We’ve heard the cliché “New Year, New Me” but for the majority even with our best intentions, our motivation doesn’t make it to February. What were you hoping will be different in 2020? Is there something you are trying to elevate or maybe say goodbye to? Did you go into your new year with a plan?
Vision Board Your Business
Yes, sometimes it’s easy to look at the P & L and ROI reports to see what’s profitable, but is that really taking you into the future you want? First, it’s time to check-in. Make sure that what you want to accomplish and what innovations are being implemented in your business are on the same path. Second, determine what that journey means to you and map it. A virtual vision board can help you re-center, as well as, help you realize what needs to be prioritized.
SWOT It Out
Strength. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats – this basic analysis works with your vision board and helps you get to the next step – Planning.
Now is the time for the fun!
You know what products or services you want to highlight, you know your customers, and you know your space so what’s next? How will you set yourself apart in 2020 and make an engaging, memorable experience that will have your customers asking for more? Supermarkets have cooking demonstrations and pre-packaged dinner packets, crafting stores offer free diy classes for all ages, online services use algorithms to know when interest is waning and send “share with a friend, receive a free gift” coupon for lead generations. You can rely on some of the classics or you can try something completely fresh and new.
Become a Data-Collecting Pilot
Don’t be scared to try something new (or new to you). Nothing is written in stone and tweaking ideas is part of how people and businesses grow. Create pilot program opportunities and use A & B testing with the mindset that you have to give it time to gather a reasonable amount of data. Did you promote an event and nobody showed? Was the invite a flop, was registering confusing, was something else drawing everyone’s attention, price point ok, product easy to understand? What if your first event was overwhelmingly attended? That doesn’t ensure long-term success either. If at first you succeed, try it again and make sure your formula is sustainable.
Tips & Marketing Ideas
Ask a few of your customers to be part of your idea incubator. Friends and family can be too complimentary. You need honest and constructive input.
Whether it’s in-person or online, draft a plan from your customers’ point of view. Imagine that you are a brand new customer who has never walked in your doors or been on your website. Then imagine you are one of your most loyal customers who is used to things in a certain way. Now, blend with your customers in mind; gradual changes with a bit of “wow” or a total redesign with a “how-to” tutorial can help keep customer satisfaction rates high.
Market, market, MARKET your changes. Use your website and social media to show your progress, showcasing what are the pros of the “new you”. Educate your staff so they feel empowered to be ambassadors for your progress. Create a script for greeters and staff. Use your resources and ask for feedback. LOTS of feedback.
Don’t be afraid of feedback. In this era where everyone seems happy to give feedback, you need to be thick-skinned but also read through and find the constructive tips that help you grow.
YouTube is popular because people do not come from the same experiences. That’s why things like “how to boil an egg” videos have MILLIONS of views. Yes, MILLIONS. Don’t assume — be the resource your customers need you to be, and use the time and energy you have to brand yourself as the best. If you’re a furniture store, create branded rack cards that answer “how to clean upholstery”, “how to clean leather”, and “which furniture polish to use.” Basic but ideas your customer will turn to YOU for, and every time they pull out the rack card, they have the impression of YOUR business.
Don’t go 100% digital. There is a reason branded mugs are a favorite giveaway. Having physical reminders of a brand means the customer is not at risk of going down the digital rabbit hole and forgetting why they used your precious pay-per-click ad in the first place. Coco-Cola spends hundreds of millions on commercials but they also license $10 Coke t-shirts at Target. Customers now wonder “where’s my soft t-shirt? The Coke one” AND they’ve turned fans into billboards.