When customers become AWARE they have a problem to solve they go looking for a solution. In the famous old saying from way back in the 1960’s, a guy doesn’t want a quarter inch drill bit, he wants a quarter inch hole. How are you going to make sure he selects you to help solve that problem, meet that need?
The first step for you in his customer journey is helping him be AWARE that you can meet his need. You do that through your marketing strategy.
Your Brand Identity
No matter what marketing channels you use you need to get a professional image in the mind of your prospects that you are worth doing business with. People don’t want to waste their time on shoddy suppliers, and if that’s your image then you will drive people away. It can be such little things, not just the big ones like hamburger arches. The other day I watched a restaurant staff person come out of a side lane in Ubud with a sandwich board with photos of their menu, and put it down on the more frequently used road where people would see it. A good start in promoting an off-street location. Unfortunately, the photos had all faded from daily facing the western sun, so there were no reds left. And the sign was leaned against a wall over long rank grass. Appealing?
Physical Presence Awareness
If you are a retailer in Kuta or Ubud you do your best to locate yourself where passing customers pretty much have to trip over you. Certain streets are much better frequented than others (and so charge correspondingly higher rents). Once those prospects have noticed you, you then need to make them aware of what’s in the shop, so your brand identity and your window displays are critical. With one clothing outlet, we started with the normal “Sale up to 50% off” type sign in the window and had a very modest 5% increase in shop visitors and sales. But when we changed the sign to add great graphics of clothing in use, people became very aware of the shop; visitor numbers increased by 25% and sales increased by 20%.
But even this well-trod path is now subject to change, as more and more shoppers are going to the web first to see what’s there. So back to the original question: how are you going to make sure they select you and come to your physical location? Let’s look at the different options on the web and elsewhere.
Print Media Awareness
Print media like the Bali Advertiser can be ideal for creating awareness for specific customer channels, and that’s why you have seen it grow in size and color over the years, as well as distribution. The Bali Advertiser answers the problem of many Bali businesses in making their presence known. Specific magazines and locality guides can also be great value in tourist locations.
Your website is the first place you make your brand. You need to work at getting yourself well placed on the search engines in your market niche.
The first pillar of an effective SEO strategy is your onsite content and structure. From the way you organize your site to how you optimize your content, there are five key aspects that will ensure that your content is doing its job. A strong on-site SEO plan includes keyword research, content optimization, user experience, site design, and the presence of a blog with great content that’s updated frequently.
Inbound links are the second key element to lift your rankings, and there is a whole range of methods for building credible links.
Read this article in Forbes magazine at – forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/05/23/the-3-pillars-of-seo-in-2013-content-links-and-social-media/
Some links for specific tools to improve your rankings:
General SEO tools – moz.com/tools
Keyword Research – keywordcanine.com
Google Adwords keyword tool – from google.com/adwords/
Back Links – backlinkbooster.com
Content development – contentmarketinginstitute.com/
Special interest portals can be very useful when your own website doesn’t rank too highly. I have used balispirit.com most successfully for advertising real estate – four times the responses of the traditional real estate sites I tried. And these portals can be really useful for getting useful links back to your own website.
Social Media in General
Decent studies now show how social media can help improve sales if it is used correctly. A wine shop case study showed that customers who engage with a company’s social media efforts spend more on its products in the store. Clever use can also boost the lifetime value of your customers because they strengthen the bond between consumers and firms, as well as help boost the bottom line.
Check out strategy-business.com/article/re00236 for more details.
- Don’t spam. If an update is not adding value to the conversation, don’t send it.
- Provide useful information.
- Handle different customer needs separately.
- Deal with customers one to one as much as possible.
- Run special promotions for those who are looking for deals.
- Integrate your knowledge of customers from both in-store transactions and your social media.
Getting a top ranking in TripAdvisor is worth a lot of money in a tourist town and so is well worth the effort to improve your rankings. This site depends on the rankings provided to you by actual users, so it is more about your brand delivery than your brand promise. Check out their advice page for business owners at tripadvisor.com/Owners
If you want a good SEO ranking you need to include Google+ in your social media mix. Google seems to give additional weight to links and followers on this platform. Learn about Google+ business pages here – google.com/+/business/.
Approximately 59% of businesses don’t have a Facebook page yet. I think the reason is that people don’t yet know how to make the best use of Facebook and so are not yet prepared to put in the time to make it work for them. But 75% of consumers use social media so it is worth taking the effort to get on board.
You need to know that Business Pages on Facebook are quite different to the personal and group Profiles we are more used to interact with. See a sample at facebook.com/vizio.
Business pages have a lot of advantages:
- They can look more professional and so have a better impact on your prospects.
- You can have a great branding billboard photo across the top of the page.
- Run contests and Offers at no cost, and that can help drive customers to your shop or restaurant.
- You can run Promoted Posts.
- Profiles are limited to 5,000 friends and you want to hope your business can do better than that.
- Use the Timeline to build your brand story in a sensible way
- Your beautiful photos are displayed more prominently.
- Create ads targeted towards specific customers.
- Pin your most important posts at the top of the timeline so they never get buried.
- You can have direct messaging with your customers right from the page, so you can handle complaints quietly and directly, or offer specific deals to specific customers
- Check out championsway.com/Home/free-ebook-facebook-marketing-part-1
Pinterest and Instagram
- Pinterest (pinterest.com/ and basics) and Instagram (instagram.com/ ) are becoming increasingly popular because pictures are much better at gaining attention than textual content.
Spend some time to nut out a media strategy that focuses on helping meet a customer need and use it across all channels.
Is there is any aspect of developing a successful business you would like me to write about?