There is no doubt that technology has changed the way you do business, mainly by opening up so many opportunities to connect with and engage your customers.
It used to be that small business owners would have to travel to give an effective sales presentation; now -- with the help of video chat -- you can do that from anywhere. Email makes it possible to promote a product with the push of a button, when it used to take weeks and gobs of money to print and send direct mail pieces. You can even connect in real-time via Twitter and other social media channels to resolve customer complaints.
While technology has seemingly made it easier for you to market your small business, one fact holds very true: Good old-fashioned courtesy and customer service are still very important when it comes to convincing people to buy your products.
So whether you are in the retail or healthcare industry -- or any small businesses in between -- here are some ways you can use new technology to carry out old marketing techniques:
Share Your Expertise
Think back to the days when your local hardware store owner would offer tips on how to use particular products right in the store. Do the same thing. Record videos of yourself offering tips on how to maximize the benefits of your product or service, or write informative articles and blogs, and then share the information on your small business website or social media accounts. People will tune in and appreciate the help.
Collect Feedback from Customers
In a time when we can use tools like Google Analytics to discover what we think customers want, it's easy to ignore the importance of actually connecting with them and asking them what they want. Pose questions on Facebook and LinkedIn, create polls on your blog or set up surveys through resources like SurveyMonkey. Share them with customers through your social media sites to gain valuable insight.
If you do receive feedback -- whether positive or negative -- respond immediately. Thank customers for offering praise and acknowledge complaints, explaining what you will do to resolve any issues. Providing outstanding social customer service is a great way to set you apart from competitors and positively build your brand.
Give Your Company a Face
Don't hide behind your computer -- get out there and get connected. You'll build engagement and trust if you show customers that you, your employees and your customers are real people. Consumers love images and videos. Snap pictures of people using your products, record and post customer testimonials (with their permission), and include images of yourself and employees. Even be willing to let people in on your mistakes occasionally; you'll come across as genuine and authentic.
It used to be that you might have to earn some great business award to gain media recognition and set yourself up as an industry expert. Now you can do it with smart Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The key is to fill your small business website with outstanding content that people deem valuable. Then share it with customers through social media.Just a few small, personal touches here and there will really help set your small business apart from the crowd. Some might call it old fashioned, but at the end of the day, it’s really just smart.