insightfulmarketing

Simple, effective and insightful small business marketing

Holiday Cards: Another Touch Point to Customers November 9, 2012

Filed under: Marketing,Small Business — insightfulmarketing @ 9:31 pm
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English: self made

It’s already November and the holidays are upon us.  Before you get “wrapped up” in the hustle and bustle of the season, have you thought about holiday cards for your small business?  It’s another way to reach out to customers, new and old, to say thanks for their business.  It’s also a way to nurture the relationship and reconnect –a touch point that signifies the sentiment of the season.  Here are some things to think about:

 

  1. Get going! Don’t wait. You should pick out your cards and have them in the mail well before the actual holidays. You don’t want your customers to think the cards were an afterthought OR to miss out on any of the goodwill (and business) that could result from the gesture.
  2. Personalize. If you’re going to strengthen your relationships with your customers, you’ve got to make it personal. Address your cards to a specific individual(s) and, whenever possible, include a personalized note. It doesn’t have to be a novel—a sentence or two will almost always do…or have the whole office sign to add that personal touch.
  3. Keep it professional. Every touch point you have with your customers reflects your small business and your brand. This includes not only the messaging you share, but also the quality of the communications you’re sending out. You don’t have to spend an arm and a couple legs at your local stationary store—upload your own artwork or choose a style that fits your business personality.  Many sites including http://www.vistaprint.com have reasonable pricing and many styles to choose from.
  4. Neutral is best. Not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving or Christmas.  You wouldn’t want to offend anyone with something that was meant to be a positive. To avoid putting anybody off, look for card designs that focus more on the “seasons.”

The holidays are a great time to reconnect with your customers. Before you get swept up in the holiday rush, don’t forget to make some time to pick up some greeting card, stop and say thanks, and touch your customers one more time before year end!

 

 

How Much Time Does Your Business Spend on Social Media? November 2, 2012

A new survey from email marketing software firm VerticalResponse found that 43% of small businesses (100 employees or less) spend at least six hours a week on social media, with seven percent spending over 21 hours a week on Facebook, Twitter, and such! Wow, with hectic schedules and the many hats they wear, small business owners are spending more time on-line, suggesting that more businesses are either realizing or actually seeing the benefits of social media marketing.  “Our survey confirms that small businesses are understanding the value of social media,” said Janine Popick, VerticalResponse CEO/founder. “They’re spending more time doing it, and investing more money into it at a faster rate. But the extra work will likely lead to time management issues, especially for the small business owner who’s handling social media on top of all the other responsibilities of running a company. This implies that small businesses are in need of tactics and tools now to help them save time.”

It’s interesting to note that small businesses are realizing the value of content – but, again, time is an issue.  More than half (55 percent) of small businesses surveyed have a blog.  (Of those, 43 percent publish a blog post at least once a week. Nearly half (45 percent) spend one to three hours to create one post, while 16 percent spend more than three hours.  (I can relate as it often takes time to come up with content, write the blog and then post it).  So, nearly half of those who blog spend up to three hours per blog post on at least a weekly basis – time that, prior to having a blog, would have been used on other business activities. This suggests that small businesses are recognizing the increasing importance of generating content for social media, over other business activities.

However, while they’re realizing content is valuable, time is still an issue. Respondents reported that finding and posting content to their social networks are the most time-consuming, followed by: learning and education; analyzing their social media efforts; and following their competitors’ activities. Answering questions posted on social media is the least time-consuming.

budget

Even with limited marketing budgets, small businesses are finding value in paying for social media. The survey data show social media budgets are increasing at a faster rate than overall marketing budgets.  More than 22 percent reported an increase in their social media budget compared to a year ago, while only 6 percent reported a decrease. So, there are nearly four times the number of small businesses that have increased their social media budget, versus those that have decreased.

Take a look below at the inforgraphic illustrating this data:

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