Communication is essential for humans, let alone businesses. For a small business to function properly, information needs to be able to flow from the top down and back up the chain. Everyone involved, whether owner, employee or client, must have a clear method to share and receive ideas.
Small businesses generally consist of fifty people or less, so internal communication is pretty easy. But what are the best methods for small businesses to communicate externally, and what benefits are to be had from focusing on external communication?
Reaching Your Small Business Target Demographic
One of the top priorities of small businesses from the onset should be to identify the types of clients they would like to attract. If you want to create an appropriate marketing strategy, it is of the utmost importance that you know exactly who you want to market to, otherwise your small business will end up wasting a lot of time and money. Once you know the group you’re targeting, communication can begin.
External communication is a way of disseminating information about your small business to the general public. Some of the more conventional methods would be by means of publication of an article, a newsletter, or an advertisement in newspapers or on the television, but in today’s day and age, digital communication is prime.
Most businesses create social media accounts specifically for marketing purposes or they produce blogs. Email is also another method of digital communication. The majority of people have their email accounts tied directly to their phones, so your business essentially has direct access to clients at any time of the day.
What’s most important here is for your small business to identify the places where your target clients “hang out”. If your business is centered around the makeup industry, maybe you would want to strategically place advertisements in physical locations like salons, beauty stores, and beauty colleges, where they would be seen by potential customers. Then you may also want to look online for popular websites and social media pages and try to communicate with the page owner about advertising, collaborating on a project or being a guest writer on their site.
There are many ways you can strategically target and communicate with potential customers. You just need to know where to look.
Determine What to Communicate
As part of your marketing strategy, you will first want to inform the general public about who you are and what you do. Keep it short and sweet, but ensure that within the first few seconds of being exposed to your advertisement the client can easily determine whether or not you would be a good fit for the type of service they need.
One of the easiest ways to attract the attention of potential clients is to share promotions and offers. Give the public an opportunity to try your services for free or at a discounted price. Not many people will jump into business with a company they don’t know much about, but a lot of them will try out a company if they feel the deal is good enough. Offer deals that you would want if you were the customer and remember that for every customer that takes you up on your offer, you’re getting the chance to expose them to your company and show them why they should continue doing business with you.
Another way to look at it would be to think of it as bridging the gap between the customers and the small business. Essentially, you’re building trust. Through sending out newsletters with personal reflections on the industry or by sharing what your company has to offer or even by posting videos from the office, your customers get to virtually experience the heart of your business, and that is a big deal for a lot of customers.
Keep Your Customers Happy
Once you’ve piqued people’s interest in your small business, let the customers feel that they are heard by allowing the lines of communication to be open both ways. They have heard what you have to offer, now let them tell you what they want or need from you.
Most of us want to be heard. This is especially true of your customers. Therefore, a valuable resource for small businesses to be able to hear from their customers is through feedback forms or surveys. It is one of the quickest ways for small business owners to learn whether or not they have satisfied the customers’ needs and if there are suggestions to consider.
Though gaining feedback in this manner is very useful for you, not many people will be willing to answer a survey they have been emailed, so one-on-one communication is usually the best. People also generally respect businesses who make an effort to personally reach out for follow-ups. It will go a long way in keeping a rapport between your customers and your small business.
Websites can also be useful for providing customer access to your business. You can provide a contact form, wherein they can easily send an email directly to staff members or you could create a portal or a message board where both customers and stakeholders could converse with each other. Topics that may be covered would include feedback, opinions, comments and suggestions.
As always, every business has its own methods and strategies when it comes to marketing. Not everything that works for one company – even a company in the same industry as yours – will necessarily work for you. Your small business has a unique edge to it, so it is up to you to attract unique clientele that would be a good fit for you.
~ Maria Kristine, Tuxedo Impressions LLC™