As technology rapidly advances, the way we do business has changed along with it. In the era of emails, Facebook and Google, customers have become accustomed to immediate gratification and the ‘I need it now’ approach.
As a business owner, you need to acclimatise to customer expectations. More often than not, this will lead to a change in the way you do business and using different tools to help your business.
There are a number of tools you will need within your business, and some of the main ones that I tell my private clients to concentrate on, include the following:
Marketing Plan – A marketing plan helps you develop your products and services to meet the needs of your customers. Effective marketing helps consumers understand why your product or service is better than and how it differs from, competitors. It will help boost your customer base, increase your bottom line and set clear, realistic goals for your business. With a marketing plan, you have a base on which to build your brand, which is crucial to business success. Although developing a marketing plan takes research, time and commitment, it will be the foundation of your business’ success.
Website – A common misconception among many new business owners is that a website is irrelevant to success. However, as the internet is an integral part of communication, whether your business is large or small, you need a website to ‘get your face out there’. A professional website can:
- Help you gain credibility – Many people use the Internet to research and compare businesses. Having a professional website will establish you as a genuine competitor who can be trusted.
- Enable you to keep customers informed – Whenever a new product or service is available, or you have an urgent company update, a website allows you to inform customers as soon as it happens.
- Provides a platform to showcase your work and who you are – Through including a photo gallery, informative videos, articles and testimonials, you can demonstrate what makes your business unique.
- Improve customer service – By including an FAQ page, featuring articles or uploading regular newsletters, you can answer your customers’ questions, as well as keep them up-to-date on the happenings of your business.
Social Media Strategy – In the age of the empowered consumer, a detailed social media plan assists with identifying the channels your customers and clients are using.
The businesses that are using Social Media as part of their marketing strategy, have a competitive edge. It allows them to tap into customer information (available via social networks), engage personally with customers and provide instant answers to questions and queries.
Businesses that embrace social media quickly realise it is about more than pushing promotional material on consumers. It’s about having quality interactions with present and potential customers. This enables you to gain valuable insights, develop long-lasting relationships and cultivate customer advocates.