Sparking Ideas for A Successful Marketing Plan: A Guide to Beneficial Marketing Practices for Your Small Business
Picture this: You’ve done everything right as a business owner. You’ve bought the products, stocked the shelves, spread the word. For a while, you had a great response to your efforts. People loved the products and sales were on the rise. Then, suddenly, BAM: your sales suddenly hit a huge wall. You are no longer on the incline of a very important chart – and you need to act fast. What you may not realize is that your marketing strategies may have gone stagnant. Once the “newness” and hype wears down, you are left worrying about how to spark interest in your business once again and maintain the grasp that you want on your clients and customers. Sparking ideas for a successful marketing plan doesn’t have to be hard.
It’s not easy thinking of new ways to garner interest for your business. There is so much to consider and so many actions required. How many hours each day can you dedicate to your marketing strategy? Have no fear: Twin Oaks Technology’s marketing help is here. If anything you’ve read sounds like what you are currently experiencing in your business, then it’s time to look at our 3 key components to finding your marketing “spark.”
Inspire. Engage. Promote.
These three little keywords contain a wealth of knowledge that provides direction and focus on creating an easy, cost-effective, and timely marketing strategy to redirect your sales from sagging to soaring.
First, consider the inspiration. Isn’t that why we are here? You aren’t feeling very inspired to work on your marketing plan and wonder where to start. You mull over how it will ever work and stew on the timeline. In marketing, when the word inspiration is used, we aren’t referring to your personal inspiration. We mean your customers! Inspiration marketing is targeted at investing back into your key audience and consumers. The goal is to inspire them in order to help them realize that choosing your business over competitors comes with more takeaways than just a product. Inspiring others as a company creates trust and gives value to customers before, during, and after purchases have been made. Think of words like excite, influence, and motivate when you start to think about inspiration marketing.
Inspiring Your Target Audience
Inspire your client base by holding an in-person or virtual class that is customized to your business. For example, if you own and operate a florist business, you may not want to show your secrets of the trade on how you create such beautiful arrangements. You could, however, show your audience how adding floral arrangements to your home interior room can transform the look of the space. You could talk about the different meanings of each flower, or you may want to show your customers the best methods of caring for a long-lasting arrangement. These classes inspire viewers and lead to more sales: Someone watching your virtual class is on the lookout for a birthday gift for a friend. She just watched your class on how yellow roses represent friendship and now she’s inspired to buy based on the knowledge that you’ve provided.
Another way to spark inspiration in your customers is to generate different senses. Accomplish this by playing music that creates a relaxing environment in your storefront, lighting non-harsh scented candles, and keeping your space clean and organized for your customers. Or your business uses an online platform, take product images in natural lighting with homemade backdrops. This helps your customers visualize your product in their idealized home. Even holding special events like an open house, book signing, wine tasting, or other fun activities can ignite your customers’ experiences and provide the customer with a positive mental association with your store and/or products.
Pro tip: Create your own backdrops with foam board and include inexpensive items such as fabrics, natural and organic pieces, and other décor to create a better product photo. Take your images in natural lighting and angle the photos in order to focus on your key product. Check out this awesome YouTube video on how to get started with your backdrop DIY.
The second stop on the road to sparking your marketing strategy is engagement. Engagement may seem obvious but sometimes it’s not so easy to reach or understand. When we think of engagement, we need to think along the same terms as community, transparency, and relationship maintenance. Engagement requires consistent empathetic communication to help your community solve problems, build trust, and form a relationship with your brand. Once you inspire your customer base and let them know you are investing in them, it’s important to make sure that you maintain that relationship. Sometimes, too, it’s not just a relationship with clients.
Partnering with Other Businesses
One sure fire way to bring in a lot of business and start working on building relationships is to partner with other businesses or organizations. Give thought to the benefits you can secure by sharing a space with other businesses. Shared partnerships allow you the ability to support the success of other organizations while also enjoying your own success. For instance, a floral shop partners with an event venue to create beautiful displays for a number of events. Or a local décor shop partners with a noncompetitive storefront to arrange seasonal window displays with a sign that credits the décor shop. Partnerships and collaboration are a great way to reach an audience that may not already be within your grasp. Help others with sparking ideas for a successful marketing plan as well.
Follow Up with Your Customers
A “spark” idea that is more customer focused is follow-up letters, emails, and other correspondence. Customers want to know that they are valued and appreciate their shopping to be an experience. Remember, a customer can always buy an item and never return. But, reaching out even after the sale has been made can increase buyers to come back and purchase more. It’s like the old adage says, “it costs nothing to be kind,” and this is true here. Your kindness in wanting to know your customer’s experience will not only boost your relationship with the customer, it will increase your engagement with that customer, ultimately gaining and maintaining that relationship.
Make Your Business Easily Accessible
Pro tip: In order to engage, people need to see and know about you. Be sure you are investing in brand-focused signage, business cards, and other shortcut ways to reach you (like a fun QR code). The easier it is to find you, the more customers you will draw in. Need some graphic design work done? How about asking Twin Oaks for help! We are in the business of sparking ideas for your marketing plan!
Lastly, but certain not least- you need to promote. The ultimate goal of any brand is to sell. So, in order to do that you will need to promote. Remember with promotion that it’s not always hard selling, cold calling, and just promoting. And, this can be tricky. You want to make sure that your promotion gives customers a chance to look at new products, save on already loved items, and help broaden your already growing reach. At the end of the day, your promotion should still be FOR the customer. You may be advocating for your brand, but you don’t want to press an issue and make it feel like you are forcing your hand. Advertising for yourself doesn’t have to be painful, and promoting doesn’t have to feel like a door-to-door drain.
Selling on Facebook
Again, you want to reach customers where they are at. And, according to the Pew Research Center, “about three in ten U.S. adults say they are ‘almost constantly’ online.” And, a whopping 63% of shopping occasions begin online according to a ThinkwithGoogle statistic. Selling online can be so daunting, however. It can take up a lot of time, can be really costly, and requires consistent upkeep.
For small business, I think I can speak for everyone when I say “ain’t nobody got time for that.” A quick way to not only promote your brand and store but to sell online is to share your products to Facebook Marketplace. This virtual Marketplace acts like a large playground for people who love to window shop (which as we know leads to actual shopping). Listing and sharing is so easy, and, incredibly, once you list your product, customers then have the option to purchase, share your item to their own page, or bookmark your items for later review. It can be that easy to make a connection simply by promoting your merchandise on Facebook Marketplace.
Promote Your Products
As we’ve seen, promoting is all about making purchasing an item simpler for your customer. Sometimes bundling products like soaps, shampoos, lotions, and Chapstick into a packaged price can make the customer buy more items when they were only going to buy 1 or 2. Business can end up accumulating a hefty priced item that they can’t seem to get rid of. Hold a raffle! If your item is $250, you only need 25 people to purchase a $10 raffle ticket in order for a chance to win. Having the option to have an expensive item for cheaper, even if it’s a chance to win, can increase your odds of moving your merchandise from the sale floor to out the door.
Want to move that item but not hold a raffle? What about setting up layaway? Especially during seasonal times, lots of customers want the option to pay small incremental payments for large purchases. It helps boost sales, move merchandise, and makes the customer happy. Just be sure that you have a contract in place for people who may forget about their layaways. Making sure you are covered but being transparent with your buyer is always a good practice and maintains our second value of marketing – engagement.
If applicable, remember to offer free incentives, gifts, or samples with purchases. Customers love a good deal and nothing is a better deal than FREE. Incentivizing your customer to spend with you leads to better conversion of sales. Don’t have a problem with sales? Maybe you are looking for customers to spend a total of $50 every single time. Use this method to your advantage and only offer the free incentive when a customer spends that targeted amount.
Keeping those 3 sparks in mind, inspire, engage, and promote, we hope that you can find your own sparks. Marketing isn’t easy, but consistent dedication in these 3 key factors can massively improve the overall relationship with your buyers. Like we’ve said, sparking ideas for your marketing plan doesn’t have to be difficult. We want you to achieve greater, soar higher, and have customers flocking to your doorstep. Twin Oaks dedicates itself to helping businesses not only grow but thrive! If you want more marketing ideas, sparks, or other more tangible items, please reach out to our marketing team! We would love to build a relationship with you and take your business to new heights.