Marketing plays a really important role in Small Business.
It makes people aware of your business, it invites your target audience to engage with your brand. It can encourage loyalty, it helps fuel word-of-mouth, it can drive people to contact you to find out more about what you sell.
It can help communicate key messages and differentiate you from your competition and, it can support sales and business development efforts.
But there is something that marketing won’t do:
The simple act of marketing will not allow the rest of the business to sit back and wait for the marketing to do all of the heavy lifting.
If your marketing is effective and it starts driving customers your way, then ensuring that the rest of your business is ready to pick up the ball once your customers arrive will significantly increase your chance of winning that sale.
There are at least four areas of your business that can help to deliver a seamless and remarkable experience for both you and your customer from ‘wo to go’:
Your customer service is the front line of your business. They are one of the main touch points for your customer and therefore they heavily contribute to your brand. This means that it needs to present a favourable impression.
You certainly don’t want to spend good marketing dollars driving people to your business only to have them walk away because one of your customer service team has let you down.
This function works hand-in-hand with your marketing efforts. Relationships are key in business and people certainly connect with people a lot more than an automated sales funnel.
Your marketing may help move people through the sales funnel, however at some point in their customer journey, your customer may benefit in speaking to a person. This is particularly the case for professional service businesses.
Just as your customer service acts as a front line to your business, so can your salespeople. If you are a retail store, for example, these will be the first people that your customers come into contact with. Think about the positive impression that an energetic, smiley and polite salesperson can make when you are shopping. This would definitely add to a customer’s overall experience with your brand.
Selling is not easy. It’s actually quite an art. Some people feel really icky about closing a deal as they don’t want to come across as too pushy. Alternatively, some people are the opposite and they do come across as too pushy and this can turn customers away.
A question I often ask a new client when I first start working with them is:
“If the marketing we do generates X number of new customers within the next six months, do you have the resources to be able to service it?”
Of course, this is a great problem to have, however, if you do not plan for how you will service extra business then you stand a good chance of letting down all those new customers that your marketing brings through the doors. Or even worse, you’ll let down your existing clients or customers as you try desperately to service the new ones.
If you have invested into your brand and your marketing so that all of your promotional touch points are looking fabulous and on point, then whatever you do, make sure that your shop front or office reflects this as well.
Your physical space is part of your brand experience. People will get a gut feel from crossing the threshold into your business. This may sound a bit woo woo but there is definitely an energy that is created with your physical presence.
When assessing your bricks and mortar, consider your location as well as the look and feel of your building, the interior, any signage. Even look at the other businesses that surround yours. How does their presentation reflect upon yours? Does it match up to the marketing and branding promises you have promoted?
There are multiple factors to consider in your business to ensure that your marketing investment provides you with the return that you are looking for.
When you take a synergistic and cohesive approach to leveraging your marketing spend across your whole business, you will significantly increase the chance of converting an interested prospect into a happy, raving and loyal customer.