3 Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners to Succeed in 2021Editorial Team
By Megan Wintersteen, Vice President of Marketing at Zenreach
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic took a heavy toll on small businesses (SMBs) throughout 2020. Moving through 2021, however, we’ve seen increasing signs of optimism. Consumer foot traffic to restaurants and retailers has increased more than 52% since January. Vaccination rates are also climbing. Most of the debilitating restrictions have been lifted as well.
Even as concerns over the Delta variant grow, there is good news for SMBs. The consumer foot traffic to small businesses (<10 locations) seems to be around 60% higher than the national lift in foot traffic since January. Furthermore, it’s also outpacing larger, enterprise-level businesses by 14%.
Consumers are now aware and actively supporting small businesses, as well. According to a recent study from Shopkick, consumers are more conscious about their purchase behaviors in the pandemic. 65% of consumers are now choosing to support small and local businesses whenever possible.
It’s evident that the incremental support is much needed and especially encouraged coming out of last year. And this is the time for small business owners to think about marketing. Small business owners should seize this opportunity to acquire new customers and engage lapsed customers.
Humans are creatures of habit. 2021 is all about establishing new relationships and routines that were disrupted in 2020. Now is the time to capitalize on open-mindedness with discovery intent being at an all-time high. Here we’ve compiled three marketing tips for small business owners to continue to succeed in 2021.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about the key small business marketing tips.
1. Get to Know Your Customers
Have you started escalating customer data collection as a priority yet? If you haven’t, you’re already behind. In this day and age, “customer data” has to go beyond the email address. To make all the difference to your bottom line in the long run you need to do two things. Increase the amount of data you collect about each customer. Then maintain a database that makes it actionable. Using the data to segment your customers by new vs return visitors, visit frequency, average order value, purchase preferences, demographics, etc. This will develop targeted marketing efforts and pay off in droves. Consider that 91% of consumers prefer the brands providing offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. Personalized messaging is not a nice-to-have any more, it is now a standard expectation.
And while this may sound like a big undertaking, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of tools on the market that makes this easy. Zenreach is one such tool. This platform allows you to create labels for specific audiences based on when (time and date) they visited your establishment. Consider the personalization opportunities for a midweek lunch guest vs. happy hour guest vs. the weekend dinner crowd for a restaurant.
2. Measure What Matters
Are you a business with a physical location? You must assign the right key performance indicators (KPIs) to your marketing efforts vs. typical vanity metrics. Understanding the open rate on your latest email send is still important, but how does that translate into actual revenue? To answer this, you need to follow our second small business marketing tip. Employ technologies to measure customer foot traffic to your location. This is not just possible but also affordable and imperative.
Both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar businesses should have holistic visibility into how the customers are converting (online vs offline). This may help you identify new customer segments for more personalized marketing. Moreover, you will be able to better quantify the impact of your marketing efforts.
Let’s explain this with an example. A mini-golf center runs an ad campaign promoting online reservations for a weekend. For this, the best practice would be to understand the number of online reservations attributed to that campaign. However, with the addition of offline measurement, the business would also be able to see how many customers exposed to the advertising walked into golf over the next week simply because the activity entered their consideration set. In this example, the business is able to see the true return on investment versus only measuring ecommerce performance.
3. Keep Customers Coming Back
When considering the whole of your current customer base, chances are that the majority of them are casual customers versus regulars. Customers cycle in and out of your business. Therefore, it’s important to put mechanisms in place to re-engage them and encourage return visits after initial contact. Win-back email campaigns are heavily relied upon to re-engage lapsed customers. However, they also require that the consumer actually opens their email to be exposed to the message.
A newer, cutting-edge tactic for re-engaging lapsed customers is to launch an offline retargeting campaign. Online retargeting is when you serve ads to users who visit your website and leave. On the other hand, offline retargeting serves ads to customers who had previously visited your physical location. Email marketing lets you rely on the customers to open the email to be exposed to your content. But ad placements on paid social and programmatic display are not like emails. Such advertising gets your messaging front and center with or without customer engagement. This way you can target customers who have already visited you in some fashion. Therefore, the effectiveness of these campaigns is likely to be higher and more efficient.
There is another win-back strategy. It may take a bit of elbow grease, but can be very impactful. And the strategy is auditing and responding to business reviews. Take inventory of your 1-3 star reviews across Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Then extrapolate common themes to inform how you can make positive changes to your business. After identifying improvement opportunities, work to correct them and spin them into a marketing campaign.
Follow up with your customers to let them know “We fixed it!” Invite them back to give you a second chance. More often than not, customers will appreciate your willingness to take their feedback. As a result, they will give it another go. A great example of this is Domino’s Pizza Turnaround campaign. In this campaign, the company listened to customer feedback. The company also addressed the requested changes and authentically responded to customers via marketing and PR. Once upon a time, Domino’s used to struggle to keep up with Pizza Hut and the like. However, this campaign was a turning point for the chain. It now ranks as No. 1 as the pizza chain with the highest gross sales in the U.S.
Following the above-discussed tips will help you create an effective marketing strategy for your small business growth.
Megan Wintersteen is the Vice President of Marketing at Zenreach. Wintersteen joins Zenreach with more than 12+ years of experience across in-house Marketing departments and digital agencies. Most recently, she was the VP of Marketing at Bowlero Corporation. There she led all marketing initiatives as well as their ecommerce platforms. She has the sole focus on improving brand touchpoints and customer experience.
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