According to marketing expert Jon Rognerud, the cost of the acquiring new clients (through advertising, marketing etc.) has tripled in the past three years. Additionally, getting your message across to potential customers has been increasingly difficult; the market is saturated with competitors vying for the same attention and consumers are selectively choosing to ignore advertising for example, people often delete email ads without reading them. Therefore you need to change up your game. The most effective marketing campaigns are creative. Incentivize readers to open your emails by showcasing discounts right in the subject line. If you’re a local business such as a bakery or boutique clothing shop, consider snapping pictures of your wares on Instagram with a trending #hashtag. Try hosting an online contest where consumers can sign up to win an “industry-specific” prize you put together (ex: if you’re marketing to college students, the prize could be a package of “dorm room goodies”).
Openview Sales Labs hits the nail on the head: the objective of sales is to build “long-term customer relationships” so that you have a foundation of repeat customers but companies are tackling the goal in a whole new way. Instead of standing on a street corner advertising that they’ve got something to sell, entrepreneurs are now attracting customers by offering expert advice freebies. We keep our customers at Wicked Start excited with new entrepreneurial and complimentary whitepapers, blogs and how-to videos. Free and useful content ensures that potential customers will visit your site and get exposed to your product. Once they are incentivized by new content updates they’ll be sure to come back and you’ll have the opportunity to convert a lead into a sale.
Product review social media tools like Yelp, Angie’s List and even Yahoo Answers are powerful avenues that small businesses can use to strengthen their reputations. According to Social Media Chimps, all of the top ten internet retailers use product recommendations. Consumer recommendations vary in effectiveness depending on the type of business but overall, word-of-mouth referrals are extremely compelling in pulling in sales. Starting a restaurant? Host a test-drive night where potential customers can try a dish for free if they agree to review your establishment online. If you’re in the service business, such as contracting or plumbing, make sure you get rated on Angie’s List. It’s free for businesses to get “listed.” This way you can know exactly how satisfied your current customers are and how can you improve to attract new leads.