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7 Tips To Increase Online Bookings for Small Businesses In 2021
Marketing your small business, as we know, can be a difficult task. Often small businesses face the obstacle of being short on time and money. However, you also know that if you’re not trying out innovative marketing tips specifically for small businesses, then your business is unlikely to grow as fast as you’d like.
Successful marketing not only requires time but also the awareness of the latest trends and emerging channels. Even if you believe in your current marketing campaigns, maintaining that competitive edge can be a challenge. However, don’t despair!
Below is our list of easy-to-follow marketing tips for small businesses that could increase bookings for your business in 2021.
What are some good marketing strategies for small businesses?
A good marketing strategy is one that uses a combination of all of the relevant marketing channels available today. Setting up a SMART objective can be helpful in reaching your marketing goals. Remember, a strategy is only as successful as the results it drives.
Once you have set a SMART objective, (eg. increase online bookings by 20% in the first quarter of 2021) the following tips will help you achieve it.
1. Special offers & promotions
A great surefire way to increase bookings is to run a promotional discount or offer. This could, for example, be anything such as take 5% off your next booking. You may also want to consider a simple loyalty program to reward existing customers, which would allow them to earn rewards in the form of discounts for all the recurring bookings they make. Feeling extra generous? Give your customers a free session for every 10 sessions they book and see the numbers fly.
2. Use the power of social media
So you’ve created a great enticing offer that your new and existing customers would love, but what’s next? It’s time to promote your offer and your business on social media.
For this, one of the best tools you can use is Facebook offers, where you can share exclusive deals and discounts with your followers and customer base.
Promotions don’t stop at Facebook though. Instagram stories have been around for a while, and they’ve proven to be a successful way to advertise your deals, but now you can also tap into Instagram Reels.
Want to reach out to more prospective customers? Utilize LinkedIn! It is one of the best ways to introduce yourself to clients, especially if you run a B2B (Business to Business) company. Generating leads is not the only reason to have a LinkedIn company profile though. It also plays a vital role in creating a strong brand image.
Social media is such a powerful tool for small businesses, that we created an article series addressing common mistakes people make on each:
3. Communicate your advantage over bigger businesses and brands
As a small online service-based business, one clear advantage you have is authenticity and almost always the incentive to offer your customers a more personal service. Unfortunately, not all small businesses clearly communicate such advantages to potential customers.
It’s all about brand positioning. You know you’re good at what you do. Promote yourself, send out monthly newsletters, use the power of social media, and your website to convey this message clearly. You may soon find that you’re gaining many brand advocates and increased customer referrals, which leads us to the next tip…
4. Customer referral schemes
Referral schemes can be a great way of gaining new customers. Many businesses big and small do not always know the true value of customer referrals, and that’s normally down to the simple fact that they’re unable to track it.
By launching and promoting a referral scheme, you can further encourage existing customers to promote your business and services to family, friends, and colleagues. The scheme does not even need to be complex, for example, you may want to offer 10% off future bookings for the existing customer who makes a successful referral.
You could also run an affiliate marketing program to spread the word quicker.
5. Don’t forget local marketing
If your business targets customers local to your area, then remember to make sure that your business is listed on relevant directories such as Google My Business, Bing places for business, and, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to claim your free Yell listing. It’s worth pointing out that if you are already listed, then it’s always a good idea to make sure all of your business details are up to date.
You can go a step further and start optimizing your website for local SEO to have better reach when people search for things related to your business.
6. Educational content marketing
Educational content is everywhere. In fact, this article can be classified as one. Helping other businesses reach their potential by implementing strategies that you applied in your business is a great way to build goodwill, and grow your reputation as an industry expert.
Providing value by sharing knowledge and experience can be a collaborative process. Many companies invite guest bloggers to write for them. Collaborations also include podcasts, co-branding lead generation campaigns, social media mentions, and even software integrations. The possibilities are endless.
You may ask, how will educational content result in more business? The answer is simple. Every time a reader finds your tips helpful, they trust you more and mention you to their peers. This creates a ripple effect, especially if they find your content organically or through referral channels.
7. Crisis communication & positive brand image
A big part of surviving and thriving through a crisis like COVID-19 is to take on the responsibility of helping businesses in as many ways as possible. The first step in this to communicate clearly to your customers about the functioning of your business. Several small measures can be taken to help out your clients. For example, 10to8 rolled out additional SMS features to users that were not included in their plans by default. We also offered a special retail package for struggling stores.
So there you go. Those were our top small business marketing tips. Did we miss something that you from the article? Share your ideas in the comment section!
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Karan is a Digital Marketing Intern at 10to8. He is passionate about the music and tech industry, and keen to learn more about business in general.
As a current MBA student, Karan aims to broaden his knowledge and move into a managerial role.
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