If you own a small business, the ringing of your telephone probably sounds like money to you. It could be a customer calling to place an order, make a reservation, or get directions to your business. It’s a welcome call, right?
Well, what if your phone is not ringing as often as you’d like? Here are a four ways you can use the time in between inbound calls to increase the chances of gaining new customers.
1. Up your online & mobile game.
People rarely use their mobile phones to actually make phone calls. The majority of mobile phone usage involves searching the web, participating in social media, texting, and using mobile apps.
If you really want to increase your customer base, you need to go where they are. And they’re all online. Take some time today to update your website with your latest offer, write a blog post and share it on social media, or create an email campaign with a coupon that people can either print out and bring in or pull up on their mobile device and show at checkout.
2. Start an online ad campaign.
You may have already created a Google AdWords campaign. (If you haven’t, you should!) But do you have social media ad campaigns running on Facebook and Twitter? If not, you’re missing out on a great way to zero in on your target customers. Both platforms allow you to select the audience for your ad based on several factors, including age, sex, location, likes, and other behavioral data. Plus, you get to set a daily budget so you can make sure that you never go over what you can afford. It’s so simple to create these ads, that you should be able to set up a basic campaign and have it running in less than an hour.
3. Reach out to influencers.
Do you know who the popular bloggers and social media stars are in your industry? If you are a local restaurant, have you checked to see if there are any “foodie” bloggers in your area? If so, why not reach out to them and invite them in? If they like your restaurant and give it a positive review, ask the blogger if you could collaborate with him or her by offering a gift certificate for the blogger to give away to one of their followers as part of an online/social media campaign?
Some bloggers and social media stars have thousands, even millions of followers. If you can form a relationship with a few of these types of influencers, and they share information about your business with their audience, you are practically guaranteed an increase in overall awareness and, even better, new customers.
4. Plan a creative event
Why not consider hosting a monthly or weekly event in your store? You could have “Wine Wednesdays” where customers are treated to wine tastings for a certain period of time. If your business has something to do with pets, you could host “Yappy Hours” where people with pets could meet and sip wine while their pets enjoyed doggie biscuits and treats. Brainstorm a few ideas of creative events that might work for your business. Not only will something like this serve to increase foot traffic into your store, but it will also be a great social media promotion and word-of-mouth marketing tool.
The great thing about all of these ideas is that none of them require a huge financial investment. You are basically in control of all the costs, as you get to decide your budget up front for online ads, promotional giveaways, and events.
As a small business owner, it’s important to sometimes think of yourself as an hourly employee. Think about what you are doing each hour and make sure it’s productive. Standing at the cash register waiting for a customer to walk in or for that phone to ring is never a good use of your time. Always be thinking of new ways to market and grow your business, and take action on all of your ideas. That is the key to growing your business effectively and efficiently.
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