It’s safe to say that 2020 was a whirlwind of chaos for small business owners. For start-up owners, it has been equally challenging, if not more. This past year, businesses of all sizes have been adjusting to unfortunate layoffs, new remote work procedures, and the prioritization of employee safety. In order to grow your business during these times, finding new ways to relay your message and reach the largest relevant audience for your business will be a key factor.
It seems like things are finally in the right direction with the rise of vaccinations, but being a small business owner in 2021 is still challenging. Older, more traditional small business owners are facing the challenge of coming up with new ways to generate revenue. Start-ups face the task of creating a business that will transition alongside the rise of new technologies. If you consider yourself in a similar position, these five ideas will hopefully help you get your business growing by reaching as many relevant customers as possible.
1. Keep Your Employees Engaged
As a result of COVID-19, many businesses have shifted from the traditional business model into an online business model. The rise of the digital landscape has been transforming everyday face-to-face interactions into virtual ones. Small business owners are facing the challenging task of connecting with their separated employees and remote work is becoming the new norm.
Creating a positive relationship with your workers in this new work climate should be a top priority. In order to maintain consistent contact with employees, invest in software such as cloud-based communication, messaging, and collaboration tools for your business. Aim to create an atmosphere where employees can not only learn but can grow and trust the surrounding organization. Re-evaluate your employee onboarding program. This program can help workers learn things such as financial literacy as it pertains to personal values; for example, learning about homeowners insurance, home warranties, and even how to start a 401k plan.
Developing your employees should be a major aspect of any business plan. Creating a progressive developmental agenda can create a sense of motivation amongst employees to be their best. Once your team is confidently assembled and ready to get to work, they will be key players in helping you reach the new audiences that await your business.
2. Analyze Your Demographic
One of the first steps toward reaching a larger audience is recognizing your audience. Some consumer characteristics to consider are age, occupation, and marital status. But knowing who to target is half the work. You wouldn’t use the same marketing tactics on older customers as you would your younger customers. It depends on who you’re targeting; for example, you wouldn’t use Snapchat or even Instagram to target your elderly customers. In this case, Facebook would be a better social media network to generate interest.
Whether starting or growing your business, understanding how to attract customers is important. When contemplating which demographics to target, keep in mind that you should never target everyone, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to reach as many people as possible.
A lot of businesses should utilize target market analysis to come up with reasonable solutions to their questions. For owners, this analysis will explore the who, what, why, where, when, and how of potential customers. There are a couple of ways to conduct a target market analysis. One way is to send a survey to current and potential customers. This process is usually done virtually and asks the consumers questions about their characteristics and what they desire from a business.
3. Adopt New Marketing Tactics
In order to grow your small business by reaching a larger audience, trying new things that perhaps your competitors haven’t implemented yet is a good way to go. Inevitably, every year social media grows, creating new applications along with new strategic ways to use it. Consider social media as one of the most crucial marketing tactics in order for your business to reach your targeted audience. For example, the younger generation finds themselves a lot more on Snapchat than on Facebook. If they are your target audience, use Snapchat and other new social media accounts like TikTok to your advantage.
Creating useful content for social media doesn’t require having a social media manager on staff. Although it might help, pretty much anyone can create fascinating content by sharing information that matches their audience’s interests. Another effective tactic is to encourage your consumers to create user-generated content. A start-up clothing brand might release several new t-shirts on their website and encourage their customers to post their new t-shirts on their Instagram stories. Once you see the tagged images on Instagram, you’re able to share them on your social media pages proving to your audience that people not only love your products but feel involved with the brand.
4. Utilize Omnichannel Marketing
A great way to tap into a new audience is by using new channels, and it’s important to combine these channels into one working team. This process is called omnichannel marketing, and the benefits can be immense and rapid. Usually, business campaigns use three or more channels such as email, social media, and banner ads to have a much higher retention rate than one specific channel. A brief example of an omnichannel marketing strategy would be combining the traditional process with the e-commerce channel. This helps create continuity, which leads to a consistent relationship between consumers and businesses. If done correctly, this can spread your business’ brand awareness immensely.
This process ensures that your current and potential customers receive one consistent message that reflects how they have interacted with your business. A home-based jeweler might showcase a necklace-making video on Facebook. People who interact with the video could be encouraged to sign up for the jeweler’s newsletter to receive more jewelry-creating tips with a link to a particular landing page. By signing up, an automated email could be triggered that offers a special invitation to in-store discounts and other benefits.
5. Use Direct Mail
Year after year, our society continues to grow into an age of new technology, creating new innovative ways of receiving information. As cliché as it seems, consumers essentially have a computer in the palm of their hands on a daily basis.
With the rise of technology in many facets of life, from the journalistic aspect to the economic sector, it has slowly become the primary way of relaying a message. However, there are a variety of ways consumers can receive information in physical form. Small business owners should consider the role of direct mail when expanding their audience.
People still get physical mail daily—that is one thing that has yet to cease to exist. As a business owner, there are several ways to use direct mail to your advantage. Consider using postcards; these can be a cost-effective and intriguing way to reach new audiences and reconnect with people you haven’t heard from in a long period of time. A local pizzeria owner, for example, could send a postcard offering a special discount on a large pie with a two-liter bottle of soda. This action can not only be a reminder of the deals their pizzeria provides but shows the amount of importance their relationship means to them. Furthermore, when implemented in an omnichannel marketing tactic, direct mail generates an increase in response rates. As a more original way of reaching potential consumers, it still continues to produce.
Creating a steady stream of connections to your business is easier said than done but if completed correctly can lead to profitable recognition. One of the keys to success is using what you know, building on what you learned, and keeping an open mind to finding ways to build your business. Not every start-up or small business has the largest revenue and sales but the ones that continue to grow and evolve see the most success in the long run. Let the customers decide—running a business with honesty, integrity, and a passion for what you do will generate the largest following.