Supercharge your Business During Lockdown 2.0 ~ by Jo Sellers
It's true to say that there is no point in worrying about things you can't control. Lockdown 2.0 is one of those things. But you can control how you respond to it and I would suggest it is a fantastic opportunity to do all the things you now realise you possibly should have done during the first lockdown. This could be from getting outside more and taking that online yoga class to stepping back and examining every aspect of your business to make improvements and ensure you come out of the November lockdown in better shape and ready to hit the ground running in 2021.
Look at this time as a gift. All too often, business owners leave planning for a new year - until the new year. Depending on the nature of your business, lockdown gives you an opportunity to really take some time to look at what you need to do to make sure that 2021 gets off to the best possible start. Firstly, understand that there are two keys to a Company’s success - innovation, which is simply coming up with a better way to meet people’s needs and improve their lives by adding more value than anyone else. And marketing – how you tell people about your product or service. Now a quick question – does having the best product or service always win the day? Rarely. Usually a lesser product that is better marketed will be more successful. But will that lesser product endure? Again, not necessarily. To be really successful, you need both. A fantastic product AND you need to be really good at marketing it. All too often, in a recession or crisis, a company’s knee jerk reaction is to simply cut back or worse – completely cut out its marketing. These types of businesses view marketing as a nice to have – a non-essential item in the annual budget. But the reality is - you need marketing to generate customers.
Without marketing, you will have fewer customers and you will never reach your potential. But good marketing takes time – if marketing is not your thing – you will need to learn the skills and consistently implement the activity. If you own your own business, look at how you spend your time and be prepared to prioritise up to 50% of your time on marketing your business. If you really can't do this - employ someone – either in-house or an agency to help. HIRE YOUR WEAKNESS! Understand that good marketing should be something that makes you money - not costs you money.
If you believe you have a brilliant service and product but don’t feel your business is where you want it to be compared to one of your competitors - the gap will almost certainly be in the way they do their marketing and the way they run their business.
Your success will have very little to do with WHAT you do and EVERYTHING to do with HOW you do it
So where to start?
First of all, take 100% responsibility. As a business owner – you need to always be working on two things – the business you are now and making improvements to it every day and the business you are going to become. If you don’t work on this – you will become the business that you were. So, you need to make some time to really look at your current business – both on your own as a leader and as a team. If you’re a retailer, make sure you have all the basics ticked off – make sure your showroom is looking fantastic, is super clean with safety procedures in place. Switching up the accessories can transform a showroom without having to change displays. And make sure your website is up to date. Make time to fix any holes in your bucket!
Make time for thinking. By that I mean go somewhere quiet, take a notepad and pen and ask yourself some quality questions. Your unconscious mind will give you the answers. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is What is Your XFactor? What do you want to be known for? What makes you stand out? What do you do that no one else does? And then ask yourself some uncomfortable questions like - where are you weak? What new skills do you need to excel at or grow your business, where have you let average or mediocre be acceptable? What needs to change in how you do your business? And then the two most important questions – what more can we do to offer more value to our customers? And what irresistible offer can we create that our clients simply cannot refuse?
Now think about your IDEAL client. Write down everything you know about them – you want to know more about them than they know about themselves!
- Where they live?
- What do they do?
- How do they live?
- Where do they shop?
- What do they read?
- What brands do they buy?
- How much budget do they have for their project?
- What is important to them? What do they want? What are their biggest fears and concerns – find their pain – and come up with the solutions.
- Put yourself into your customer’s shoes – what is their first impression of your business? What do they feel when they visit your website or showroom? Do they feel warmly welcomed and special? Think about somewhere like Wigmore Street – kitchen alley – so many fabulous kitchen studios all in one place. So much amazing choice. What makes a customer buy from one business over another? More often than not – it’s the people and culture of a business. Always remember that people buy from people – buying a kitchen is such a personal and large investment. It must never be transactional. You truly have to show you care about their investment with you.
FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR IDEAL CUSTOMER
Did you know it can take up to 16 exposures before someone buys from a brand or business?
So how will your customers find you?
There is a plethora of opportunities available to you...
- Google, online searching
- Online advertising and relevant sites
- Home interest magazines and quality national and local newspapers – editorial and advertising
- Social media: Pinterest, Instagram, Houzz, Facebook, LinkedIn
- Recommendations from family and friends
- High street showrooms and events
- Searching for expert advice – bloggers, influencers
- Partner brands
- Consumer exhibitions and shows, reader events
- Direct Mail
So, once you know your XFactor, have your irresistible offer in place and know exactly who your ideal client is – it’s time to take action to get known.
So what things do you need to have in place?
First up is good Photography – this is an essential investment. You can use beautiful photos of your projects or products across all aspects of your marketing activity – everything from your website, blog and social to advertising and editorial opportunities. But a bad photo can let down an amazing project or product so be prepared to invest. A good photo is gold!
Really know your media and the key journalists who write for them – KBB Trade, Consumer Home Interest & Lifestyle, Online Interior Sites - and send them your relevant news and case studies – they are all looking for content too.
Think about entering Awards - recognise the achievements of you and your staff by entering industry awards. These are a great way to build brand awareness and authority. These can take time to do well, but imagine if you win. How will that award look in your showroom?
Expert Comment – be prepared to invest the time in providing thoughtful expert comment and a photo of yourself in editorial opportunities – position yourself as an expert in your field – remember that people buy from people.
Advertising – a great way to maintain your presence in the key home interest and lifestyle titles – these are a vital source of inspiration for anyone embarking on a new interiors project and magazine subscriptions are massively up. Don’t ever think that print is dead – it really is not.
Direct Mail – a massively overlooked opportunity! if you operate in a particular location, identify the streets where you think your customers live and literally post a beautiful postcard through their door – use this to show off a stunning project, highlight your XFactor and or irresistible offer or invite them to an event in your showroom! Make it feel personal and it will stand out.
Think about Creating a customer referral scheme – imagine if every one of your customers introduced at least one other customer – what would that be worth to your business? How much would you be prepared to pay for that new customer?
Blogs - A blog on your website is a great tool to help you guide your customer through the planning process and can also help with your website’s SEO optimisation. Your content needs to add value to the reader such as; Five questions to ask your kitchen designer, five questions your kitchen designer should ask you, how to choose appliances, where to put your appliances? Which worktop is right for you? Induction or Gas - You’ll never run out of ideas!
And of course, Social Media
- Your potential clients are using social media to research their next projects NOW
- Be consistent and intentional with updating your platforms – don’t spam – 3-5 posts per week is a good start
- Build your online brand through beautiful quality photography, tone of voice and quality advice
- Engage with your community – reply to lovely comments and always helpfully respond to any issues offline
- Tag partner brands – they will likely return the favour
- Use popular hashtags so people will find you - 11 is an optimum number
But always remember that people are not on social media to be sold to!
Always look to add value and inspiration
Paid for Facebook Activity
Did you know there are 44.84 million UK residents on Facebook?
There are two ways you can pay to amplify your content:
Boosted Posts - A great low-cost way of increasing the amount of people who see your content.
Facebook advertising – bit fiddly to work out, but it can be done! Facebook advertising offers greater creative functionality and insights. The great thing about it is that you can test small to see what does and doesn’t work for you. If possible add a call to action, the aim is to get the user off of Facebook and on to your website as quickly as possible.
And finally COLLABORATE! Look for ways to work with complementary businesses or your suppliers. There are so many things you can do together.
So, that’s quite a list of things to think about. If that all sounds too much to contemplate, then do get in touch as we can help with any of the above. In the meantime, thank you for taking the time in reading this post and I wish you a very productive Lockdown 2.0!