CHICAGO — While digital marketing can seem like an impossible mountain for many small-business owners, with a little research and effort, it can be done. Even more importantly, it must be done.
This was the message of Donna Botti, president of Delos, Inc. during her recent webinar presentation “Get More Customers and Clients in 2024 with a Digital Marketing Success Plan,” hosted by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).
In Part 1 of this series, we listed some of the digital marketing trends that Botti sees coming in 2024, as well as the first key action in marketing of focusing on the right clients. Today, we’ll continue by looking at the value of assets dry cleaners already have but might not be aware of.
Key Action No. 2 — Use the Content You Already Have
“You have content,” Botti says. “A lot of people say, ‘I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what platforms to use and I don’t have time to figure it out.’ But if I were to visit your store or to call you and start asking questions about your product or service, never in a million years are you going to say to me, ‘Hey, you know what? I don’t have any content. I don’t know how to answer you.’”
The answer to this question of content comes from listening to what you’re already telling customers.
“Think about the questions people already come to you with,” Botti says. “I have a rule of thumb, and that’s the ‘Three Times’ rule. If you found yourself telling the same story three or more times, answering the same question, or addressing the same objection, that is content for you.”
Once you become aware of this content, the next step is to decide how to put it out for current and potential clients.
“You should take that content and put it out there on social, on your website, on your blog, in videos or whatever you’re doing,” Botti says. “Answer the questions that people are asking about you, your product and your services. Let them get them behind the scenes. Tell them the story of what you’re doing.”
This communication not only makes you a trusted expert in the field but also earns valuable familiarity.
“Think of it as relationship building,” Botti says. “What are you doing to build relationships with people one-on-one? That’s what’s content for your marketing, with one-to-many in the digital space.”
As stated in Key Action No. 1, it’s critical to figure out the message you are trying to send.
“Focus on key content,” Botti says. “It’s important that you not try to do everything. Focus in on that business that you want. That’s where you should spend your time and effort. What’s important to the client you want? Answer the questions that people are asking — you’re already doing this day after day. Pay attention to your daily interactions.”
Simply asking questions of existing customers can help clear a path to a better marketing effort.
“Just talk to some of your best customers,” Botti says. “Ask them, ‘What’s the best thing about dealing with us? What do you like? What problem do we solve the most for you?’ And then listen to their answers — that’s your content. Because if you want to get more customers like them, it’s going to be people who have those same problems and same concerns, and what you do for them, you can do for someone else.”
Don’t Build on Rented Land
Being able to own the method you use to connect with customers is another important element, and one many business owners don’t really address.
“Social media is great, but you don’t own and control the content there,” Botti says. “You do on your website. So, your most important messages should go on your website. You can push out to social and experiment on different social platforms, but you should have that information on your site.”
This is especially true for evergreen information that can be used repeatedly, Botti says.
“If you’ve ever tried to find something on Instagram from two weeks ago, you probably can’t,” she says. “But that important piece of content is on your website, and it is still relevant two weeks from now. it’s still relevant six months from now. You can keep pushing out that same content in there.”
Botti also believes that social media platforms also introduce an unwelcome element of chance and risk: “Changes happen, and if you have decided that you are going to have all of your presence on one of these platforms, and they change the rules, you’re out of luck.”
Google and Email
Botti believes that taking charge of the tools available can help small-business owners make the most of their time and budgets, and have a better chance of success.
“Claim your Google business profile,” she says. “It is free. Google does not call you about it, but claiming it and working that helps immensely, particularly in ‘near me’ searches. It gets you on the map and in search.”
Email marketing is a vital piece of the digital marketing puzzle, Botti says.
“That is your owned traffic, and those are people you can contact when you want,” she says. “When you put a post on Facebook, if you don’t boost it or run an ad to it, you are going to be seen by about 5% or 6% of your followers, meaning if 100 people follow you only five or six people are actually going to see that post.”
Email deliverability is far superior to social efforts, Botti says. “When you use a good service, deliverability is around 95 to 99%,” she says. “It’s going to sit in the inbox is going to get to someone. Whether they open it or not, that’s something else, but at least they’ll have the potential to see it, which they don’t on a lot of social media platforms.”
Botti says that the goal of paid traffic, ads, organic traffic on the web and social media traffic is to convert all that into owned traffic. “You can’t build relationships with people whose names you don’t know,” she says. “It’s not about the number of followers, and with the emphasis on data privacy and tracking cookies going away, you want to know as much as possible about the people who have expressed an interest in you as you can. That is typically going to be through the email list.”
With email lists, you can contact people directly, use different campaigns, or add them to regular email communications. “Your goal is to get them to know, like and trust you,” Botti says, “and part of that is through repetitive contact with them.
There’s an order to growing an email list, Botti says.
“First, you’re going to get the word out, and you’re going to offer something of value for them in order to be able to do that,” she says. “It could be as simple as a coupon, or buy one, get buy one free if you sign up for your email list. Or, it could be a guide for something, answering a question or a video series. There are a ton of different ways to do this. It could just be an event where you’re collecting the addresses, but you want to get their email. And then, you need a consistent process and communications so that you are nurturing this person, so that they are building that like and trust with you.”
Botti finished by explaining the value of gathering reviews, along with a warning against doing it the wrong way.
“Is there a consistent process for getting reviews from your happy customers?” she asks. “What’s the follow-up look like so that it happens automatically? Reviews are powerful social proof, though they have to be done over time. If you think, ‘Oh, we better get reviews, let’s send something out,’ and all of a sudden, you’ve got 25 reviews where you had none for six months, and then you don’t get any more, the services tend to think they just bought some reviews. They’re going to think they’re spam, and they’re not going to use them.”
Come back Tuesday for the conclusion of this series, where we’ll explore ways that marketing efforts can become part of a business owner’s habits. For Part 1 of this series, click HERE.
Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Dave Davis at [email protected].