I am blessed to be a part of an amazing group of women entrepreneurs called Tory Burch Fellows. After multiple rounds of interviews and applications, each of us was picked by the Tory Burch Foundation to be a Tory Burch Fellow – to be a Fellow means you receive a $5,000 educational grant, a week full of in-person training with experts like Seth Godin, but the best part of the experience is the relationships we build with the other Fellows.
Anyway, getting to my point. We do a weekly Zoom call that we call Happy Hour, where there’s no agenda for the call and we join when we can, fill each other in on what’s going on, and often, ask each other for advice or feedback. We talk about what’s on our minds as business owners and discuss topics like venture capital, Human Resources, operations, and very often, marketing and growth.
Growth is something that’s constantly on every business owner’s mind. Business owners all feel the struggles and ask themselves,
- Where do I start?
- What are the marketing activities that my business will get the most benefit from?
- How do I prioritize the time and money I spend on marketing?
#1 Tweak Your Email Marketing
If your business sends out regular marketing emails, this is a very good thing. Your list of engaged prospects or customers is one of the biggest and best assets you have as a marketer. You can change email programs but you always own your list. That’s a big advantage.
Have you looked at your past email campaigns to analyze and optimize them? One easy thing you can do this week is to look at your best-performing email.
In order to analyze past performance, pick one metric to look at. Choose one of the following:
- Open rate
- Click-through rate
- Delivery rate
- Unsubscribe rate
Once you’ve picked that metric, take a step back and look at your best-performing emails compared to some of your worst. What patterns do you see?
When you’re analyzing your open rate, the very biggest factor that affects email open rates is the subject line. Did the subject line ask a question? Did it use an emoji? Did you lead with your offer in your subject line? Find the pattern and repeat it.
Try testing your next email send with an A/B test where half of your audience receives one subject line, and the other receives a different one. Many email marketing tools like Mailchimp include this feature.
Any small business’ email marketing can be optimized one step at a time, and those incremental gains can have a big effect on your bottom line.
#2 Ask for Referrals
Do you have happy clients or customers? Do you ask them for referrals?
If you are not asking your clients for referrals, you’re missing out on one of the best ways to get more happy clients.
Here are some statistics that tell you why.
- 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family (Source: Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report)
- People are 4 times more likely to buy a product or work with a business when referred by friends (Source: Impact)
- 85% of small businesses are discovered by customers due to word of mouth recommendations (Source: Verizon/SmallBizTrends.com)
- Customers acquired through word of mouth promotion spend 200% more than the average customer (Source: ReferralCandy)
If your company sells a product or service to other companies, make a point this week to call up your happiest clients and ask them if they know anyone who can use your service. Don’t be hesitant to do this – remember that people like to help other people.
If your company sells a product directly to consumers, start a referral program. Think about what your best consumers would like, use that as an incentive and tell your customers that you’ll give them that incentive for every customer they refer to you. Programs like ReferralCandy and Mention Me make it really easy to implement.
#3 Experiment with Video
Here are some video stats for you:
- On social media, video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined (Source: Wordstream)
- Videos on Facebook Pages increase end-user engagement by 33% (Source: Wordstream)
- Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users (Source: Wordstream)
When it comes to engagement, video as a medium performs much better than other mediums when it comes to content marketing. Search engines like Google give higher rankings to content using videos.
But, as a marketing expert who works with small business owners, I hear a lot of consternation around the topic of using video. The most common objections I hear from clients about using video:
- It’s expensive
- I don’t want to be the face of my business
- I don’t know how to edit
The great news is that none of these objections are really true anymore.
While hiring a professional to create your videos can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. It can be quite affordable when you find the right team and batch your content so that you make the most of your production team.
If you don’t want to be the face of your business, ask yourself why. Is there a deep-seated self-consciousness afoot? Are you camera-shy? Put those hesitations aside, because I’m willing to venture that there is no one better suited to talk about your business than you.
Now, with social tools like Tik Tok and Instagram Reels, they make it easy for you to edit short videos within the app. And, the bonus about using these kinds of platforms for video is that the expectation is that the content is not professionally created and edited – that you are the person behind and in front of the camera, and because of that, the content feels more authentic.
So. This week – try creating a Facebook Live, a Tik Tok, or Instagram Story for your business. You might even have a little fun doing it.
#4 Create a New Offer
When was the last time you looked at your offers? When I talk about offers, I don’t mean what you sell, I mean how you sell it. An offer is about how you talk about and package the product or service that you sell.
For example, when stores sell something for 50% off, shoppers definitely feel like they’re getting a discount. But, if a store’s goal is to clear out merchandise and sell more in terms of volume, repackaging that offer into a Buy One, Get One becomes a win-win, because the store sells two items at a time, and the shopper walks out of that store feeling like they got something for FREE.
This week is a great time to look at your offers and how you sell. Think about your current quarter’s objective – is it to sell more to your existing clients or customers? Is it to get more customers or clients trying your product or service? Think about how your offers relate to that goal.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you reconsider your offers:
- If you are a service business, is there a way to package your services so that you sell a higher volume? Is there an information product you can sell to them on top of your services?
- If you’re an eCommerce store owner, is there something that is low cost but still valuable that you can package with your products so they seem even more valuable?
- Is there a new way to talk about your offer so it feels new? Can you reframe it, like our example of the store owner changing their sale from 50% off to a BOGO?
#5 Systematize Reviews and Testimonials
In Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth Revisited, the author makes a great point. Entrepreneurs must work ON their business, not IN their business. They must create systems from day one so that they can hire others to do this work and so that the entrepreneur can free up their time and not become a slave to their business.
As a business owner, you know that this is the truth, but it’s also not as easy to do as it sounds.
In my experience, it feels much less overwhelming to break this down into more manageable steps, so I try to pick two systems per month to tackle.
A great one for you to start with is systematizing your review and testimonial procedure.
Wait, you’re not asking for reviews and testimonials?
You should. You should be asking every happy client and customer to leave a review or testimonial as appropriate. Why? See #2 above. When people don’t have a referral, they go to reviews. They look for other people just like them who have used your service or product, and great reviews tip the scales towards a purchase.
Here’s how to systematize your reviews and testimonials.
If you’re a service business:
- Create a Google Form (you can find them on your personal Google account here or you can access them through your Google Business Workspace account)
- On that Google Form, keep it simple. Ask for your client’s name, email, type of service (if you have various services) and a testimonial.
- You can even add a form to have them give you a star rating.
- Be sure to ask permission to use testimonials on your site.
- Insert the form link in your email and send it to your clients with a nice note telling them how much it means to your business to get testimonials.
Here’s what Kafen8’s testimonial form looks like. Feel free to use this example and model your form from this one.
If you’re a products business:
- You can follow the process above
- OR, most marketplaces and eCommerce platforms like Shopify have a built-in review system that you can customize based on your products and store needs
- In order to get product reviews, it can help to incentivize your customers with a discount or free product with purchase
Once you have those testimonials and reviews, be sure to use them. Feature them in your social media posts, place them throughout your website, and make them into the wallpaper at your store. Ensure they are visible to your clients and prospective clients, and they’ll become one of your best sales tools.
Our Challenge to You
We want to see how you are taking this marketing help for your small business and turning it into action. Try one of these actions, or all five, and tell us about it! We want to hear how your businesses are benefiting. Show us on social media how you are taking action. Got more questions? Contact us here.
About the author:
Amanda Gregory is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of Kafen8, a content marketing agency based in Denver, Colorado. She is a self-described “highly functioning introvert” who loves all things marketing, reading, great food, and laughing with her friends and family. Her company, Kafen8, helps small business owners energize their businesses with content marketing that converts. Read more about Amanda and Kafen8 at kafen8.com.