Being social doesn’t require a smart phone – it requires another human.
So I was at an online marketing conference for small business owners over the weekend. All of the major digital marketing companies were there and all of them had great products to help you reach your target audience, or identify your target audience, or how to segment your target audience, or how to grow your target audience…
They could reach them on social media, or with video, or with apps, or on their phones, or in the inbox, or on their tablets, or on their laptops… They can target your audience, or retarget your audience, or contextually target your audience, or behaviorally target your audience, or target your audience by gender, household income, location or if they like chocolate cake…
…and after all these great companies spoke about all their great products, and explained how much value they can offer, and how much they will help your grow your business… all I could see on the faces of these poor, unfortunate business owners was the look of panic and complete overwhelm!
STOP. Take a deep breath… and tell them all “thanks, but no thanks.”
“What?” you must be asking. Aren’t you a marketing consultant? Isn’t that how you make a living?
Yes, it is. And I know how valuable all these tools in the toolbox can be – but I also know how expensive they can be. Say you spend a small amount on Facebook ads to target your audience. That’s $10 bucks a day during the week so that’s $200 a month. Then you throw in $400 more for a modest Google AdWord campaign. Add in $80 bucks a month for a business listing service, $200 bucks a month for website maintenance and updates, you buy some postcards, business cards and flyers and maybe throw a few bucks at a graphic designer and suddenly you’re up to $1,500 a month! And if you’re a small business, I bet that’s gonna hurt. And you know what? $1,500 bucks isn’t really going to do much in the end. Not when you are competing against huge companies spending 10 to 100 times more per month. What is a small business to do?
STOP. Take a deep breath… and do what you do best. Mind your own business.
When I say, mind your business, no matter what your business is – your business is customer service! And when you mind your business, you take care of your customers, and when you take care of your customers, they will take care of you. Your best source of new business will always be the referrals of other happy customers. And your best customers are the ones you ALREADY HAVE. Repeat customers will spend up to 10x more than a first time customer without you having to pay anything more to acquire them (you already did that the first time).
So the first step to take before even thinking about digital marketing is to do a great job with your current customers. Then start collecting their phone numbers and email addresses. And then start rewarding them. Start with those customers first and make them smile. Tag them on Facebook and say "Thank You for being such a great customer… What else can we do for you?" Get to know them… really know them. And act like it is 1969 all over again (okay, I know all of you won’t know what it was like back then) but let me give you a good example.
In 1969, if you owned a successful restaurant, it was because 1) you were an excellent cook and/or 2) you loved to be a host. In 1969, the owner of a restaurant would walk around their restaurant and greet you by your first name – and if she didn’t know your name, she would ask you and it would be committed to memory immediately – along with the name of your spouse and kids, and the fact that you liked your steak medium rare, and your martini dry with a twist, and the crème brulee was your absolute favorite dessert on the menu.
Somewhere between 1969 and 2015 (probably right around when the first tweet went out) we forgot that being social doesn’t require a smart phone – it requires another human. And I don’t think I’m speaking just for myself here, but I miss the days of that kind of 1969 attention. And I reward the businesses that pay me that kind of attention with my money. I have no use for Applebee’s, Dave & Busters, Chilli’s or any other mass produced, no attention paying, boring and drab chain. I want to go where everybody knows my name again, out loud and not on a 2 inch or 4 inch or 6 inch screen.
I’m actually keeping track of those businesses that care and I’m returning to them. And the minute they send me an automated email that says “dear ____” because they really don’t know my name, then I hit unsubscribe, never to be seen by them again.
But don’t get me wrong… if you are that 1969 type of business that really knows their customer, then definitely give me a call. There’s all kinds of fun advertising and marketing we can do together to reward more and more of your favorite customers. We’ll find plenty of ways to reward them – and they’ll take care of us just like we took care of them.