All businesses want to reach customers. They do this by developing a working marketing mix using the 4P’s of marketing – price, promotion, product and place.
The promotion part of the marketing mix is the key component in reaching, educating and informing customers of your product and service. Lately we have seen diverse promotion activities from local firms here on the Peninsula—from buying advertising in print magazines and newspapers, to using Pay Per Click (PPC) ads through Google and Facebook to using “daily deal” providers like Groupon, Couvon, TeamBuy, SwarmJam and Ethical Deal.
But one of the best promotion avenues for small business still remains word-of-mouth marketing. All companies rely on, or at least hope for, positive testimonials from their customers as they tell their friends, family, and other contacts about the service they received or product they bought. What if there was a way to make this a bigger part of the marketing mix for local small businesses?
If your business is interested in investing in word-of-mouth avenues for growing your business, let’s look at some options that might be available to you:
Face-to-face: Perhaps the most manageable way to build word-of-mouth business is to network. This means showing up to local events, meeting new people and being genuinely interested in what they have to say. Your genuine and “non-salesman” approach will garner respect, and likely lead to increased business over time as people talk about you to others, or recall your name when they encounter a need for what you offer.
Web-based: Probably the biggest mistake businesses make in their use of social media is to treat it like advertising. Businesses on
Facebook and Twitter often talk about what they are doing, why they’re better, etc. Instead, progressive businesses use social media for engagement. This means talking to customers, sharing useful information, correcting a customer-service error–basically showing the world that your business is made up of people, not cash-registers.
- Customer Service:
If your company is not good at customer service, you probably already know it. If you’re really good at it—keep developing it as a core value of your business, which might mean making an annual or periodic investment in customer service training for your staff and (believe it or not) even you, the business owner. This investment will pay off!
The Saanich Peninsula Chamber of Commerce provides a host of opportunities for you to reach current and potential customers more often.
• The Chamber remains as a very active networking medium. We host at least two events per month (judging by our 2012 schedule here, it’s probably more like four!). Our monthly mixers are very popular and provide a comfortable environment. For those new companies or “less experienced” networkers, our staff attend all mixers and would be happy to take you around and introduce you to local business leaders to get your name in their radar (they have strong referral power!).
The Chamber also launched a social media strategy in 2011 that has built stronger connectivity to our members. We love to connect online through these mediums.
• Customer Service: The Chamber has long been an advocate for investment in customer service. This is why we have an ongoing partnership with WorldHost to provide this to our members. It will pay dividends to your company to invest in this. Learn more about it here: http://www.worldhosttraining.com/, and tell us if you want this set-up for your firm.
• The Chamber is also happy to bring awareness and education to the area of the effective use of the Marketing Mix. On March 23rd we are launching the first of our monthly business seminar series on this very topic (more here). In April the topic will be on effective retail design strategies—that is, how to design your retail space to better engage customers.
Thanks for reading! And remember we’re looking for “Guest Writers”, here’s how you can share your expertise with our members!
As Director of Business development at the Saanich Peninsula Chamber,
Dallas is responsible for member relations, development of new
projects and initiatives, liaising with local Government on various business
issues, and other fun stuff!