It’s good to talk

Many people will have already ditched their New Year resolutions way back in January while others are bravely carrying them on. But what about your work resolutions? How have you done with them? And have you communicated with your customers in 2012? If not why not? We offer up three common excuses.

1. You don’t think that they would want to hear from you. Maybe you sent them a Christmas card in December and feel that they wouldn’t want to hear from you so soon. Or maybe you feel that nobody is buying just now so why bother. Or maybe you feel that there is no point. You have listened to the news with all its doom and gloom about the economy and you think that you will just hibernate and batten down the hatches.

2. Marketing is expensive. Many businesses and people see marketing not as a valuable tool that brings them business but simply lots of money. And in the current economy you are looking at all costs and don’t want to spend any additional money.

3. Time Factors. You are busy running your own business and you just don’t have the time to market and communicate with your customers. People know about you anyway and there are more important things to do.

I have often heard these arguments but we would argue that successful businesses are ones that take time to speak to their customers and regularly communicate with them. I know you expect me to put up a good argument for marketing as yes that is what I do for a living. But I firmly believe in what I do and I know that marketing can make a significant increase to a businesses profits and the first step is to communicate with your existing customers. Put in very simple terms if you don’t communicate with your family or friends do you have a better or worse relationship? If we are honest our best personal relationships are with people that we communicate with. Its exactly the same in business.

So taking the three points in turn.

1. Your customers do want to hear from you. And I can assure you that your competitors are not sitting back doing nothing. They are communicating with their customers and maybe even with your customers. To take an example from a big retailer Amazon. Many of us spent money with them at Christmas so do they stop sending out emails to remind you that your favourite author has a new book out? No they don’t because they know that this works just as well in May and June as it does in December. We are in lean times particularly for retail but it will be even more lean if you don’t communicate with your customers which is why retailers that I work with have been sending out e-newsletters with updates on their sale and communicating via social media. For tourism businesses this is the ideal time to communicate as one of the most important topics of conversation just now are holidays. But if you don’t communicate why should your customers visit your business and buy from you?

2. Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. We believe that this is a myth. For example one of our hotel clients gets £10 back of bookings for every £1 they spend on marketing. Yes if you spend marketing in a haphazard way with an advert here and there, it can be expensive. Advertising is expensive and you need to consider carefully before placing an advert, direct mail can be expensive and Press and PR can be expensive and all need to be targeted and you need to know why you are doing them. I have worked in marketing for over 20 years and firmly believe that it is more cost effective and targeted to market in 20112 than it was when I started my marketing careers. Take a business setting up in 1991. It would need to advertise, spend money on Press and PR, try some direct mail and door drops all of which would cost a lot of money. Today a business setting up can raise a lot of awareness by setting up a website and drawing traffic to this via Social Media sites and also setting out at the outset to collect email addresses of customers and keep in touch with regular e-newsletters. This approach should be done by all businesses not just those setting out and we can assure you if you do this often you will get business. But you need to do so often and on a consistent basis.
3. You need to make time. No business can survive without customers and communicating with them. That includes my business Bright Light Marketing and we make sure that each week we work on marketing our own business. As we know that if we don’t we won’t survive. And yes sometimes we feel we don’t have time but we have to make the time as its crucial to the on – going future of Bright Light Marketing. Simply put you can never assume that people know about you. Why should they know about you if you don’t give them a reason to? The competition for people’s cash has never been so fierce and any business that is not communicating is going to suffer. Time is precious but so is your business. Most of us put our heart and souls into our business so don’t ruin it by feeling that you don’t have the time to communicate with your customers.

So we are at the 8th of May and I ask you again have you communicated with your customers in 2012? If you have well done, do it often and keep on doing so. If you haven’t take time, sit down and think how you are going to do so. The year is still young but if you leave it much longer your customers might forget all about you and you don’t want that to happen do you?

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About fionadranesblog

40 plus mum of two married with a mad cocker spaniel. Along with two colleagues run Bright Light Marketing a rural marketing agency who specialise in getting rural businesss noticed. www.brightlightmarketing.co.uk. Live in St Boswells in the wonderful Scottish Borders. Love books, walking and living life to the full here in the Scottish Borders though its sometimes a juggle!
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