re getting to your marketing before then, but for your marketing to gain traction and get the best results, you need to give it TIME.
So, just to sum up Super Customer Marketing :
- You can’t market to everyone – you may as well market to those people who are most likely to buy (your Super Customers)
- Work out who they are and what their life is like
- Get inside their head and figure out their pain points, needs and wants and where you fit
- Come up with marketing messages that will resonate with your Super Customers based on what you know about them
- Put your marketing messages in front of your Super Customers where they hang out
- Give it 3-6 months and watch the magic happen
Let me know how you get on. Have you worked out your Super Customer? How’s it going for you? Tell me what’s working for you!
I remember when I first started out in business, I had a big list of things I needed to do each week (get new clients, look after existing clients, send invoices, get money in) and to be honest, e-newsletters were not very far up my list. Actually, they probably weren’t on my list at all. They seemed to be a ‘nice-to-have’ for when I had time.
Fast forward a couple of years and my e-newsletter is probably my most important marketing tool, it’s certainly the marketing tool that drives the most sales and brings me the most money. Who knew?
The thing is, e-newsletters are brilliant for any business. Let me tell you why:
1. Relationship Building With E-Newsletters
Marketing is all about relationships. It’s about how you, the company, show your customers and potential customers that you understand what they need. It’s about how you show them you are a great fit for them. It’s about showing that you have the products and services they need to make their life easier or simpler, to save them money, to get their business insured, to make gift buying easier, to lose weight – wherever you fit in the world of business.
Relationships are what make customers pay more for a product or service rather than just shopping for the cheapest option. People want more than cheap – people want value. They want the right choice, the right service, the right delivery options, customer service attitude. They want to be listened to. They want to deal with real people.
And if you send them a regular e-newsletter once a month telling them how you can solve their problems and help them, showing examples of what you sell and explaining why it’s great value, answering customer questions, sharing great tips and advice and generally being a useful kind of resource, that’s going to go a LONG way toward building the relationships you need.
2. Staying Top Of Mind Using E-Newsletters
How often have you bought something from a company and then after a while forgotten what they are called? How often have you bought something online and thought ‘I love their website’ but didn’t remember to save it? In my case, it’s pretty often for both because I’m busy, I get distracted, I’m human!
In these cases the company I bought from probably hasn’t been in touch with me since. They haven’t emailed me or tried to show me what else they could do for me. If I didn’t buy but forgot to save the website, it’s because there was nothing compelling enough on the website to get me to hand over my email address, so they could keep in touch.
Now, let’s look at this another way.
How often have you thought about buying something and then an email popped into your inbox offering the exact thing you were looking for and you bought? In my case, several times and it’s no coincidence. The likelihood is that when I’ve been browsing online I’ve found a website, loved their stuff, not been ready to buy but because they were offering some kind of download (a voucher or coupon, a top tips list, a free e-book) I signed up to their mailing list.
[Tweet “E-newsletters keep you top of mind with potential buyers #tgmb”]
The best combination is to
- Have a website that really shows what you can do for your best customers,
- Give people an enticing little freebie in return for their email address
- Send a regular e-newsletter that keeps you top of mind, reminds your subscribers who you are and how you can help and that makes it easy to get in touch and buy.
When I send out my weekly e-newsletter to my 20k+ subscribers, I get great feedback. I share stuff I think they will love and will find helpful. I rarely sell. But when I DO send out an offer for something they can buy, I sell LOADS. That’s the power of an e-newsletter.
3. Positioning Yourself As An Expert Through E-Newsletters
You ARE an expert, in case you were in any doubt. You know far more about your business than anyone else. You know your topic inside out. You could talk for England about your company and what it does. The thing is, you now need to show your customers and subscribers what you know and how it can help them.
E-newsletters are a great way to show what you do. They are a great way to share valuable information, help, tips and advice to your subscribers. You can include blogs, videos, articles, tips, quotes and anything you think your subscribers will love – the aim is to show them that you’re a great fit for them and you know your stuff.
4. Showcase Your Products And Services Using E-Newsletters
E-newsletters are brilliant for reminding your subscribers what you sell. They might have bought loads from you, or they might not have bought from you YET. Either way, it never hurts to let your fans know what’s on offer. There’s a good chance that lots of your customers are buying stuff from other people that they could be buying from YOU, just because they’re not aware you sell it. What a waste! A monthly e-newsletter with a different product/service spotlight each time (along with the benefits it brings, how it helps, why your subscribers should care) can remind your audience why they need to come back to your website and have a good look around.
5. E-Newsletters Versus Social Media
Social Media is fickle. The rules change regularly. Facebook’s algorithm is one of the great mysteries of the Universe and it’s getting harder and harder to be seen and heard as thousands of new people every day flood onto Social Media. What’s a girl to do?
Well, if you’re clever (which you are) you build a subscriber list as we’ve outlined above. You get really clear on whom you’d love to have on your subscriber list – not just anyone and everyone but those people who are MOST LIKELY TO BUY – your SUPER CUSTOMERS! They are where you need to be focusing your energy, efforts and time.
[Tweet “Stop trying to market to everyone – focus your attention on those most likely to buy! #tgmb”]
Build a subscriber list of Super Customers then send them regular e-newsletters showcasing what you do, showing them you’re a great fit for them, demonstrating that you’re an expert and you know your stuff and making them feel like you care – building a relationship with them. You’re not at the mercy of Social Media. You send your emails direct to their phone or tablet. You include a juicy, enticing headline that makes your subscribers WANT to open your email and you wow them. You can do that. Just keep in mind why they are a brilliant fit for you, how you can help them and why they should care.
E-newsletters bring your marketing back within YOUR control rather than being at the mercy of a crowded timeline.
6. E-Newsletters Create Sales
If I haven’t convinced you yet that e-newsletters are a necessity rather than a nice to have and that they are a brilliant business tool, let me share a secret with you. Twice this year I sent out an offer to my subscriber list. The first email brought me £12,000 of business. The second email a month later brought me £18,000. £30k from 2 emails. Convinced?
Make it a top priority to build your subscriber list. Come up with an irresistible freebie that will attract the right people onto your list. Then keep in touch with them – regularly! Don’t just send one or two e-newsletters and give up because you think no-one’s reading them. Keep at it, it can take 3-6 months before your subscribers even register you’re sending them – by that point they will look forward to them if you’re doing it right.
Let me know how YOU are using e-newsletters to build your business. What do you include? How often do you send yours? What works best for you? Why not comment below and we can see what’s working best for different people.
Let’s face it, Facebook is a tricky beast.
One week you get great reach and feel like you’ve cracked it, the next it’s like shouting into an empty cave and yet you’ve done nothing different. I get it. It happens to me too and because it happens to me, I’ve learned how to work around this unpredictability as best I can. I’ve come up with 5 ways to get people talking on my Facebook page and one or two of them usually work, no matter what Facebook’s algorithm is up to.
Are You Talking To The Right People?
There is another aspect of this, however, you need to be really clear on and that’s your audience. If you have the wrong audience, it doesn’t matter how many tips you put into practise, you are never going to get them engaged. Before you waste hours of your time and tons of energy trying to liven up your Facebook page, make sure you are talking to the right people. The trick to this is to make sure you’re attracting your Super Customers (here’s a podcast I recorded about it, and here’s another and HERE is a cheatsheet I made especially for you!).
Once you have the right people on your Facebook page, getting them talking becomes waaaaay easier.
So, assuming you’re fully up to speed with your Super Customer, let’s look at some ways to get people talking on your business Facebook page.
OK. Let’s Get Them Engaged
One thing I find works well for me is when I issue a challenge – say around money or accountability, marketing or ‘me’ time. When I issue a challenge it seems to touch a nerve and get people talking. I might say ‘OK, for the next 7 days I want you to get really clear on the money in your business. Every day I’ll post a little task for you to do and by the end of the 7 days you’ll know what your costs are, what your profit margin in, what the most profitable products in your business are, how to track them, etc’ and then I’ll schedule a daily post for the following 7 days. I will tell people to get notifications from my page and I show them how to do it so they don’t miss a post. Then I ask who’s joining me. It never fails to get my fans interested and engaged because it’s a mixure of accountability, peer support and they get real results at the end of it – and people love the competitive nature of it.
So, what challenges could you issue to YOUR fans? What would they enjoy? What would help them? What would be easier for them if they were held accountable and weren’t doing it alone? See what you can think of and test it out.
Something else you need to know- if it doesn’t work at first, don’t write it off, just try it again a few weeks later.
Sometimes I’ll make a little confession on my Facebook page – usually it’s because I’m going through mum guilt or I’ve not been looking after myself, something I know my fans will understand and resonate with.
I recently had a BAD MUM confession because my 7 year old daughter had to have teeth out and I felt dreadful, so I shared that I was feeling dreadful and why. Not only did it make me feel better, it also showed everyone else I’m just a normal mum like them and I got a huge outpouring of support with other mums sharing what had happened to them.
[Tweet “Ditch the ‘professional face’ and show people you’re human if you want to build relationships”]
Showing people that you are a real person and that you’re human like them can go a long way to getting them to know, like and trust you. It’s too easy to hide behind your business brand and be ‘professional’ but remember, people buy people and sometimes showing your fans that they are not alone can make a big difference. I’m not suggesting for one minute that you divulge your deepest, darkest secrets – I’m suggesting you show your human side and see what happens.
3. Make A ‘Rough ‘n’ Ready’ Video
There is nothing like hearing and seeing someone to help build relationships in business- it works far better and far quicker than a page full of words. And don’t wait until you’ve had your hair done and you look like a glamourpuss – just do it! With your hair as it is. With no makeup. Getting your hands dirty and without hours of practise. The best videos I’ve seen are people talking passionately about what they do, sharing fabulous information and not looking like they’ve been in make-up for hours, with perfect lighting and a cheesy soundtrack. The best videos come from the heart.
[Tweet “The best videos come from the heart – ditch your video fears and get one made today”]
Videos are BRILLIANT for engagement and reach on Facebook and lots of other social media platforms, so don’t let your perfectionism stop you becoming a video queen.
Get over your video nerves and stop worrying about what people will think – they just want to learn and if you can show them something they will love, they’ll keep coming back and they will tell their friends about you, too.
4. Ask For Suggestions
If you’re making a decision about what product to make next or you’re wondering whether to offer a particular service, put it out to your Facebook fans. There’s no better way to help them feel involved than asking them for their opinion.
Even better, why not get them to vote on something? I’ve seen this done really well with products and services, where you give several options and ask your fans which one they prefer. If your business lends itself to it, show them photos – make a montage on Canva and put a letter next to each option, to make it easy for them to vote.
If you have the right fans on your page, they will take a second to click and give you their vote – it’s a tiny thing but it gets them engaged and makes them feel that you’re listening AND you get valuable feedback. The times I’ve seen this done best are when craft businesses use it and show photos of the options and before very long, they have orders flooding in as a result.
[Tweet “Making people feel involved in your business is the best form of marketing!”]
5. Share Something Controversial
This one isn’t for the faint-hearted but if you want to get people talking on your Facebook page, share an opinion or ask a question that you know is controversial.
You will certainly get people talking and you might get a few heated words, depending on the topic, but it will also bring another benefit. You will get rid of the people who are not aligned with your views and you’ll turn some of your Facebook fans into loyal tribe members, who love what you stand for.
One of my lovely clients deals with baby sleep issues and her stance is not to let babies ‘cry it out’ and she talks about that on her page. This is a HUGELY emotive topic because every mum has strong opinions on the way they have raised their children so she gets some colourful arguments going on – some people storm off in a ‘virtual’ huff and others stick around, happy that they have found other people who think like they do. You have to be prepared to stand up for yourself (in a lovely but firm way) and know that you will never please everyone – and that’s a good thing. Business that try to please everyone end up as beige and vanilla – they don’t stand out, they blend in with all the other mediocre businesses out there. I’d love you to be Marmite instead (here’s a blog I wrote on this exact topic!).
[Tweet “Better to be Marmite and stand out than be a beige, vanilla also-ran…”]
What You Need To Do Now
So, if you’re struggling to get people talking on your Facebook page, here’s what you need to do.
First of all, make sure you’re attracting the right Facebook fans or you may as well not bother. Secondly pick one or two of these and give them a try – if they don’t work, try mixing them up and give another idea a try. And don’t assume just because something doesn’t work once, it won’t again – it totally might. Facebook is so unpredicatable that you just need to keep trying different things regularly and see which work for you at any given time.
Have you tried any of these? How did they go for you? And which one out of these 5 do you think might work best for you now?
Leave a comment and we’ll see what types of results we’re getting! Good luck!
Most mornings you’ll find me being dragged through wet grass by a small, noisy, hairy thing that occasionally stops to poop. It’s one of my favourite parts of the day!
I love it because it gives me time to chill after a (usually) frantic school morning. Meggy and I wait with Chloe at the bus stop, wave her off and then we head for the river.
This morning I was laughing at my crazy little puppy.
She LOVES the long grass so instead of sticking to the path, I always head for the ‘ruff’ off to the side (did you see what I did there?).
Meggy’s favourite thing is to run off to one side, chasing butterflies, birds, imaginary rabbits until she runs out of lead, then turn around and run and jump through the grass until she reaches her limit at the other side.
This goes on for an hour! She’s a happy puppy and travels about four times the distance I do, so she’s good and worn out by the time we get home.
This morning, watching her chasing through the grass, it reminded me of you!
Every week on my Facebook page, on Twitter and on my website I get questions from ladies who are struggling with their business. They tell me what they do and guess what? It’s not too much different from my puppy.
They Chase Any Opportunity, Willy Nilly
They chase around after opportunities, never really stopping to think if it’s a GOOD, RELEVANT opportunity that will help them build their business.
They aren’t picky, just like Meggy they get distracted by something flying by and they feel compelled to chase it.
Then they run of out steam, stop for a little while and then get distracted by something flying past in the opposite direction, so off they run again.
No wonder they are tired out!
[Tweet “Be picky about which opportunities to chase, or you’ll wind up exhausted and empty-handed!”]
They Have No Focus
Now I’m not sure Meggy would know what to do with a bird or a butterfly if she caught it but rest assured, she never will.
She has no focus.
She wouldn’t spend time trying to catch any one thing, she just runs after the latest thing to catch her attention.
Does this sound familiar?
How often have you sat down to get something done and been distracted by social media, texts, emails, a neighbour, in fact anything that is going on around you when what you NEED to do is focus on one thing and get it finished.
[Tweet “Distractions will wreck your business – you can’t build a business if you never finish anything”]
They Go The Long Way Round
I told you that Meggy probably walks 4 times as far as me, by the time she’s run backwards and forwards and out to the side, criss-crossing my path 100 times at least during the walk.
Talk about the long way round!
How many times have you gone the long way round in your business?
How many times have you had to re-learn something because you didn’t write it down the first time?
How often have you redone something several times because you didn’t plan it out before you started?
How much time have you wasted overthinking when you just need a clear vision and targets, and it would be obvious what you need to do?
[Tweet “Are you going the long way round in your business? Time to get clear on your goals!”]
So, my puppy and your business might have more in common than you think.
In Meggy’s case it’s a great thing that she tires herself out during our morning walk but for you, not so good!
You need to put your energy and attention into the thing that will make a difference in your business – the things that will take your business forward.
You don’t have surplus resources to waste chasing after ill-thought-through opportunities, being sidetracked by distractions or taking the long way round.
My challenge to you today is to learn from my puppy and do the OPPOSITE – leave the puppy approach to marketing to others who don’t know better!
If you loved this blog, I’d love to hear from you. Are YOU guilty of the puppy approach? Do you see other people doing it? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Love, Claire xx
If you’re a local business it can feel like you don’t know where to start with your marketing. After all, you’re in the same town as lots of other people with similar businesses to yours. How can you stand out? How can you differentiate yourself and most of all, how can you get more enquiries and clients?
I’ve put together 15 ideas to help get your brain whirring. Not all of these will work for your business but think about those that MIGHT work. Don’t discount any just because that’s not the way accountants/beauty salons/marketing consultants do things – that’s the whole point! This isn’t about doing what everyone else does or doing things the way they’ve always been done. This is about thinking from a new perspective and being brave. I’ve got loads more ideas that I’ll share in other blogs, so keep an eye on my website, but for now here are a few to get you started.
1. Local Directories
Where I live there are directories of North East UK businesses, or even town-specific directories where you can list your business, your website and your social media links. Search for business directories or sector-specific directories (arts, crafts, therapists) in your area and list your business. I know it can feel like a real chore to come up with what to say but remember, you never know where you’ll be found first so make sure that all your business listings properly reflect your business and your professionalism. Come up with some wording that talks to the people you’re trying to attract (as opposed to trying to attract everyone) and that says in a nutshell what you do, for whom and why they should care. Prepare a longer version and a short, snappy version in case there’s a strict word count and literally cut, paste and edit every time you do a new listing. This will help you get found on the search engines as these directories tend to have pretty good SEO (search engine optimisation) so you may as well piggy back it and drive traffic to your website.
2. Business Clubs
Most towns have a business club or business network where businesses of all types get together regularly to network, learn and do business. Find out about your local business club and see how you can get involved. Some will have a monthly speaker, some have trade evenings or showcases, some have a website where you can list your business details as a member (see above). There is usually a nominal joining fee but local business clubs don’t tend to be too expensive as they are usually not-for-profit.
Many town/city councils run annual business awards, as do local Chambers of Commerce and other business organisations. Why not Google ‘business awards’ for your area and see what comes up. Business awards are great for PR as a local newspaper often partners with the award organisers, so winners and runners up get coverage in the local press as part of their prize. If you are mentioned, you can set up an ‘in the media’ page on your website and share a link to the page on the paper’s website. You can also shout on social media about being mentioned/being a winner so that you squeeze some more mileage out of it. Finally, it will be great for SEO again as your business name will be mentioned on a newpaper’s website, and newspapers often invest a lot of time and effort in SEO for their own site.
4. Networking Groups
Apart from business clubs, there are loads of other networking groups out there – some paid and some free or pay on the day. Find out which networking groups work for you – they won’t all be a good fit. Think about who you’re trying to attract and pick your groups accordingly. By all means visit them all once just to see what they are like but be selective about which you join. It’s very easy to get into the habit of attending everything but you really just want those that attract your potential customers and give you a chance to get to know people who could help your business. Think about how you can be easily referrable, too, when you turn up at a networking event. Have a sentence that describes what you do ‘I help mums to get their children to sleep through the night’ or ‘I help women build brilliant businesses’ or ‘I create luxury garden spaces for anyone who can afford me’ (!). It’s much easier to refer someone when you’re really clear about what they do. It’s easier to refer an accountant who helps women-owned small businesses, particularly crafters, than just ‘an account’. Do you see? Be referrable!
5. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Yes, I known it sounds scary. I know it sounds like something your web person should be doing for you and yes, that would be great but SEO is also YOUR responsibility. You need to make sure you’re creating regular new content for your website (blogging is great for this) and mentioning all of the things your ideal customers are going to be searching for. For a local business, you want to be found when someone types in ‘reflexologist darlington’ or ‘children’s dance class epsom’ or whatever and wherever your business is. So, think about this. What WILL your ideal customers be typing into Google? What words and terms will they use? And how can you incorporate them into your website without it looking and sounding contrived? Make sure your about page says what you do and for whom. Make sure you have a contact page that says where you are, even if you don’t include your full address. Don’t miss out on a chance to get found!
6. Your Business Facebook Page
You might think that your Facebook page is just another chore but actually, it could be bringing you business if your ideal customers are out there in Facebook world. Apart from the fact that Facebook appears in Google searches (often before your website) it’s also a great platform to showcase what you do, build relationships, build credibility and drive sales and enquiries. Facebook lets you upload short videos, post photos, run competitions, do polls (you might need to get an app for some of these), start discussions, run business clinics, all sorts of things that you could use to promote your business. You can choose Local Business as an option when you set up your page and that lets you include a map and have the reviews function available on your page. If your ideal customers aren’t on there, don’t spend much time on Facebook but DO make sure you’ll filled out your ‘about’ section just in case someone does find you on there first.
Blogging is a great marketing tool for any business but it works really well for local businesses because you can use it to help you get found in the search engines. Think about what your ideal customers, those people who are most likely to buy from you and whom you’d really like to attract, are going to be putting into Google and come up with some ideas for blogs. Think about what questions they might have before they consider buying. Think about how they might use your product or service and whether you can help them get more out of it. You can use your blog as a ‘day in the life’ type diary where you showcase new stock, team members, trade shows or networking events you’ve attended. Think about sharing industry news, celeb trends or whatever relates to your business. Don’t underestimate blogs, a prospective customer will always have a good dig around your website and if they see regular blogs that show your personality and how you do business, that’s going help them decide if you are for them.
Twitter works really well for local businesses as you can build up a local following. Often there are local Twitter Hours for a town or region where you can get to know who else is out there and find new referrers, customers and networking buddies. Lots of people put shouts out on Twitter when they are looking for a certain type of business and often there are hashtags for certain towns, to help people narrow down their search. If Twitter takes your fancy (and it’s not for everyone) start by following the editor of your local paper, the chair of your local business club, your local MP and any other well known bods from your town. This will give you a good idea of what’s going on around your area and will also give you ideas for other people to follow and get to know.
9. Your Own Events
Events are an excellent way to market a local business – when I had a marketing agency we ran free social media training sessions for local businesses and it helped us get to know loads of really useful contacts, many of whom loved our training and turned into customers. Think about whether you could run free or good value workshops and training sessions for local customers, if it fits with your business.
10. Facebook Groups
Depending on your type of business, Facebook groups could be a great way to get known. Some towns have FB groups for local business owners, or for certain types of business. Search on Facebook for your town and the word ‘business’ and see what comes up. Also if you’re targeting local mums, there are loads of mums groups you could join. Think about where your ideal customers will be hanging out together online and see if you can add value. By that I mean don’t join groups and just spam/sell – that’s going to switch everyone off you and lose you friends quicker than a skunk with dogpoo on its shoe. Instead, see how you can help people, refer people and become known as a trustworthy person to approach rather than someone who takes every opportunity to foist their unwanted products on you.
Public Relations or PR is a great option for local businesses and it’s easier than you think. Local papers get more readers by covering local people.Local radio stations get more listeners by featuring local people. So, they are always on the lookout for local stories and your business could be featured. Think about what might be NEWS in your business. Have you won a big contract? Got a new member of staff? Moved into new premises? Got a business anniversary coming up? Won an award? What could you include in a press release for your local radio station or newspaper. And don’t be put off by ‘press releases’ – my local business editor is always happy to get an email saying ‘this is happening in my business, is it the sort of thing you could cover? – he’ll fire an email back which is always ‘not really, sorry’ or ‘tell me more’. It’s easy peasy. Also, get a good photo to go with it. Photos fill space and get you more coverage and DON’T always go for the boring ‘shaking hands with bank person/landlord/customer’ or ‘team standing on stairs’ type images, be innovative! You’re much more likely to get noticed and a good photo could get you featured where the story alone wouldn’t.
Building up a list of email subscribers is a MUST for any business, but it’s even more important for local businesses because you can drive sales right to your door if you do it right. Come up with a way to get people onto your email list – either a discount code, or a free checklist or ebook, something your ideal customers will love. Then email out every month. If you’re a professional services business, become known for sharing great tips and advice in your field. Become a ‘go to resource’ rather than just an other accountant, architect, solicitor or whatever. Build relationships with your subscribers. Show you’re credible. I KNOW it takes time to put together a monthly email but put yourself into the mind of the people you’re trying to attract and share what you know they will find useful. This will set you apart from all the other similar local businesses out there. Also, when you DO have an offer or deal, you can whiz out a ‘QUICK, DON’T MISS THIS’ email to your subscribers and wait for the phone to start ringing. It’s a way to get straight to their inbox and most people check their emails on their phone several times per day, so you can get their attention very quickly. Once you start, be consistent. Don’t do 2 or 3 then give up. Make it a priority and after a few months you’ll find it turns into a talked-about, fabulous marketing tool.
13. Posters and Flyers
These can be GREAT for local businesses, depending who you’re trying to attract. If you’re looking for dog owners in certain neighbourhood, flyers are great. If you’re targeting pensioners, a poster in the post office or village hall could get you right in front of the right people. If you’re looking for town centre business customers, an afternoon spent leafleting and chatting to the business owners could drive a ton of business, and a poster in the local coffee shop or popular cafes could drive enquiries. Be selective. This won’t work for every business and could actually waste a ton of time, money and energy unless it’s thought through but for the right business, this could very quickly drive sales. The main thing you need to think about is the message or offer. You have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention so think carefully about the words you use, the offer itself, the image that goes with it and make sure it’s instantly clear what it’s about and what people need to do.
14. Loyalty Schemes
Loyalty cards aren’t just for coffee shops and beauty salons (although they do work brilliantly for that type of business). Even if your industry doesn’t traditionally offer loyalty schemes, why not be the ones to buck the trend and do something new. How could you use a loyalty scheme to encourage repeat custom and referrals? Think about what you could offer, how you could incentivise it, how to make it top of your customer’s mind. People love being rewarded and they are usually very happy to keep coming back and refer you, IF THEY REMEMBER. Your job is to stay top of mind, remind them about the scheme, mention it in your e-newsletter, have a sign up in your office or shop. Your loyalty scheme could end up creating an army of free salespeople.
Competitions are an excellent way to market your local business. You can run them on social media using carefully targeted ads or you can do a real-life in-person competition. A client of mine was a maternity reflexologist and instead of running a competition alone, we decided she should approach other businesses targeting mums-to-be and new mums and create a bigger competition. She got together with a photographer, a babywear shop, a beauty salon and a couple of other baby-related businesses in the same town. They each donated a prize, so it was a SUPER prize. They each promoted out to their own email lists and via social media and competition entrants were made aware that they would join the mailing lists of each prize donor, but could unsubscribe at any time. They approached their local paper and got coverage as a fab example of businesses working together. With competitions, be very clear about who you want to attract to enter. Come up with a prize that will attract the right people, rather than freebie hunters. Finally, make sure you gather email addresses and put a message on the entry form that you will be adding entrants to your mailing list and will announce the winner by email.
So, that’s a few ideas to keep you going – I’ve got a whole lot more coming in 15 MORE Ways To Market Your Local Business. Keep your eyes peeled! I’d love to know if these have worked for you or given you food for thought – let me know in the comments!
I hate Marmite. I can’t stand the smell, let alone the taste. If I have to make Marmite on toast for my daughter, I hold my breath so I don’t smell the fumes. My hubby and daughter? They LOVE it. They ask for Marmite chocolate for Christmas every year *bork* then come over and breathe on me because they know it turns me green. Marmite is something that splits a population. As the saying goes, you either love it or hate it – can you imagine a brand SO strong that your brand name gets used in common parlance? Talk about amazing marketing!
And yet having a strong, distinctive offering like Marmite takes some guts.
You know before you start that half the population is going to hate your stuff. That’s enough to make any business owner quake in their boots and it’s why most of us avoid any Marmite type offerings and opt for a vanilla flavour to all of our products & services. Vanilla doesn’t offend anyone. Vanilla is plain. Vanilla isn’t emotion-provoking. Vanilla is safe. People won’t LOVE it or HATE it, they’ll all be OK with it. Hmmm.
Leave Vanilla For Your Icecream
The trouble is, Vanilla isn’t memorable and it certainly won’t stand out in a crowd. It will blend in with all the other Vanilla offerings of your competitors. It won’t attract passionate, loyal fans as they can find Vanilla anywhere, so why come to you? Which is why I’m urging you to ditch vanilla! Because it’s safe and inoffensive and will please most people without making them sit up and go ‘WOW!’
I bet that at least one, if not more of your products and services are vanilla. Safe. Boring. Designed to appeal to as many people as possible, inoffensive and a bit ‘meh’. Your approach to marketing is probably vanilla. Safe. Boring. Designed to appeal to as many people as possible, inoffensive and a bit ‘meh’. Do you see a pattern here?
Don’t get me wrong, I understand why you’ve done it.
You think that by appealing to as many people as possible, you’ll make more money. But you’re wrong. When we start out in business we want customers. ANY customers. So we go all out with our Vanilla marketing, right down the middle of the road trying to attract anyone at all who might buy. And before long we have bad-fit customers, we have no customer loyalty, we end up in price competitions with our competitors because, let’s face it no-one can tell the difference between you (you’re both Vanilla) so it HAS TO come down to price.
Boring, inoffensive Vanilla-ish products don’t speak to anyone. They aren’t memorable. They don’t make people say ‘OMG she’s talking to me, I NEED her!’ when they read your marketing. They don’t inspire anyone. No-one talks about them. Vanilla is boring.
Marmite businesses self-filter.
They inspire people who ADORE them. The people who aren’t a good fit don’t even bother to look. You only attract those people who love what you do. And you don’t even bother with the rest, you don’t need to. You won’t waste money marketing to people who are never going to buy. You won’t blend in. You’ll be memorable.
I’d rather be Marmite. I’d rather be a ‘love it or loathe it’ type of business, because that’s when magic starts to happen. Maybe not so extreme – I don’t REALLY want haters, because that’s not an emotion I want to bring out in anyone but I’d rather be the type of business that people either immediately GET and ‘click with’ or they don’t.
How do you add Marmite to your business?
Well, you need to BE YOU. In technicolour. That’s the simplest, best way to stand out and let people self-filter.
Look at my business – I’m from North East England. I have a pretty strong accent. I have wild, curly hair that never behaves on videos. I have had business failures and made loads of mistakes along the way and I talk about them. I’m straight talking and tell it like it is. I’m a mum, raising my 6 year old while running my business. I’m passionate about marketing. I’m a bit of a Marmite business – some people can’t stand me! And that’s great, because for every person who feels that way, I have another who really enjoys my approach. So I talk to them!
So, lovely lady. I challenge you to add a little Marmite to your business today.
Here are some ways you can do it:
1. Stop using ‘professional’ speak in your marketing. Be you. Talk as you really talk. Let your personality shine through.
2. Go against the grain. If everyone else in your sector does things a certain way, do the opposite!
3. Talk to ONE type of person in your business. Stop trying to please everyone. Figure out who is most likely to buy from you, who will be passionate about your stuff and market to THEM. Whether it huffs or pleases the rest. Don’t try to be everything to everyone – think Marmite!
So, are you going to be brave? How are you going to Marmite your business? Let me know in the comments, I can’t wait to hear from you!
Love, Claire xx