Spruce up your marketing in the current down time with graphic designer and marketing consultant, Erin Trusner of Trusner Design.
You run a third generation business with a time honored strategy that’s brought in steady revenue for decades. You’re a young pup in the Western business world and wonder how you’ll ever keep up with the big dogs. Or like most, maybe you reside somewhere in between. No matter if you have an order line months out or you’re working on getting your name into the world, there are tried and true things all businesses can do to maintain pace in our ever-changing online world.
Step one is simply that – be online. Having a polished digital presence is critical in today’s market, even if it is not something you currently utilize to bring in new or repeat business. Making it easy for the consumer to purchase from you is key to surviving far into the future. If the world’s current state of affairs has taught us one thing as business owners, let it be that. Online is king, and the horse is only getting higher from here.
I - yes, even as a Millennial - still subscribe to the notion that nothing beats quality face-to-face interaction while picking out which fine leather will make my new office chair or which style of hat looks best with my face shape. But make it easy for me to order online during non-business hours (or during a pandemic), and I am putty in your hands. I will let you in on a little secret: you can still provide the stellar, personalized quality of service your business is known for through an online experience. Yes, indeed, you sure can.
Which platforms should you use when creating an online presence? A website store, Facebook business page and an Instagram account are the current trifecta for bolstering your digital footprint. They can be linked together, giving the consumer a seamless experience as they peruse your offerings.
WHY ADD AN ONLINE PRESENCE TO YOUR BUSINESS MODEL?
- IT’S POWERFUL. It reaches both your current customer base and others who would not have found you otherwise. The best part? It does both at a much faster pace and oftentimes with significantly less expense than a retail storefront.
- IT’S FLEXIBLE. An online presence allows people to shop anytime and from anywhere. The easier you make the purchasing process, the more likely they will be to return for a future item or to share your website with the click of a button.
- IT’S HERE TO STAY. Online is the future of purchasing, and we’re already there. It’s absolutely key when it comes to surviving in the “instant gratification” consumer-driven world we’re in.
A robust online presence is the catalyst for earning what I affectionately refer to as “mailbox money”. You can wake up to orders from those who are unable to visit your store during operating hours, those who do not live near your location, or those who simply prefer to shop from the comfort of their couch with a glass of wine in hand. As I mentioned previously, this digital experience does not have to mean a decline in personalized service. In fact, the online purchasing process can be quite tailored to every individual who visits your online store. There are numerous ways to code websites to suggest items a consumer might like based on their search history, customizable forms with tailored messaging, etc. I’ll leave all that to the web developers, but you get the idea. Even if you are not in the same room as your customer, it is most definitely possible to make their online experience feel like a warm hug.
Now, what about all those other things in your business toolbox? If the current pandemic has left you with a little extra wiggle room in your days, we can use that time to spruce up your branding, print and marketing materials, too!
WHAT GOES IN YOUR BUSINESS TOOLBOX?
- A POWERFUL ONLINE PRESENCE. This includes your online store and social media accounts, especially Instagram and Facebook, and of course everything mentioned previously.
- FRESH PRINT MATERIALS. Informative handouts for in-store visitors make a fabulous impression. Business cards, brochures and trade show pieces should be regularly updated and printed on high quality materials. These are a way to introduce yourself, even if you aren’t in the room.
- DEDICATED PEOPLE. Yes, people are absolutely an integral part of your branding! Knowledgeable employees who feel valued are more likely to be thorough in their responsibilities and will do wonders for the progression of your business model. (I bet most of you are currently thinking about how to find a very dedicated IT/social media manager. Wink.)
If you are looking for some resources to make updating your business toolbox a little easier – or to make your newly hired social media manager very happy - here are some of my personal favorites. These are universally wonderful no matter what industry you are in or what type of consumer you serve.
ERIN’S FAVORITE BUSINESS RESOURCES
- TAILWIND. This is absolute gold if you want to efficiently plan, schedule and track statistics on your social media posts. It integrates to Facebook and Instagram and will post in tandem to both platforms (they have a Pinterest feature too). It also does fancy things like tells you which hashtags are best to use, links multiples websites for easy shopping, allows you to drag and drop posts to new time slots, tracks post performance, and so much more. If that all sounds foreign to you, fear not. They have a blog with wonderful tutorials. At $10 a month, I would count that out in pennies if they asked me to.
- ADOBE LIGHTROOM. If you are a small business on a tighter marketing budget, this is a fantastic app that edits photos into superb, high quality imagery. They will never know you took your website pictures with your iPhone – promise.
- A RELIABLE GRAPHIC DESIGNER. And I don’t say this just because I am one! Having a graphic designer who understands your business from the inside out and what you are trying to achieve will help translate your vision into beautiful, cohesive imagery for your website, social media accounts, and printed marketing materials.
Even if the current thought of running an online store, setting up social media accounts and polishing your marketing materials seems overwhelming, the return on investment when done with intention will be tenfold. Combined, these lend a solid sense of credibility to a business, whether you are three generations in, just getting started, or somewhere in the middle.
And of course, I am here to help every step of the way. Mention code COWBOYS20 for 20% off business branding, graphic design, consulting, and print services from Trusner Designs.