By Christine Tobin
It’s easy to push marketing to one side when you’re busy with the day-to-day running of your business – whether you sell products or offer services.
It can feel hectic having to keep all the plates spinning, from family life to business. Marketing is often the first casualty when it all gets too much.
But taking the decision to not market your business each day is like drawing down the shutters, closing the door and putting the closed sign up.
You might not feel the impact of it straight away, but if you lose sales momentum, it will be difficult to get it back.
Having a conversation with customers and prospective customers should be part of your everyday business. Marketing requires investment – both financial and the resource of time.
So, here are some marketing tips for your business to ensure you keep the foot on the pedal and keep those shutters up.
1: Your digital front desk
Remember that your social media is your digital front desk. You wouldn’t leave your actual front desk unattended, so the same rules apply online.
Establish and grow your social media platforms and be available to answer questions, provide customer service, engage and showcase what you do and who you are.
2: Your website is your digital salesperson
When people have a problem, they turn to Google so ensure that you’re online to be part of their solution. Your website should be your best salesperson as it’s working for you while you sleep. Make sure it’s up to date, has engaging content, is mobile optimised and functions well so that customers can enjoy their shopping experience and return again and again. Contact the Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office and ask about trading online vouchers to subsidise the cost of your website development.
3: Fish for food each day
Whether you reel in customers one at a time or cast out a huge PR net and connect with lots of new customers, be sure to be working on your marketing each day. What feeds you today, won’t feed you tomorrow so keep those plates spinning. You’ll find that 20% of your marketing work is bringing in 80% of your business. Axe what doesn’t work or amend it and then focus on what does work.
4: Connect your marketing activities
Strategy will win over tactics every time. Connect your website, social media and PR efforts with a digital strategy.
Operating in marketing silos will cause consumer confusion, could result in mixed messaging and can downright stifle your efforts, wasting your time and money.
5: Treat your online followers as a community, not consumers
Whether you manage your platforms yourself, or contract it out, ensure it is inspiring, educational, informative and engaging.
Your followers are people, with lives. Always think about them as the end user of your content and consider their relationship with your product and service. There is often a culture attached to your service or product which you can chat with them about. While growing your followers is great, don’t forget to retain the ones you’ve already won.
6: Be human (but not too human)
The best social media managers are immersed in the business and create content from inside. But whatever you do, have boundaries. Don’t bring your personal life online. It’s ok to share pictures of your pets but be professional and never air your dirty laundry on social media.
7: Be authentic
So many businesses just dump a post or product photo on their social media and then disappear. If someone did that in a bricks and mortar shop or business, how would it feel to the customer? Approach social media as you approach customer service in store or in your office/business. Know your audience. Be conversational. Be authentic and earn their trust.
8: Never sacrifice your customer service
Never ignore good customer service because you spend too much time online looking to boost vanity metrics. The best sales come from referrals from existing clients and customers, so give your quality time and let your social media have what’s left.
Christine Tobin is a Marketing and PR Consultant and Coach, based in Kilkenny and working with businesses across Ireland. Check out more tips on www.solasmediasolutions.com.
She is also presenting a Network Kilkenny webinar called ‘Ten Tips For Getting Positive Publicity For Your Business’ on Tuesday, 9 November.
Register at networkireland.ie.