The 2nd Annual Small Biz Mktg Rx Tour is underway! Get ready as we visit cities throughout the San Francisco & Monterey Bay Areas in our mission to empower as many business owners as possible. We're out to share the best practices, tips, tricks and resources that can be used instead of buying into the sometimes very expensive marketing solutions business owners are being pitched each and every day.
Visit our Tour page for all the details including how your business can be featured when we visit your area.
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If you're attempting to battle the big names in online retail as a brick and mortar, you're going to want to watch this video as we dive into the first three steps you need to take to even begin to stay relevant with your target customers.
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Now that Q1 is behind us, you might be in a variety of positions. Maybe you want to grow, or possibly turn things around. And if you're like most business owners, you’re probably getting between 5-8 cold calls and/or emails each day that promise to take care of your marketing for you. And those Facebook ads for boot camps and Facebook ad courses are probably a little tempting too, but guess what, most of them are not going to work as a single approach! Watch our video to hear about our recommendation for four top resources to not only help your marketing, but your overall business so you can take your business to where you want it to go.
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[2 Minute Read]
The key to your online presence is sitting in your back pocket! Your smart phone is a way to capture the footage you need to entice potential and past customers to spend their hard-earned dollar with you. One behind-the-scenes or how-to video could be all it takes. The beauty of that photo or video is that you can:
Take a look at our highlight reel we recently produced, combining a year's worth of footage, tap/click HERE to see it.
The point here is to be sure and map out the best use for the content that you take time, money and other resources to create. If you have a primary product or service that drives your revenue, creating a simple video that explains to potential customers and fans why and how it will make their lives easier and happier may be all you need to get people talking. The easiest way to do this is to go into airplane mode, dust off the white board and create a story board of the journey that your content can take each month.
If you have a particular theme or product/service emphasis for a specified time period, then why not spell out why your customers need to have your product or service on their radar. Just think, if you are located by the beach where hundreds of moms hang out each summer day waiting for their kids to finish up junior guards, don’t you think they’d like to know about a quick ‘n easy, grab ‘n go family lunch combo or beach day survival pack? Jump into your customers’ shoes for a moment and think about what would make their life easier and happier, then figure out where you need to be to catch their eyes and ears. Once a number of them know about you, they’ll talk and the magic of word of mouth will spread! The essential ingredient will be to spell it out for them since they’re bombarded by marketing as soon as they wake up each morning.
5 Tips To Take Your Quality Up A Notch
Our last point is to emphasize that if you strike the right chord with your target customer, they will literally jump in their car, drive to you, battle traffic and race into your store to pick up your product, especially if there’s an element of time-sensitivity.
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[2.5 Minute Read]
Seriously, if you’re opening the doors to your business and hoping people walk through without having put any marketing tactics into motion, your days may likely be numbered. We meet a number of business owners that have essentially given up on marketing because nothing seems to work, or it’s just too much effort. We’ll let you in on a little secret, there is no “easy button” for marketing, it takes time and effort and if you want people to know about your product or service, it’s essential that your marketing is continually pumping out your message.
It's not surprising that most small business owners wear quite a few hats so we wanted to give you three steps to help you achieve your business goals via marketing.
Step 1: Get Focused
Choose the two to three ways you can most effectively and efficiently communicate with your target customer. The old adage of doing a couple things really well versus quite a few things really poorly works here. While we’re fans of developing a diversified marketing portfolio, it all depends on your bandwidth so even if it’s two things that you can implement, that’s a great start. The key is to have thoroughly analyzed where your target customers (associated with the specific business goal you want to achieve) are congregating so you can infiltrate their busy lifestyle. Maybe it’s their social media feeds in the evening hours or could it be sponsoring a meet up or a popular gathering spot? Whatever it ends up being, be sure it’s crafted in a way so it hits home with them and really resonates with the wish list they have circulating in their head to help make their lives happier and a little easier.
Step 2: Schedule Your Marketing
Next, you’ll want to figure out when you can realistically find time to devote to executing your marketing program. It might be the first 30-minutes of your work day or maybe it’s a particular day where two hours of focused marketing implementation can take place each week. The bottom line is that you need to find time during your busy schedule and then schedule it. That means actually blocking out the time and dedicating those prized marketing minutes to getting a lot done, which may mean putting your phone in airplane mode. Make it a priority and treat that time block as if it were a game-changing business meeting that can’t be interrupted or re-scheduled.
Step 3: Track It!
If you’re not tracking your marketing, how will you know if your time, money and resources are being spent in the most efficient way? Whether it’s reviewing your google analytics on a regular basis, asking your customers about what brought them in and methodically tallying their responses or simply running a Square report on zip codes, it’s crucial that you have a system for determining if your marketing is working. For example, if your customer mentions having seen you on social media, pry just a little bit more and ask if it was the cool drone video and if they answer yes, then you know it was the Instagram ad you’re running…the key is to have very specific ways to measure your marketing you work so hard to broadcast to your current and potential customers.
If you're serious, we mean absolutely serious about making your marketing program work for your business so you increase sales and web/foot traffic then we recommend you working through our "Prepare for 2018" workshop in our DIY library."
Whether you are located inside a shopping mall, strip center, downtown or off the beaten path, there is one vitally important aspect of your business that should never be forgotten...your store front. As a business owner, you wear quite a few hats each and every day and one of them should be to create a regularly-scheduled walk through with the perspective of your highly-valued customers you work so hard to reach.
If you're like most brick and mortar businesses, the ability to attract your target customer involves a great deal of time and in many cases, financial support. As we travel throughout our region, we observe quite a few best practices executed extremely well, while we also see a number of instances where just a little more attention to detail could convert that passerby into another tick on the traffic counter. Here are a few questions to ask that should always be top of mind when it comes to making that first impression:
We're all guilty of walking right by those little projects that gradually worsen over time or just need a little attention, but from a potential or loyal customer's perspective, these are all variables that factor into whether they will give you their business. We vividly remember driving by a restaurant that opened pre-holiday, but their store front was set back from the sidewalk and their only sign was blocked by the landlord's holiday icicle lights that still adorned the building in late January. This is a simple fix, but it's one of those areas that needs to be reviewed regularly from the customer's point of view...in this case, those month-long holiday tourists scanning the restaurant landscape may have just passed right by.
Here in Santa Cruz County, 41st Avenue serves as a hurdle for many business owners who are eager to expand their customer base. While many locals on either side of town make quarterly or semi-annual journeys beyond this invisible barrier, there are strategic ways in which to increase the geographic radius of your target audience. For many businesses, it’s a matter of cracking the code of reaching tight knit communities, combating traffic patterns or possibly debunking the popular myths that accompany a popular tourism area. All of these can be a tough challenge to overcome. Chipping away at changing shoppers’ habits can be very fruitful for your business. Here are some suggestions to get you started!
Bottom Line: If you’re going to begin thinking about any of these tactics, be sure to go big, thinking small just won’t convince folks to get in their car.
It’s unfortunately become a reality, but many shoppers are now very accustomed to terrible customer service. Being placed on hold, waiting for employees to finish their text, and having to ask for help are just some of the frustrations that many consumers are faced with. Not only do these types of practices make your shoppers think of other alternatives, but it also places your reputation you’ve worked so hard to create in peril as customers are now accustomed to voicing their frustrations both offline and online.
We’ve learned over the years that the key to great word of mouth is placing a little positive “shock” into the customer experience.
Here are three ways to make your customers say “WOW!”
Random Acts of Kindness – Whether it’s a completely happy customer or one that is beginning to get a little hot under the collar, a “RAK” can do wonders to make their day. We’ve surprised our customers with gift cards, tickets, food and much more. It’s that huge smile that comes about when you surprise your customers that provides that little piece of winning something that gets them talking. So if your customers need to wait for 10 unexpected minutes or you want to promote an upcoming product launch or event, the “RAK” is guaranteed to get them talking, sharing and spreading the word that your business treats their customers like royalty.
Live Help – When someone is in need of immediate assistance, do you think being transferred, being placed on hold or forcing them to leave a message is the best way to treat them? If you’re a local business, the customer is potentially going to physically arrive at your doorstep and you’ll now hear from them in person as fellow shoppers listen in. Make sure that your team is well-versed in helping phone calls under pressure. The other day, I called a prominent accounting software company and after three rings, a live person answered and I started laughing as this just doesn’t happen anymore. That right there and the fact that they were informed and found answers to all my questions went a very long way.
Chat It Up! – We’re big fans of answering online inquiries ASAP. In fact, on Facebook, you’re rated as a business page with how long it takes you to respond to comments and messages you receive. Your first step should be to make sure your social media app settings are set to notify you with sounds, alerts and push notifications as soon as they occur…it can mean the difference between making an immediate sale and possibly losing that sale. You also need to keep in mind that as customers search online for solutions to their problems, they typically want quick answers. And many times, they have questions that a phone call or email would take too much effort to perform, so adding a chat function to your website is a very good best practice. Using a free service like purechat.com and their mobile app can give you the ability to answer questions while on the go.
[3 Minute Read]
If you’re like most business owners, you’ve been burned by marketing tactics like direct mail, Facebook ads, and producing your own events. Here are 20 tips in areas ranging from advertising to PR and social media to help make your life easier and your business more successful.
Customer Experience Audit
Go BIG: If you'd like to dive deeper into the opportunity to develop your own customized, marketing strategy, we have a variety of options to help you develop what you need to make it all happen. We're here to help you go BIG, click here to learn how!
Whether you’re a start up or a seasoned business, marketing is typically the first thing that’s cut when trying to trim the fat on spending. We highly recommend that you shy away from this practice, but if you need to slash your marketing budget, it is possible to promote your business for as low as one dollar per day. You may not believe it, but just like anything in life, you typically pay for convenience so you don’t have to work harder, which in this instance means that with just a little extra effort you can make a huge impression without spending very much at all.
Here’s how to do it in five steps:
If you'd like to dive deeper into the opportunity to develop your own customized, marketing strategy, we have a variety of options to help you develop what you need to make it all happen. We're here to help you go BIG, click here to learn how!
As founder of The Root Group, Bryce Root has a sincere passion for helping small business owners via his 20+ years of diverse marketing experience.
The Santa Cruz Business Insurance Experts
"I own a fitness studio in San Francisco, which requires constant marketing. We used to market on an as-needed basis, not strategically, and our business wasn't as profitable as we knew it could be. I was looking for someone to help us establish a brand image/strategy that excited people to join. Bryce encouraged us get to know our clients more than on a surface-level before our first meeting, which has turned out to be the foundation for every business decision we've made since then.
Bryce is methodical in his work -- giving us spreadsheets, handouts and homework. He's a great teacher in that he asked us questions (instead of lecturing) so we could arrive to the best marketing decisions on our own. Our sales are more than DOUBLE what they were this time last year, thanks to Bryce!! I could go on and on about everything I've learned from this invaluable experience. If you love working on your business and watching it grow, your time with Bryce will be worth every minute. It's exciting, thought-provoking and most importantly he helped us make a lot more money than we thought possible in such a short amount time!!!"
Shala M., Co-Owner - YuBalance Fitness Studio
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