Managing a family business is hard work, but rewarding. The biggest obstacle that most small- and medium-sized businesses face is increasing sales. Marketing is the key to attracting new customers and landing more sales, but the strategies you've been using for years may not be as effective as they once were. Here are five tips to help market your family business.
1. Focus on Social Media and Email Marketing
Family-owned businesses – and small businesses in general – have a habit of putting marketing on the backburner when things are going well. But continuing your marketing efforts, even during the busy season, will help make slower periods easier to manage and minimize the impact.
Take advantage of email and social media marketing to spread the word about your business and your offerings.
If you don't have an email list, now is a good time to start one. Emails can be sent to your subscribers to spread the word about special deals, promotions and news. Coupons are a great way to get loyal customers through the door. And many of those customers will spread the word about your deals, which can help expand your list.
Social media networks are also great platforms for spreading the word about your business and special discounts you may be offering.
2. Don't Be Afraid to Try New Things
Maybe your marketing efforts aren't paying off like they used to. Just like any other industry, the marketing world is constantly evolving, and it's important to try new things.
For multi-generational businesses, it's all too easy to continue doing the things that were successful in the past.
If you rely on print advertising for your business, you might consider venturing into digital channels. Online advertising is surprisingly affordable, and if your budget allows, you might even consider outsourcing your marketing to a professional.
3. Get to Know Your Customers
It's easy to assume that you know your customers, especially if your company has been in business in your town for several generations. But times are changing, and people are changing.
You may know your customers' names, but do you know their shopping habits and buying process? Do you know which marketing forms are most effective with your target audience? Some prefer social media, others email and yet others prefer flyers.
There's no better time than now to start learning about your customers. Consider asking customers to fill out surveys or put together a focus group.
4. Get Your Website in Order
The look and functionality of your website is important. When people visit your website, they want access to the information they want in three clicks or less. And they expect your site to look modern and professional.
Make sure that your site is designed with your customers in mind – not yours.
Aesthetics is important, but it's only one part of the equation. It's equally important to make sure that your site is mobile-friendly. If your site isn't mobile-friendly, Google may not rank your website as highly in the search results.
A speedy, mobile-friendly website with a professional design will attract more visitors (and keep them around). It will also help improve your Google rankings in the long run.
5. Listen to Customer Feedback and Be Willing to Change
Remember how we discussed the importance of getting to know your customers? You can use those surveys and focus groups as an opportunity to get feedback from your customers. What can you do better? What do they like about your business? What would they change?
Once you have some feedback from your customers, you can use that to your advantage to make changes.