More and more people are becoming digitally dependent when it comes to spending money, and many are influenced by the experience of watching their parents shop during the recession of the early 2000s. How can small business owners like you ensure you're reaching your target market? We've got some ideas to help.
Get Active on Social Media
This one may be the most obvious, but the power of social media can't be emphasized enough. People use social media - a lot. Fortunately, creating a social media presence may be one of your business's most accessible and cost-effective marketing tools. If you're a retailer, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are probably the easiest platforms to start with. If you're in the B2B category, consider swapping Instagram for LinkedIn.
How should you use your profiles? Think of social media channels as an additional avenue for conversing with your customers. As one helpful article by consulting and research agency Accenture explains: “The goal [of your business's social media] should be to create positive buzz, to be talked about…Simply having a presence on social media isn't enough - the aspiration should be to become the topic of conversation for all the right reasons.”
Some practical uses for your business? Post about an upcoming product launch, sale, customer testimonies, in-store event, or sponsor a giveaway.
Remember to monitor and respond! Whether online or in-person, people are used to a quick turnaround. They don't necessarily need a resolution to their question or issue, but they want to know you're listening and looking into it.
Unlike older generations, younger people are less likely to be swept in by the flashy lights and size of big-box retailers or the traditional American shopping mall, which can be great news for small business owners.
Embrace your business's local roots by putting a face and personality to your brand's name. Invite customers to drinks and a Q&A or feedback session with the owner (be sure to advertise on social media), have a "meet the staff" board, and rotate which staff member's background and personal details are featured. Starbucks does a great job simply by having a blackboard featured next to the cash register and updating the content with baristas' favorite books, music, or movies and how long they've worked there.
The desire and importance of frictionless purchasing and transactions are likely a result of the smartphone. If you need help understanding the appeal of easy, online, or app-based transactions, try purchasing a few things from companies that do frictionless purchasing well.
Buy something off of Amazon, sign up for Starbuck's loyalty program (allows users to manage, track stars/points, and pay for drinks without ever leaving the app), send money to someone using person-to-person payments such as Zelle, or hail a ride using Lyft or Uber.
Not only will you appreciate the ease, but you'll also get some ideas to update your business's transaction processes. Consider upgrading your card payment processing system to include accepting digital wallet payments, like Apple or Android Pay, or implementing a digital loyalty program so customers don't need to use traditional paper punch cards.
WaFd Bank is Here to Help
With business services like payment processing and inventory systems, customer loyalty programs, and tools to optimize your cash flow, WaFd Bank is in the business of bringing simplicity to yours. If you're looking for straightforward solutions to help you grow your business, contact your local business banker today or open a business account online.