Day 98 of #100daysmarketingcreatives - Why show up consistently? What does that mean, what does it do and how do you do it?
OK practice what they preach as they say! I know I am guilty of it just as much as the next person. Life is so busy and there are so many demands on our time from work, from family, even just trying to make some space to relax sometimes although as an independent business with a big family that luxury can often be somewhat difficult to realise. I haven't posted for nearly 2 weeks and feel so guilty about it! But why should I feel like that after all I have doubled my Instagram following in less than 4 months - isn't that enough surely?
Running a local offline business such as a shop you show up every day. People walk past, they see you, they pop in, they strike up a conversation, they might buy something small, they see you around town, they come back again, they strike up several more conversations and then sure enough they start to grow trust and confidence in you and start buying from you on a regular basis and you earn a loyal repeat customer who comes back again and again.
It is easy to forget sometimes when selling online that the same principles should apply there too but you need to think outside of the box a little about how you get in front of the customer and try to map onto the newer electronic world what has been happening in the real world for generations.
So how do you get people to just 'walk by' your shop electronically? Well actually there are several ways. You need to look at optimising your website for search engines with keyworks that people might use to find you and your products (SEO). You need your website details on your exhibition stand, on business cards, email footers, links in profiles on social media, get others to mention it and so. You need people to start seeing your name crop up as they go about their every day business not just see you at Christmas when you are trying to sell products to them!
You need to reach out to people in the community, get them to know you and you them as a shopkeeper and customer in your local town. Think of rented platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and other social media as opportunities to do this. Show up frequently. Post frequently. Comment on other people's posts frequently. Don't go for the hard sell but instead talk about what you do. Share your skills, share your knowledge. Ask questions then engage in conversations. Share your own knowledge as well as take an interest in other people's. Isn't this what happens when you visit your local shop? Do they take an interest in you, make small talk with you, demonstrate their knowledge and ask you questions about what you are looking for or just go straight to the hard sell? We all get turned off by the hard sell Arthur Daley type (anyone old enough to remember him?) but we gain trust in the person who shares their skills and knowledge with us and takes an interest in us don't we? It grows trust and confidence which ultimately lead to sales, loyal customers and repeat business. Talk direct to customers but also make a point of talking to industry influencers and experts in your field who can often help your visibility and endorse you.
Trust and confidence are essential especially when buying online but these things are not simply given they are earned over a period of time. Think about your own online buying habits. You have total confidence buying from Amazon but that didn't happen overnight. Amazon had to earn that confidence. They have been around for several years. You see them everywhere now. You have purchased lots, your family and friends have. But what about a website in a foreign country? Would you have the same amount of trust there? Perhaps you might buy from them on a trusted platform like Etsy, Online America or other big trusted platform but would you really buy direct right away?
Most people will need to see you posting regularly in social media, mailing them through their mailing list, popping up in Facebook Ads, being mentioned by others that they already trust, being listed on trusted platforms and so on. It isn't enough to simply put up a website and hope people will come to you no matter how good your search engine optimisation. Yes you will get some business but unless you are proactive turning up regularly and getting in front of your customers you will not develop the trust and confidence needed to turn them into loyal customers who will bring you repeat business year after year after year.
A few interesting figures to leave you with here - at the beginning of my career when I did a simple business course to get my business off the ground there was a suggestion that you need at least 3 touch points before a customer would consider buying from you. If you were putting an ad in traditional printed media that meant 3 expensive ads at least. One just wasn't sufficient and 6 would be much more effective. Since then the internet and social media has totally transformed everything and the figure quoted by some marketers is now more like 20 touch points or more. Yes it is easier and cheaper to 'touch' potential clients now but you need to do much more of it to grow that trust for them to buy from you and there is so much more competition so showing up consistently to be seen through the competition is so important.
Some more takeaways I have come across in my research is that a mailing list contact is worth 10 social media followers and it costs 7 times more to sell to a new customer than it does to an existing customer. Think about those figures for a minute? Existing customers are so much more valuable to you. You need to capture their details then show up regularly, nurcher them, talk to them, share your knowledge and skills with them, build relationships with them. If you earn their loyality then keep showing up consistently they will buy from you repeatedly and it will be much easier than trying to find new business. Another figure well floated is that many small art and craft business can earn over 70% of of their annual income in the last 3 months of the year. Don't just show up in those 3 months, show up consistently in all 12 months. You might not generate the same volume of sales through your efforts in the earlier months but you will generate trust and confidence in you so that by the last 3 months your efforts will pay off substantially! I will talk in much more detail in later posts about how to gain consistent visibility in each area. Stay tuned!
Do you show up consistently? How do you do it? How often do you post on social media? How often do you send newsletters? Do you stick rigidly to this? How is it working out for you?
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