As the current state of our economy is a challenge for nearly every small business owner, it is important to keep in mind basic strategies to help attract customers.
Offering specials to lure in customers is a great first place to start, but there are other easy actions that business owners can take to be proactive and attract more commerce. Take R.J. Julia’s in Madison, Connecticut for example; this bookstore hosts events such as readings and get-togethers by the authors they sell, and they create a sense of community for their readers.
Staying in Touch: What’s Important to your local business customer?
Consumers are looking to save money by reducing their spending. Malone’s Sandwich and Coffee shop in Clinton’s center is a quaint little cafe that serves breakfast, lunch and an array of snacks and coffee concoctions at small town prices, a necessity that has kept the Connecticut small business on track. Although many higher priced fast food places have lost business, ‘dollar menu’ sales have soared for McDonald’s and Burger King…and smart Connecticut restaurant and cafe owners are able to take these lessons to heart.
Another local business, the Cooking Company in Killingworth and Haddam, CT offers a mix of freshly prepared sandwiches and salads prepared as take out or, for those with more time available, a nice area to sit down and eat. The dinner menu is also full of great food, and is prepared for those that need a delicious and healthy quick meal. This upscale Connecticut restaurant also offers desserts that could be found at a fancy bakery! And for those with a busy schedule, the take out option for the freshly prepared food is a great incentive.
Five Small Business Marketing Tips for Our Times
Business owners may not have found solace in this recession, but many agree on some tried and true tips that can make the most out of the current market place. Many Connecticut businesses are finding this challenging environment the jump start needed to really think creatively.
Smart restaurateurs, salon owners, contractors, and shop proprietors need to ask themselves: What makes my customer excited? Where do they hang out, both online and around town? Who are the people in town that others listen to… the ones that ‘spread the news’?
1. Motivation. Despite the economy, it takes some serious motivation to keep a small business running. It starts with the owner: Lead by Example. Workers will follow the lead of an owner full of dedication and enthusiasm. An atmosphere of friendly competition can stimulate higher sales and productivity. Encourage more by rewarding your employees for new ideas and creativity!
2. Build customer loyalty. This is a main goal for any growing business owner, but this loyalty may be what keeps a business going during the recession. If the 80/20 rule holds true (which says that successful companies get about 80 percent of their business from 20 percent of customers), then a mix between exceeding expectations and really getting to know these customers will be the perfect blend to keep you’re them coming back. Remember…It’s a lot easier and more cost-effective to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one.
3. Keep up with the marketing campaign. Active marketing is absolutely essential in this climate. The reality is that customers are being very careful with their dollars…they take more time to make decisions and they look at more options first. You can bet your competition is working hard for your customer, too! Businesses that aren’t aggressive in their marketing can face the grim reality of a dwindling customer base and lack of new sales.
How to market your local business in this economic climate? Well, that’s another whole article in itself!
4. Utilize the Internet. Don’t Wait another Moment. With all of the technology we have today, its imperative to get online, build a website, and market It. Be aware that this is where a large percentage of people start looking for what they want. The internet can be a powerful tool to reach new audiences for business owners. An experienced marketing professional can be invaluable in this economy; having a versatile specialist in the online marketing world can greatly improve a business campaign.
5. Have confidence. Keep a positive attitude. Try new ideas. Build a clear Brand presence that defines your business. Ask the advice of other entrepreneurs you respect. Many Connecticut small businesses are thriving right now and yours can be one of them.