A frank talk about small business marketing
I hear many questions from business owners and leaders about small business marketing, specifically digital marketing. When concerns about entering or expanding their marketing efforts in the digital world come up, they generally fall into two similar themes:
- How do we control what people say about us online?
- What happens if all people do is complain about us?
To be clear, digital marketing is extremely powerful and is here to stay. The POWER of digital marketing lies in its ability to AMPLIFY the reach of thoughts, comments, and reviews through the internet. In a recent post, Farmers Marketing Talks Small Business Marketing on CJOB, we covered many things a small business should do online, but, today’s topic should actually exist before any of those other marketing activities.
When I started my career, I learned that a satisfied customer will tell a few people but unsatisfied ones will tell many. I suggest that behaviour (the ratio between positive and negative reviews) hasn’t changed, but due to digital marketing, the number of people that could read my review is exponentially higher. I can only tell 10-20 people about my experience. But, I can write a negative review that is read by thousands. When I book hotels or go to a restaurant I almost always check their review first, how about you?
70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. – McKinsey
Let’s get back to the best small business marketing tactic. What is it?
I was recently at a new micro-brewery Brazen Hall in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The food was enjoyable and the beer was an excellent compliment to a productive day. My wife met past co-workers there and I joined them for a pint. My wife noticed that she had gum on her pants since a past guest had stuck it under her chair. We let our friendly server know and immediately the manager came and asked how she could help. She apologized and took some beer off of our bill.
But, it wasn’t their fault…
On the way home, a friend asked why they would do that for us as. She said it “clearly wasn’t Brazen Hall’s fault”. I quickly replied that she was right but in that moment they had at least two options. They could say “Sorry to hear that, I can’t believe someone would do that”. Or they could do what they did. They chose to go above and beyond and provide exceptional service. Brazen Hall removed any potential for us to get upset. They could have done nothing but we would have left with a negative experience. In fact, their service also inspired me to write this post and highlight their service.
Tying this back to small business marketing, companies leaving clients flat or over the moon isn’t new, but consumers ability to amplify their comments has. I had a positive experience and told a handful of friends about it. But, I also wrote this post that is sure to go viral and be read by thousands of people.
So what does this mean if you want to expand your small business marketing efforts into the digital world?
Simply put: run a good business. If you offer incredible products and service people will know. If you provide poor service, bad value or try to con consumers, they have the power to let the masses know. I apologize in advance for using the term, but…
‘Polishing a turd’ doesn’t change what it is.
Most business owners try to provide exceptional service, but, in today’s digital world it is even more important. Consumers are very savvy and even the best marketing won’t help promote a bad business.
Now it’s your turn?
How important is it for a company to fix their product or service before they increase their marketing efforts?