Maureen Jann shared her thoughts at Kitsap Digital Hour panel event on 11/5. A panel of experts discussed the criticality of the digital footprint for small businesses in the age of COVID-19.
Today’s marketing environment is tricky. So many local organizations rely on the in-person connections to build new business, but since the pandemic has hit, that’s been stripped away. Now we’re left with how we digitally present ourselves and how we show up on Zoom calls.
The question is, how can proactively grow (or recover) our business using only a digital footprint? Well, the first thing I recommend is prioritizing.
You need to prioritize the market that is going to bring you the most money, strategically help grow your business for long term health, and those people who will refer and advocate for you to grow trust.
It can be tempting to create a marketing approach you feel appeals to “everyone.” But let me tell you from experience as both a professional marketer and an entrepreneur, marketing to everyone is marketing to no one. People need to see themselves reflected in your marketing. Even Coke has customer avatars and personas that they target audience-specific pictures, and messages that appeal to them.
How do you do that? Look back at your customer data, and ask yourself:
- Who has my most profitable customer been in the past?
- What have they purchased from me?
- How has their life changed?
- What would be useful to them now?
Ok, you know who the right people to start with are. That’s great! Now, let’s start speaking their language! The next thing you want to do is…
It’s critical to find a way to connect emotionally with your prioritized customers. They need to feel your passion for the product or service, as well as your desire to help them. This is where being genuine and vulnerable comes into play. Spend some time thinking and jotting down notes about why you got into your business in the first place and how you can serve your customers during this difficult time.
Then, create a page on your website for each of your best customer profiles. Your website is your strongest tool in difficult times. You control it 100%. Include a few key elements:
- What you do specifically for them
- How that helps them solve their problem
- Answers questions you most frequently hear throughout the sales process
- Proof points (customer testimonials, or case studies) to show you can walk the talk
- And a clear call to action – what do you want them to do next? How do you get them to the next stage of their buying process?
And remember, you need to give it time. You’re building a relationship with your customer. Good marketing tees up engaged, excited customers to your sales team or your sales process. Much like fine wine, you can’t rush that.
Next, it can be easy to to get lost down the rabbit hole of production, but the next stage of a good business is all about.
If you’re a small business owner, like me, this can be a focus on money. If you’re part of a larger business, in their marketing department, this might be more focused on collecting data. In truth, it’s always about both.
Now that you’ve put the pieces into place to drive your best customers to you, I recommend asking yourself every day “what’s closest to the money?” For some, that’s about putting energy into deals that are about the close, for others it’s about taking a look at seasonal buying trends that drive people to your business.
Then ask yourself, “what data have I collected to make sure that I have the right customers?” Whether it’s your customer relationship management system or your online store data, look at the customers you prioritized and see if your hypothesis about your best customer and what they need is correct. If it’s not, adjust and adjust the marketing pieces you’ve created accordingly. This is about constant improvement, not perfection.
Wrapping It Up
We’re all facing a new market.
Even if our customers are the same, they are fundamentally different from months of quarantine, civil unrest, and unstable political situations.
If we help them navigate their new environment (authentically, and without being exploitative) using our products, then we are a part of their solution. That’s how you build trust in a world where consumers have had their hearts broken too many times by organizations who didn’t care enough to speak directly to them.
Curious about what expanding you digital footprint? Let’s grab a virtual coffee!