In this final chapter on our series for “restarting your business”, we look at nurturing your existing relationships and creating new ones. Relationships matter when it comes to business because as the saying goes people do business with people.
What are you doing to keep in touch with your clients and customers? Depending on the type of business you are in, it will differ from email communication, telephone conversations, use of social media and may be something even a bit more formal like LinkedIn and networking (via Zoom these days).
If you are not doing anything, then ask yourself why not? Is it a time thing, a confidence issue, a question of budget or you just don’t know where to start? In this blog we share what we know as a business and highlight the 5 key steps of marketing.
Whatever you are doing or not doing you need to bear in mind that some of your customer/clients may no longer be in business. It is almost five months since we all went into lockdown and the landscape has changed drastically. Although the economy is opening up gradually it is far from where we were earlier this year. People are having to make tough decisions.
Why should someone use you over your competitor? What added benefits are you providing and does everyone know about them?
“You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything.” Beth Comstock
5 Key Marketing Activities
The best form of marketing is to ensure that you look after your current customers. They will spread the good word for you. At Myers Clark we are very proud to say that the majority of our referrals come from existing clients who are our fans. Your current clients or customers are always where the most amount of effort should go. Keep in touch with them via calls or emails and make sure they know you are there for them.
Love it or hate it, the various channels are here to stay. We are not saying this is easy, not by a long shot, but once you start using these channels it gets easier. From choosing the right channels to putting out the content, there is a lot involved and you need time, some basic knowledge to start with and some content to share.
Who do you want to talk to (your target audience) and what do you want to talk about? The latter depends on what questions your audience normally ask you. They ask, you answer.
Facebook and YouTube are both prime places for ads partly due to the older audience and in part to their high-earning user bases. The majority of Instagram’s users are millennials whilst LinkedIn’s user base is professional, making it a hub for in-depth, industry-specific content. Twitter seem to have a more mixed audience and a platform for quick news.
Decide which channel or channels you want to use, put some time aside and start. There are some cheap courses online if you need a push.
A good website should reflect your brand, be easy to navigate and offer good quality content. Depending on your business, the design and content will vary. For us it is our digital brochure and it is the first point of call for most new clients and even for existing clients to get some information.
These blogs that you receive are posted on our website. The website can also collect comprehensive information on your guests, and this is invaluable when trying to understand your target market and of course there is the paid SEO (search engine optimisation) with Google but this can be quite expensive.
Digital marketing via your website and social media will help you reach a wider audience.
These remain popular and even though face to face meetings were not possible earlier in the year, they have continued via Zoom or “walking and talking” meetings. The local Chamber of Commerce, such as Watford Chamber or Hertfordshire Chamber are always a good place to start and your bank will also usually be running their own local one. We run these from time to time too and the aim is to bring our clients together for mutual benefit. However, under the current climate we are not sure how these events are going to work out going forward.
There are still plenty of trade specific and local magazines where you can pay for adverts. The use of such publications has their place and can be quite useful if your client base is of an older demographic because it brings awareness to the consumer. Have a look at what is in your local area.
To monitor which of the above is working for you, get into the practice of asking new clients/ customers where they first heard of you. You can document this to gather evidence, but you will soon get a feel for which channels drive the most business. That is not say you ignore the other four, but it means that when time and budget is tight you prioritise.
You can always consult professional marketers to help you. If you need recommendations do let us know.
Extra help from the Government – £20million in new grant to boost recovery
The Government announced on 30th July a new £20m technology and support grant scheme to help small businesses during this pandemic. The money is coming from the European Regional Development Fund and is to help SME’s pay for the specialist advice, equipment and technology they need which will include professional, legal, financial, and other advice.
Grants of between £1,000 and £5,000 per business will be administered via the government’s 38 Regional Growth Hubs. To apply and find out more, please locate and contact your local Growth Hub by following this link:
The grant scheme is not open yet so for now we suggest that you register with your local Hub. All grants must be awarded by 28th February and all activity fully completed by 31st March 2021. This grant could pay for some of the changes we have been talking about in the series and help you on your way.
We hope you have enjoyed the series of blogs we have published over the last four weeks and have found them useful. We have covered the areas we feel are the priority now to push the re-set button and ensure that the business keeps going.
You need to revisit your goals (both business and personal), look at how you can manage your cash-flow including using any tools (and us and our free software offer) to help you along the way. Remember reviewing your cash position is an ongoing exercise and best practice for a successful business.
You need to think about adopting digital practices to make the business more efficient and reach a wider base. We talked about the financial side, but it doesn’t need to end there because you can look at your own operational processes and see what automation you can introduce. The government help mentioned above may see you off on your digital journey. And finally, this week we looked at developing your business relationship and reviewing your marketing plan.
All these are important steps to ensure you reset the start button and carry on running a thriving business. We hope this has helped you keep up with the changing economic environment and we will continue to be by your side.
We are now going to take a short break from the blogs returning on Friday 18th September. Of course, we are still here to take your calls and emails so please do not feel you are alone. We are here to help you in whatever you need even if that is someone familiar to talk too.
If there are any areas you would like us to cover in the Autumn please let Priya know at firstname.lastname@example.org or even if you have comments or feedback.
We hope you get some down time too to recharge your batteries this summer.