Every day we're inundated with millions of dollars' worth of advertisements from major corporations. The best ones build brand awareness and help drive sales, but they're lacking a powerful personal touch that turns customers into advocates, says Gail Goodman, CEO of the marketing firm Constant Contact. Because of this, she says, small businesses that have just a fraction of the budgets of their larger competitors actually have a marketing advantage.
Goodman spoke on this topic at a National Small Business Week event in Boston. We followed up with her to find out how small businesses can grow through powerful-yet-inexpensive marketing.
Small businesses can give an exceptional 'wow' experience to each and every customer.
Big companies have a harder time establishing this level of trust and dependability with customers, Goodman says. Even if a giant like Dunkin' Donuts uses social media to share updates and address questions, it's "almost impossible" to replicate the feel of a small business.
Additionally, small-business owners can do market research without needing a team of experts to investigate the customer experience. They can simply ask customers how they can better serve them.
Personal Relationships Key
As a small business grows, Goodman says, it is vital that they allocate staff to maintaining these personal relationships. "That makes hiring, training, and reinforcing the unique customer experience extremely important to maintaining the advantage."
"The advice I give? Stay focused," she says. "Build a permission-based email list if you don't already have one and hone in on one social media destination [like Twitter]. Start small and build from there."
In her Boston speech, Goodman reiterated that customers will always appreciate the authenticity that can go into a small business' customer outreach program. "It just needs to be real. It's all about bringing a smile to the face of your customer."