Kernels (Tips for Businesses To Consider)

These are articles I have written from my expertise to help businesses consider a more 'conscious' approach to marketing & to succeed with these approaches in mind....

March 2016

The Key To How Little Fish Can Survive The Big Fish Bite

A few weeks ago I was chatting to the cabbie on a ride back from my friend’s place to the tube station. I only started the conversation with him because when I had got into the cab he was on the phone with his boss explaining how the operator for the business was being rude to the customers. It turns out, this man had worked for the cab company for the good part of five years, and was explaining to the boss how customers reviews, and comments are important to the business. In fact, the operator’s ill customer service had brought down 50% of the business revenue over the last several months.

 

The cabbie and I started chatting about the current business situation at his company, and he asked me if I had heard about how the current business situation in London for small business was like big fish eating small fish. In the case of cab companies this evil shark was otherwise known to be the likes of something like Uber. So how can small businesses like this cab company survive the bite of the big fish?

 

Well, going back to the beginning of my cab ride, the most important and valuable thing a business has to survive (and continue to have business) today are customer reviews. The power of the review is now stronger than ever due to major engines and platforms like Google, Trip Advisor, or Yelp online. Why? Well, primarily because it is the way the internet works. The more often reviews are left for a business on a major platform, the more the business will come up or show up in searches.

 

 New customers tend to look up any business and decide whether to go for the services or products based on reviews from other customers. This is why customer service is always key to keeping the business alive.

 

If you’re a small business and you would like to get started here are a few tips:

 

  1. Make a section on your website for just testimonials or reviews- ask your regular customers to write these for your and allow you to post up their comments
  2. Register for your account and verify your account on Google
  3. Register for other platforms like Trip Advisor, or Yelp etc. Other directories or sites that are relevant to your business
  4. If you do promotions see if the companies you work with like Treatwell etc has sections on your listings whereby customers can leave reviews (this certainly helps to drive sales if you are doing a promotion!)

 

 

Some businesses I’ve worked with have negative reviews and feel that they were unfair or biased. They often ask me what they do with those and how they can appear more positive to new customers. When customers leave negative reviews it is important to address them straight away. Offer them a complimentary service or try to resolve what they were unhappy with their last experience. If new customers see that you have tried to resolve the issues with other customers they know and feel that you take care of customers and that you pay attention to your customer service. If you’re too late and the negative reviews were too old, then move on, and try to invite others who have recently visited you or used your services to leave a positive review instead. To get customers to leave reviews can be tricky, so a polite way to do this is to offer them a small discount on their next visit if they leave you the review for example on Google etc, and show you the next time they come in.

 

Remember, small businesses can also fight back with a bit of bite too with strong and healthy reviews & the support of their clientele!

 

 

 

February 2016 

Small Businesses Should Be Present When It Comes To Social Media

 

 

As a freelance brand and marketing consultant, I often get jolts of excitement from strangers in conversations, when they realise what I do for a living. If they’re in business or are small business owners, they quickly engage in the possibilities of what I can do for them. Social media is one of the first mediums that most bring up in the conversation, as for small businesses who have not engaged, they would very much like to get a piece of this action. With all that being said, not many small businesses truly understand what it takes for social media to bring (ROI- return on investment). One general rule I always make for small businesses, I help in this area is to be present or involved. Yes, rather like when you were in school and there was role call and you had to raise your hand to say ‘here’. 

 

 

One case in point to illustrate the challenges that small businesses face with (being present with their) social media, would be a conversation I had recently in a market, in central London with a man who sells high street branded dresses. This man had been running his business with his two brothers for the good part of ten years within the same market. With a decline of customers, he has been looking towards social media to help him maintain and achieve new levels of sales in 2016. The main problem with this business owner was that he had heard only bits and pieces from friends or contacts that told him that he should update with the sign of the times; and that a platform like Facebook or Pintrest could help him see increase in revenue.

 

It was clear for me at that point in the conversation to ask him if he knew the difference between all the platforms or if he had personal accounts himself? His answer was ‘no’, but that he felt that someone like me could help him get there. (At times like these I wonder if I had dressed out that day looking like Cinderella’s fairy god-mother?)

 

 He tried to seemingly know what he was speaking about by telling me he had started to contact his regular customers with new photo items through Whatsapp. My response was that Whatsapp is a good start for his existing and returning customers. It is a channel to continue ‘engagement’ about the items he was selling and they may be interested in, hence gaining more sales.

 

 

For any small business to get started and ‘be present’ with social media here is what I suggest:

 

  1. Create a personal account first (let’s say on Face book) and find as many friends and contacts as you can. Do daily posts about anything like the new flavour of coffee at Starbucks to what you are doing this weekend

 

  1. Once you have had a good hang of your personal account and built at least 100 contacts, build a business page attached to your personal account

 

  1. Start posting once a day, or at least 3 times a week, consistently about your business. Remember: to use clear and attractive images and use #hashtags that are related to your product or services- so say for example it is a hair salon use #hair #hairstyling- this is important to create growth and those who may be interested in what you do to see your posts

 

  1. Watch and track the growth of your following, the posts that you are posting and what makes them engage through the ‘insights’ area attached to the page.

Watch and track the growth of your following, the posts that you are posting. 

 

Once you have a good grasp of this, then you can move onto looking into conversion, investing into campaigns or advertisement through the social channel to gain some more customers and revenue. Of course, at this point, a small business owner might ask, ‘Why bother doing all of this?’ ‘Why not just hire someone (like myself) to help further develop the social media channel(s)?’ Well, because to succeed in social media you must understand it and use it in ways that are advantageous to your business and not someone else’s.

 

With all my clients, I like them to understand, and appreciate what is happening in the process of their marketing campaigns. Usually I will explain to them what can work for them, the how to’s and why. Hell, I’ll train and teach them (sounds pretty crazy as it seems to go against my own business, but it’s not, because empowering others is important to facilitate growth in any environment).

 

 Likewise, I will also explain to them why something is not likely to work or is not working at all. Remember, ‘marketing’ is not someone waiving a magic wand but consciously being aware of what is happening or not happening with your business, and social media is not an exception to the rule of being present!

 

 

 

 

Beauty & The Snob

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