10 Marketing Habits Every Small Business Owner Needs to Adopt
Habit. Routine. Discipline. Compliance. These are the magic words of marketing success. Just take a look at any successful, profitable business and behind the curtain is truly a master musician; a business owner who understands what it takes to win: focused intent followed by disciplined action, repeated daily.
The distinction between these words is subtle but powerful. It all has to do with the level of thought and intention that goes into the work being done. Habits require little thought; they are an automatic response triggered by an event. In many ways, habits drive you instead of the other way around. Routines are slightly more intentional and flexible. They can be consciously adjusted or skipped without too much of an impact. Discipline, on the other hand, is fully intentional and doesn't require triggers, or even flexibility. All that discipline requires is an awareness of regulations and a desire toward an outcome. It's this desire that drives you to create a routine that ultimately becomes a habit. In short—to get the bottom line results that you desire, you've got to be disciplined, create routines, and develop habits of thought and action that you do DAILY.
3 Simple Steps That Lead to Profitable Habits
Bad habits seem to have no problem insinuating themselves into our lives. It's the good habits that will take us to where we want to be that we struggle with. In their 2010 book, "Switch", Chip and Dan Heath discuss the inner conflict between our logical brain and our lizard brain. As it turns out, it takes some conscious management of the conversation between these two brains to successfully put new habits in place.
Break your goal up into easily achievable small pieces. Then, find and show your brain that it has been done before -- by many people. If they can do it, you can do it. Then give it specific instructions. Your lizard brain is like an impulsive toddler; when you are ready to create a new habit, make a list of simple tasks or instructions your brain can follow.
10 Marketing Habits That May Lead to More Profitable Customers
Here are some simple marketing habits that you can easily incorporate into your day. Do not attempt to do all of them at once. Instead, choose one at a time, give yourself 30 days of practice, and then move on to the next. In a year, you could be flooded with profitable, loyal customers.
- Insert your marketing message in at least three conversations each day. Your marketing message is like your mantra, you can use your 30-second commercial, your unique selling proposition (USP), or your mission or vision statement. Whatever you use to describe your business to someone, make a conscious effort to communicate this to at least three people each day. You can do this in a blog post, a social media share, email, face-to-face conversation, or phone call. The idea is to focus on the benefits your business brings to others and learn to say it quickly, effortlessly, in simple human language. It's an effective reminder for you and it guarantees that you've promoted yourself to over 1,000 people each year. (Yes—do this even when you are on vacation.) Now, imagine if each of your employees did this as well. This is the best, free advertising deal out there.
- Connect with at least five referrers every week. You may have lots of referrals, but do you have a relationship with specific people who regularly refer you? Identify friends, partners, and influencers who are in regular conversation with your ideal customers and connect with them regularly. Be sure to see how you can help them and don't be afraid to ask for referrals for your business.
- Leave a recommendation on LinkedIn every week. Identify at least 50 prospects, customers, or potential referrers and leave a written recommendation for at least one of them each week. This will accomplish two things; they will write a recommendation for YOU, you will be on their radar, they will email you, you can schedule a phone call and create a whole new conversation that may ultimately lead to new business.
- Ask every satisfied customer for a review on Google or Yelp every day. Businesses with many customer reviews get more customers and make more money. Put a review system in place that makes it easy for customers to leave positive reviews. Use a system like Online Review Builder that makes it easy for customers to leave reviews on your website. Be on the lookout for happy customers -- ask every happy customer to leave a review every day.
- Talk to your customers on Facebook daily. If you have a company Facebook page and you're not "talking" to your customers there, you are missing out on FREE advertising. Every time someone "likes" your page, your posts end up in their newsfeed --FOR FREE. Ask questions, create Facebook Live videos, talk to your customers, fans, and friends. Using this method in place of expensive market research, you will get real customer feedback. It's much harder for a customer to leave a business when they have a relationship with the owner.
- Write an informative blog post every week. Be sure that your blog is connected to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and an email marketing system. Then take the time to write an interesting, topical blog post once a week. Every blog post you write is free advertising. If you're struggling with what to write about, make a list of the top 50 questions your customers ask and answer them.
- Talk to one influencer on Twitter every day. You are missing out on thousands of dollars of free advice if you aren't connecting with influencers and brands on Twitter. These folks live for talking with small business owners just like you; they are happy to answer your questions and help you. If Facebook is where your friends are, Twitter is where your top notch experts reside.
- Care about your customers daily. When you care about someone, you might think about how to surprise them, find ways to make their life easier. Every day, find and do something that shows your customers that you care about them. This can be anything from solving a customer complaint to holding the door open.
- Read business books and articles every day. The best marketing ideas are adaptations of something that's being done in another industry by another small business. Use tools like Feedly, RightRelevance.com, and BuzzSumo.com to grab feeds from your favorite websites and magazines. All of these have sharing options so you can read, get ideas, and start conversations on social media around the topic.
- Ask yourself "So what?" at least once a week. Imagine that you're the customer and you heard a featured product or service in a sales conversation. Then, ask yourself, "So what?" That is exactly what your customer is thinking. Come up with as many answers as you can and pick the best one.
The key to implementing new habits is to create structures in your life that make it easier for you to do the desired behavior. Take any of the habits on this list and rework it as part of your daily routine. You may put it in your calendar as an appointment, or create a trigger instruction such as, "Whenever a customer checks out, give them a card and ask them to give us a review." Growing a profitable business doesn't have much to do with marketing magic. It has everything to do with taking personal actions that create new customers every day.