Now that we are well into January and so also into any renewed gym membership getting your body back into shape, it’s a good time to start planning your renewed business marketing workout strategy too. Technology and with it the world of marketing is rapidly advancing. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you can’t keep doing the same things and expecting to grow your business. Just as in the gym you have to switch up your routine on a regular basis else your muscle will grow accustomed to your routine and not deliver results. The marketing that worked for your business a few years ago may not help you succeed in the future.
Below are a few of the biggest trends to get your LGBT business marketing pumped up this year.
If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, business will be much more fun. Connect with other LGBT entrepreneurs, startups, business leaders and professionals here on OutBüro – the LGBT business, entrepreneur, and professional global community.
1 – Enhance The Customer Experience with your LGBT Business
The phrase user experience or UX is often used in relation to software and web design. It’s the idea that features must be developed and designed with the site visitor and software user in mind. Customer experience or CX includes UX but also encompasses every touchpoint that customers have with your business. There are many ways to enhance CX, such as:
- When a customer/client visits your location first impressions are lasting ones. Ensuring your place of business is fresh, clean, and conveys the image you want to portray. Review the clutter and either add storage onsite or consider off-site storage to make your space more inviting. Further, consider some updated furniture, fresh paint on the walls, maybe some new artwork (thrift stores are great resources and/or reach out to local art groups if you have lots of public visitors to offer your walls as display space), new area rugs, and some potted plants can go a long way in making your space inviting while being professional.
- Keep your website visually and technically current. Revisiting the company website done many years ago to bring it up to date visually and functionally. I recently met an LGBT Business owner who provides great health products so his audience base is very wide. When visiting his website it was clear at first glance that he has not invested in a very long time. It may still function but as the main marketing and sales channel, it is a very old, clunky, and unattractive website. Today potential customers will quickly click away from super outdated-looking websites. I personally recommend having a steady stream of content regularly on a company blog. Further, the site should be a continue living entity being revisited regularly at a minimum annually from a design perspective yet monthly and quarterly from a system/plugin update perspective to reduce security threats. Your website should not be a “set and forget” entity.
- Ensure all staff is trained to put the customer first. Really think about how this is done, documented, implemented, and practiced. This includes a friendly attitude and providing correct information.
- Asking for feedback. Customer surveys, whether on your website or handed out in your store, are important for tracking satisfaction. Use these regularly and update them with new questions, such as how people feel about new products, features, and policies. If you’d like a really awesome way to survey your clients/customers try LoudReply for free today. LoudReply leverages NPS® – the gold standard in determining how to make your customers happier while fixing problem areas.
- Add a live chat solution to your company’s website like LiveChat. LiveChat is a tool for online communication between a company and its customers. It easily integrates with platforms like WordPress, Shopify, AdWords, Mailchimp or Facebook. LiveChat comes with advanced reports, that give you the overview, as well as a detailed look at your customer service activities. Basic reports show you the number of chats you get, the tickets you receive, your response time, and your customer satisfaction score. If you run several websites, you can place LiveChat on each of them with no additional charge. Using the work scheduler, you can easily manage your team’s working hours for each day of the week. With LiveChat, you are all set to go and serve your customers. Sign up now for a free 30-day trial.
- Put it on your daily/weekly calendar – engage actively on social media. Most businesses have a social media presence such as a Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and for the LGBT Business community an OutBüro account. You can’t just be there, you have to create interaction. Post with regularity even if only monthly. If possible post original content created by you and your team about your business, products, services, client success, and your industry. When followers post “like” and/or make positive comments in a timely manner – within a day or two. If someone posts a negative comment post a positive comment thanking them for their feedback and the opportunity to improve while asking to communicate with them directly via direct messaging or better yet on the phone or in person.
2 – Use Location-Based Marketing in your LGBT Business
For companies where your clients/customers are within a geographic range of your physical presence geolocation or location-based marketing is a key component of differentiating your business from similar businesses outside your range. Simply put, this is the capability to target clients/customers based on their location using GPS tracking in proximity to yours. Customers/clients typically provide their consent to being location tracked by search engines and services such as Facebook and OutBüro. When prospective clients/customers are searching sites such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo for your services/products you rank high on the results due to the relevance of your service/products and your location. Say, someone who is in Phoenix, AZ is searching for a natural medicine practitioner and you are a natural medicine practitioner but your offices are in Tampa, FL. Likely your business is not a match for that person in Pheonix and the search engines realize this. Therefore, in this case, you need to be at the top of the search results rankings for people searching your services who also live within Tampa or a reasonable distance from Tampa. Your business location address, the phone number must be electronically and human-readable on your website. This means it must be in text form not hidden in a graphic image. Further, every social media account should have your location information and a website link. To really pump up your location-based search results you should also strongly consider a business citation strategy. Business citations are simply a listing of your business on business directory sites such as OutBüro and others. I’ve used a service call Bright Local to have business citations hand added to many sites and master directories. Give Bright Local a try with their 14-day free trial.
This enables you to send people extremely relevant messages when they’re close to your business or even that of a competitor. You might also alert people to a special sale or promotion when they’re in your store. As mobile technology gets ever more popular, location-based marketing will become increasingly powerful. OutBüro will be conducting reviews of solution offerings in this space. If you have suggestions please leave them in the comments.
Add Livestream Video – 6 Ways to engage
While video has been getting bigger on the internet for years, currently there’s a huge push toward live-streaming. Live streaming videos add an element of transparency and a sense of timeliness. Facebook Live and other services such as Twitter Live (formerly Periscope), YouTube Live, and Instagram Live are changing the way people watch videos. You can (1) interact with your audience in real-time and answer questions. Live-streaming is a powerful branding tool that helps you engage with your audience. You can (2) conduct client/customer short interviews taking viewer questions and comments real-time. You can (3) feature employees, (4) provide insights into how your product is made or how your service is performed. You can also (5) provide training. Consider using the platforms mentioned and then (6) posting it on your company website and reposting socially for longevity usage.
Use Micro-Marketing in your LGBT Business
As marketing gets more expensive and competitive, it’s increasingly important to target your audience and identify your customers’ unique needs. It’s also essential to segment your customers into appropriate categories. If you have an email list, you can separate it into several lists based on preferences and buying patterns. Use a similar approach to paid advertising. Don’t simply advertise to huge groups (macro) but to specific audiences (micro). For example, rather than having a huge sale on every item in your store (or website), focus on a specific line or type of product and target those customers who are most likely to buy these products.
Collect More Data
“Big data” has been a marketing buzzword for some time. While there are many uses for data, nothing is more useful than compiling information about your customers. The more detailed a picture you have of your target customers – the more effective and targeted your marketing can be. And if you know which individual customers are the most valuable, you can go that extra mile to encourage them to spend with your business.
Small businesses need data as much as their larger counterparts. Do your market research. Whether your business is web-based or brick and mortar, there are now more ways than ever to learn all about your customers — who they are, where they live and what they need. The best way to get information from people is to ask them for it. Not everyone will fill out your surveys but many people will, especially if you give them an incentive such as entering them into a contest.
All of these trends are likely to expand and morph in 2018 and beyond. Not every tactic, technology or approach is appropriate for every business. Pick, choose and explore what works for you, your budget, your company, and your target customer. Don’t just follow what’s popular. There may be different methods that are more appropriate for some businesses than others, so don’t implement something just because it’s popular. Explore and be open to change. You may find that one or more of these strategies is just what you need to take your business to the next level this year.
What marketing tactics and technology solutions have worked for you recently? What new tactics and strategies are you considering this year? Let us know in the comments below with a link to your OutBüro and company website / social media account.