Abstract: Sometimes, the people closest to you teach you the most invaluable lessons – even professional! I have learnt a trove of marketing lessons from my mom and her business. Here are some crisp, byte sized marketing tips any startup can execute and benefit. First published in Digital Marketing Magazine
We live in a fast paced world where readers have time only to go through short, byte sized content. Some studies suggest that the average attention span of a human today is just 8.25 seconds! How does a marketer get to her audience with short, crisp and ‘snackable’ content? How do you separate your message from the omnipresent noise when you don’t have big advertising dollars to spend? How do you promote you startup and make your presence felt without the feeling that your business is sinking?
Don’t worry. It is possible. There is one golden rule to do this irrespective of which channel you choose to promote your business content. You just have to say it quick and say it well. Here are a few ways that have worked for a small, decade old beauty salon that thrives even today (my mother’s). She has executed some of these with just a small percentage of cost invested in promotion. These might sound like very fundamental and trivial steps to run a business and promote content but works wonders for startups.
- Customer experience
- Know your customers – talk to them and listen to what they want. My mother knows exactly what kind of style, comfort and ambience each of her customer’s needs. Understanding your customer takes time but listening and learning about what your target wants always helps in the long run.
- Provide exactly what your customers want – once you get to know what their preferences are, make sure their experience is exactly what they expected and try to delight them. For example, if a customer likes a cold blow dry, make sure your staff knows this as well and provides the customer with a cold blow dry even when you are not around. The last thing anybody wants is explaining something again to a different person.
- Say no when required – Not many people do this but I have seen my mom do this and her customers really appreciate the fact that you are it is in their best interest that the service was refused. It is better to say NO than say YES and provide a product or a service which is not perfect. Customers understand this.
- Make them feel at home – a very important step for a startup. If you run a service, and clients visit you in your facility, it is important they feel comfortable and attended to. With short attention spans, patience levels with respect to an experience have reduced too.
- Word of mouth marketing (WOMM)
- Power of WOMM – Did you know WOMM is the primary factor behind 20 to 50% of purchasing decisions? It is not imperative to conceive an elaborate marketing campaign but crucial to have a word of mouth recommendation from a trusted source. So reach out to your network through your friends and peers, put in place great real life stories and your value proposition and promote them through this network.
- Let others talk – This goes back to WOMM – once you have a few satisfied customers, let them do the talking on behalf of your brand. A loyal customer advocate does wonders for your new clientele. Make sure you capture feedback and improve upon any shortcomings that your customers face.
- Set up a social networking page – The cost of doing this is not much. These are channels that almost all startups are using today and in most cases are able to create awareness in the initial phases of their business. Yes, reviews might praise or punish – but take the negative reviews as a stepping stone to improve and improvise where necessary.
- Start a blog and create a community – start a community of writers on subjects related to your business. In case you have a salon, start blogs on beauty, makeup etc. to bring people from diverse backgrounds closer. Conversations are a great way to engage your community of prospects.
Some of these approaches have worked well for my mom and her salon. There is no formula but a mix of strategies that work for your bootstrapped business should be employed.