customer focused marketing for small businesses

When was the last time a big brand actually made you feel special? It’s not easy when they have millions of customers to “deal with” on a daily basis. But if you’re a small business owner, you’re closer to your customers… and now more than ever with the advent of social media! Yet, many small business owners just aren’t prioritizing personalized attention to the customers that invest in them the most. And that’s a huge mistake.

I coined my own phase “word-of-mouth-worthy” last year, and it’s at the center of everything I do for my clients. And while word-of-mouth marketing is technically free (you didn’t have to pay your customer to tell their friends about you!) it certainly comes at a price: your time and energy. You put the time and energy into a wonderful customer experience, from the first instance they saw your business, all the way through to the time they handed you their money. But very few businesses have been able to systemize a way to make this work like clockwork. Nor is it easy to track and record.

But I just wanted to write this down for you, because I think it’s so important for you to take an hour or two and really think about:

  1. How you make your customers feel special
  2. WHY people tell other people about your business
  3. How you can incorporate these practices on a greater scale

As small business owners, we don’t reflect on these things enough, because we’re so into the day-to-day operations. But once you really, really nail down the reason why people choose you over your competitors, you can begin to duplicate the effect. Think beyond just the purchasing experience. Here are some more things to think about:

How are you engaging and treating people before they become customers? And what about after?

How are you making them feel when they aren’t even thinking about your business?

When you’re trying to stay top-of-mind, are you doing it in a way that makes people smile?

Are customers tagging their friends and family in your social media posts?

If you, as the business owner, are too busy to get in the trenches with the customers, then I highly recommend appointing someone on your team to be your customer’s advocate. Someone to think like the customer, speak their mind like the customer, and always be on the lookout for your greatest ambassadors. Mobilizing your best customers will pay off big time in the long run.

We always hear “it’s not about you, it’s about your customers”. But until you take it to heart, your marketing will always feel a bit inauthentic. And authenticity (another hot marketing buzzword right now) really is one of the top reasons people choose one business over another. I’m going to be keeping an eye out for small businesses that are running exemplary customer-focused marketing initiatives and sharing them with you this year. In the meantime, I want YOU to do the same, and start thinking of ways to prioritize the customer experience, both on AND offline.

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