Let’s say you and I were able to align our schedules and sit down for an hour. Let’s say even in person, sipping coffee, tea or my current favorite hot chocolate. I am there to be totally focused on you, let’s talk marketing. I get it; you are mentally stretched from running your business and you need help.
Your business has grown, you have learned a lot, but now it has become a bit of a squeaky wheel. Your business needs some serious attention. The stars have aligned; it’s just now that you have found a little time to actually think about how to go about improving it.
I see it in your eyes; you want something quick and easy. You were recently introduced to the idea of doing a daily deal through Groupon and think it might be just what you need to drive new business through your doors. Even through Groupon has been around for about two years, it’s just now that you are scratching your head for quick ideas to boost revenue.
First off, Don’t Groupon
Don’t jump on the bandwagon. Groupon wants you to offer a heavy discount, typically 50% off. After the coupons have been sold, you, the business, gets to split the revenue down the middle with Groupon. So, let’s say you have a $100 service, that means you offer it for $50, and in turn get $25 in revenue.
“The logic is simple: Merchants are encouraged to use the deals to attract new customers, who in theory will return at full price. But, in what seems to be an increasing number of cases, customers come for the deals and then leave for deals offered by other merchants through Groupon. So the number of “new” customers attracted by cheap prices increases, and the number of loyal customers decreases as shoppers prefer to become “new” again for whoever offers the best deal.” – Ester Dyson, The Groupon Paradox
Like Poornima had said in her blog post After The Groupon, “using a Groupon or daily deal site is one way of attracting a lot of prospective members to your business. I say prospective because many may never become actual members.”
Easy Things to Do Instead: Tap Into Your Existing Customers
For the most part your current customers come to you not because they are getting a deep discount but because they love coming to your business. They enjoy your staff, the experience and have found value in the time and money they have spent with you. Tap into your existing customers with these easy, hassle-free ways to boost business.
Send Out Email Newsletters: Tools like MailChimp and MadMimi offer free email marketing plans and tools. I am pretty sure that you have a few customer emails hanging around. Even if your answer is “Well, yeah… they are around here somewhere”, find them! What I often see is businesses are a bit surprised to see they have A LOT of email addresses.
Get “Liked” on Facebook: From the comfort of your customers’ homes to their mobile devices, your customers are on Facebook. Facebook fan pages are an easy way to communicate with your existing customers. From schedule changes to updating events, don’t underestimate this tool. Create a Facebook fan page to increase your communication; it is also a great tool to communicate emergencies.
Schedule Your Marketing: If you are crunched for time then scheduling out messaging to customers can be a super easy thing to do once or twice a week. All email marketing services have a way to schedule emails in the future. To manage and schedule content on your social media accounts use Hootsuite. Also, create a marketing calendar using a tool like Google calendar and share it with your staff so they can clearly see when promotions are happening.
Polish Up Your Business Listings: A simple task that can be done in a few moments is verifying your Google places account. Also take time to claim and update your business listing on Yelp, and Citysearch.
T-Shirt + Conference: Find a local promotional apparel business or hop on Cafepress and order a t-shirt with your logo, and website. Turn yourself into a walking billboard. Then attend a local conference. Build awareness by shaking hands, introducing yourself and don’t forget your business cards!
Re-connect with customers: A simple email, even using a text message service like Tatango, can remind a customer about your business. Check your attendance records; did one of your regulars suddenly stop coming? Send them a personal email to check-in. An amazing simple
Maintain Relationships: Beyond keeping in contact with your customers, nearby businesses are also great potential customers. As the employees may want to take a class from you and they themselves will be willing to recommend your services. Local businesses are also going to be happy to hang your fliers and brochures.
Polish Staff Skills: Customer service is very important. An easy way to boost sales is by teaching staff about specials, ways to bring up services and ways to express appreciation for customer business.
Reward Referrals: When customers send you referrals make an extra effort to personally thank them. Discounts can be okay, however a simple hand signed thank you note would be wildly appreciated and be unique. If customers mention you on Facebook or other social media channels then be sure to publicly thank them.
What these simple tasks are going to do is strengthen existing relationships with customers, increase repeat purchases, and build referrals. Drive business through the door with customers who value your services and who are excited to share their experience with their networks.
Still stuck on where to get started? Give me a call for a free 30 minute brainstorm on what you can do instead of doing a DailyDeal to boost your business.