In a few months, we can say goodbye to 2021. Although small and medium-sized business owners have a lot on their plates this season, it’s time to look ahead and build a marketing plan for the upcoming year. While most operations work with a small budget, there are inexpensive ways to stay connected and motivate current and new patrons to shop your business.
For some, it requires venturing into unfamiliar territory and leveraging new technologies. There are multiple ways to tap into trends that offer low-cost options to communicate with and engage consumers. Smaller businesses tend to shy away from virtual events and video because they believe it’s costly and only works for large companies with deep pockets. Even when finances are limited, you can use resources in your toolbox in new and exciting ways.
Emails Become More Personalized
Consumers receive about 80 emails a day, but the ones that get noticed offer the recipient a personalized experience in terms of content, products, and messaging. Sixty-three percent of consumers dislike generic advertising since it is sent out in mass with little regard to the fundamental interests of the person who receives the ad. Knowing your customers’ purchase history and location is key to building a data-driven email campaign. Gardeners like to receive emails about gardening tools, plants, and organic fertilizers. Homeowners want to know when paint goes on sale or where to get screens fixed and new keys.
Home improvement retailers who are members of a co-op or buying group and participate in rewards or loyalty programs are already collecting valuable information about their best and most profitable customers. Put the information to good use by promoting products and services that engage customers most likely to respond based on your existing relationship. Remember to apply these rules:
- Grab attention with the headline
- Make it enjoyable by telling a story—avoid using a hard sales pitch
- Make it personal and build an online relationship
- Ask the reader to take action—What do you want them to do?
Video Marketing Keeps Growing
Experts predict video marketing for businesses will explode within 5 to 10 years. Incorporating videos into your marketing mix can make you more competitive. It can also put your company one step ahead of other businesses waiting before moving to video. People enjoy watching videos because they are attractive and engaging.
Videos are also a simple and easy way for many shoppers to find out more about products and services. In a recent survey, 52 percent of consumers said videos made them feel more confident about purchasing online. Plus, videos are 50 times more likely to generate an organic search than those with text alone. When planning a video, start small and think big. Here are several options to consider.
- Expert shares tips on winterization
- Short demo on painting furniture
- How to care for houseplants
Start by using a familiar face, someone in your organization that is engaging and relatable to customers. Essentially, this person is your subject-matter expert who is helping the consumer solve a problem.
Stay Connected with Virtual Events or Webinars
Although people were accustomed to attending physical events pre-covid, they quickly adjusted to social distancing and participating in virtual events. Think of events and webinars as opportunities to demonstrate products, give presentations in partnership with local organizations, or answer customers’ questions from DIYers in real-time.
Both webinars and virtual events allow the organizer to control the content, manage the conversation and engage with motivated participants. One program that’s popular with businesses is Microsoft Teams Live Events. It enables attendees to ask questions and submit comments without participating and interacting in the conversation. Those who prefer interactions that let participants verbally communicate with them and other attendees should consider hosting a webinar.
Successful businesses understand the importance of changing with the times to respond to the needs of their customers. Younger consumers are visual and respond to lights, cameras, and action. What works for older generations might not be the most effective way to communicate your message to Gen Z and Millennials. Remember, personalized messages are more authentic and garner a positive response.