Keep Your Small Family Business RelevantRamon Ray
You’ve built your family-owned business from the ground up, and you want it to last. An establishment that’s sustainable for generations is a goal worth working for. But there’s one problem I’ve seen again and again in small family businesses– a tendency to focus too much inwards. Sometimes our focus on continuity and sustainability means we lose touch with external trends and competition. This is especially true when we neglect marketing and don’t focus on reaching out to the consumer in a fresh and current way.
Family businesses may stand for quality and unchanging, reliable service, and it’s easy to feel it’s hardly worth doing the small business marketing other companies might do.
Limited resources – time, money, and manpower – only exacerbate the problem.
But once we’ve lost touch with the consumer, we’ve lost our relevance in today’s world.
Think Blockbuster, Kodak and Xerox: they had something going, but they failed to evolve with their customers’ needs and ended up dead in the water.
So what do you need to do differently to not suffer the same fate? Let’s discuss 6 effective strategies to keep your family establishment alive and kicking.
Harness the Power of Social Media
In the search for relevance, social media has the potential to be your new best friend.
It allows the public to connect with your business on a personal, one-on-one level and that’s where you, as a small family business, have a unique potential to shine. The give and take of social media also means you get direct feedback from your customers– allowing you to keep up, effortlessly, which what is important to them, and to get instant tabs on what is working and what’s not.
A judicious use of social media will allow you to update your audience on any business news you might want to share, and gives you the potential to separate yourself from the competition.
It also gives you enormous reach: Facebook currently boasts 2.375 billion monthly users, and a full 1.49 billion visit the site every day.
It’s not only the individual user who sees your posts on social media you reach, but their friends and families as well. Research shows that 71% of customers who’ve had a good experience with a brand on social media are very likely to recommend that brand to family or friends.
So set up your social media accounts. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are a good place to start. You don’t need to have any tech knowledge to become the next social media star. Simply post consistently, and post content that reflects your values and identity. Use eye-catching visuals that engage your readers, and don’t skimp on video.
It doesn’t have to cost much – in fact, you can launch your social media campaign without spending a dime.
Take advantage of free graphic design programs like PosterMyWall that allow you to create professional graphics in minutes.
PosterMyWall offers thousands of ready-to-go templates optimized for all social media platforms, and all you have to do is to customize them for your business.
A handy one-click resize option allows you to reuse your creations across platforms, and, if you upgrade to the reasonably-priced Premium plan, you’ll be able to schedule your posts in advance and have them automatically posted on the time table you desire. A premium subscription also gives you access to such features as custom fonts and unlimited downloads.
One Step Closer: Email Marketing
If social media marketing allows you to get in on your consumer’s personal feed, email marketing goes even one step further, right into their inbox.
If you’ve got a jar full of business cards sitting on your desk, add them to your email list or set up a sign up form in your store or on your website if you have one to get customers to share their email addresses in exchange of a freebie.
Do make sure that everyone who gets your emails wants them– spammy email messages leave a bad impression. But if all the recipients of your email messages have opted in, they’ll look forward to your regular missives like letters from a friend.
Make sure that each email offers something of value; something that your clientele wants from you.
This may be generally helpful information, discount codes, or sneak peaks of something that you’re cooking up in the back room.
Spruce up your emails with branded graphics; you can also make these (with no cost outlay) on PosterMyWall.
A Live Glimpse of Who You Are: Utilizing Video Marketing
One way you can make both your social media posts and your emails more engaging is by including videos: videos that stop the scrolling finger and share just a little bit more of who you are and what you stand for.
Video is the new face of marketing. After all, six out of ten people would rather watch online videos than television, and users retain 90% of a message if they’ve watched it in a video. Compare that to the 10% retention rate when a text is read. These are big numbers if you are looking to increase your social media engagement.
According to MarTech Advisor, adding a video link to your email messages can increase click-through rates by 300%.
To get the full benefit of your video inclusion, include the word ‘video’ in email subject lines, and embed the video in your email. Use an eye-catching thumbnail that captures your reader’s attention on first glance.
All that begs the big question: where to find video for businesses that doesn’t burn through your budget?
Again PosterMyWall is a good source. Ready to go video templates allow you to simply add your logo or other information in a drag and drop interface, and you’ll have a professional video without having spent more than ten minutes of your time.
If you’ve signed up for a Premium Plus subscription you’ll have unlimited downloads, and PosterMyWall’s handy resize option means you can easily produce videos custom-sized for all your venues.
Old-Fashioned Marketing: Don’t Shelve It, Yet
I’ve talked about social media, email marketing, and the use of videos, but good old-fashioned marketing still has its place as well.
Create posters and flyers and put them up around your communities.
Make sure to include all the important details about your business, including who you are, what you do and how people can get in touch with you. Make your posters and flyers colorful, eye-catching and hard to walk past without taking a pause to read the content.
This is easy to do with PosterMyWall’s range of poster and flyer templates. Flyers with pull-off tabs have also proven to be especially good at drawing engagement – add your contact information to the tabs so interested people can simply tear off a tab and keep it with them for later as a makeshift business card. PosterMyWall lets you add this feature as well to your flyers and posters.
Keep your posters and small business flyers up to date and looking fresh by planning a regular circuit to check up on your placed ads. In busy places like cafes and mailrooms, bulletin boards can fill up quickly, and late comers may choose to layer over your poster when there’s no other place to post.
A weekly walk-through gives you a chance to un-bury your advertising and put it back where it can be seen.
Stay Involved in the Community
The more involved you are in your community the more your clientele will feel that you belong to them and are worth patronizing.
Earn yourself some good karma by contributing to community projects, and donate to high-profile causes you care about. Be present at community events, wearing company-branded hats, shirts, or other gear. Consider co-sponsoring little league sports, races, or road clean-ups. The trust and publicity you gain will be well worth any outlay.
Community involvement can win you some free advertising– but you may need to chase it. Send press releases to local papers after a sponsored event, detailing what you’ve done and why it matters. If you’d like a representative of the press to see you at work, consider preparing a pre-event press release so that your local media knows they should be paying attention and can schedule you in.
But perhaps the best way to stay relevant is simply to listen: to listen to your customers and to integrate their feedback into your business plan. Social media, email, and your presence at community events all offer prime opportunities for two-way communication. Setup interactive polls on Facebook and Instagram stories, and if you’ve got a clear winner, don’t ignore it.
This doesn’t mean you have to put all your big business decisions to a vote from the masses.
Small, insignificant choices suddenly become significant if you’re giving your customers the choice, and something as small as changing the layout of your website because they asked for it can give them a sense of importance and being heard. Let them feel they matter, and let them feel that your business is theirs.
Relevance can be yours – just reach out and take it.
Published in partnership with PosterMyWall
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