Similar to the diets that take place post-holiday meals, customers often look for ways to cut back on spending and get back in line with personal budgets after the hectic holiday season.
For small business owners, this makes it imperative to have a quality marketing strategy in place for the start of the year. The good news for many service-based businesses is that their services will still be in demand. However, attracting and retaining customers who are becoming price-conscious after a big spending season can be more difficult.
To help kick off the new year right, we’ve put together eight marketing tips for 2023 that will allow your business to thrive, even during a highly competitive part of the year.
1. The Customer Experience is Central
Every small business owner knows that a race to the bottom of the barrel in terms of pricing is not the ideal strategy for long-term, sustainable growth. While running promotions and offering discounts can help attract customers to your business, it is far better to think about how you can leverage a positive customer experience as a key differentiator.
For customers, their experience with your business — whether through a simple interaction on the phone or when a technician is visiting their home — will play a major role in their overall satisfaction. Positive customer experiences can drive higher profits, with customers willing to spend more to receive quality service.
When it comes to priorities, in a recent survey, customers indicate that the following are of the highest value to them regarding the customer experience:
- Knowledgeable service
- Friendly service
- Easy payment options
For small businesses, there is ample opportunity to leverage these values as a means of increasing customer loyalty and attracting new customers. As you enter 2023, look for ways you can improve upon each of these pillars. For example, through new training, you might be able to increase the knowledge of your staff. Or perhaps you will focus on convenience and efficiency by implementing improved landing pages on your website where customers can quickly schedule services.
Additionally, make sure that as you focus on an improved customer experience, you find ways to listen to your customers’ feedback. Through surveys, online reviews, and conversations, pay attention to what your customers want to see improved. Additionally, be sure that your marketing teams are aligned with your customer service teams, creating a cohesive strategy across all touchpoints.
2. Focus on Retention
One of the most powerful ways to start 2023 strong is not to lose your existing customer base to your competition. In fact, by increasing your customer retention rate by a mere 5%, you can increase your company revenue between 25-95%.
This can deliver huge value to your business; however, it is easier said than done. To improve retention, you need to start by understanding what drives customers to make a brand switch. According to the PWC Consumer Intelligence Report, 79% of customers state that they might consider switching from one brand to another for a better price. Additionally, 52% of customers said that they would think about making a switch for better quality.
With this knowledge, it is important to stay abreast of current promotions or deals your competition might be running. While you don’t want to price yourself out of a profit, consider offering deal matching or other loyalty perks to existing customers. Pair this with a strategy around showcasing how your services or products are of higher quality than others. Something as simple as providing returning customers with a service add-on for free could prevent your customers from making a brand switch.
3. Build Trust
For both long-established businesses and the new kids on the block, it is important to continually look for ways to establish trust with your customer base. From personal relationships to the companies we choose for a service, trust is core to how we make daily decisions.
In fact, according to the same PWC report, which cited previous research, 33% of customers are willing to pay a premium for a company they trust. Additionally, 91% of customers said they would repeat business with a company that previously gained their trust. On the flip side, 73% of customers stated that they would spend significantly less if a company lost their trust, and 44% of customers would stop buying from a company entirely simply due to a lack of trust.
This highlights both the incredible amount of opportunity there is to earn more from customers who trust your business and the dire results of losing a customer’s trust. And trust, once lost, is extremely hard to regain.
This leads to the question, what do customers see as key steps to building trust? Listed at the top is the affordability of products and services. This makes particular sense in the current climate, where customers are concerned about rising inflation costs. However, at nearly the same percentage rate, customers cite how a business treats its employees as factoring into their level of trust.
For small businesses, this provides a unique marketing angle. Showcasing how much you value your employees can actually lead to higher profits. Simultaneously, treating your employees well will lead to long-term employee retention, which will improve the services you can offer and the level of knowledge your employees have. This ties directly back into the above values related to customer retention.
4. Own Your Customer Data
In 2023, a strong trend in marketing is shifting from relying on third-party data to owning customer data in-house. With the recent changes in regulations around customer data tracking, third-party cookies are nearing their end. While external customer data sources are still available, the best customer data is the data your business gathers first-hand.
Over the next year, put together a robust strategy for managing customer data. Make sure to invest in customer surveys, feedback forms, and other methods of gathering information from your customer base. This will help ensure that when third-party cookies draw to a close, you are still equipped with the data you need to run effective and personalized marketing campaigns.
5. Look for Video Opportunities
Younger generations prefer visual content, particularly short-form videos. As these generations become the global buying power, companies must implement video into their marketing.
The good news is that videos don’t need to be complex or costly. Short-form videos, live-streaming, and Instagram Reels are all excellent methods for reaching young consumers.
This can be as simple as sharing a quick tip via social media or live-streaming an event you are hosting. Visual content is engaging and allows you to showcase your company’s unique voice.
To learn more about producing high-quality videos on a small business budget, check out our Guide to Producing Quality Marketing Videos for Your Small Business.
6. Get more Robust with Reporting
Your marketing campaigns all have a similar end goal in mind: converting a lead into a customer. Whether you are running a Google Ad campaign or investing in organic reach through SEO, your goal is to drive revenue from your efforts.
In the year ahead, you must take a closer look at what channels and methods are performing best for your business. Rather than simply relying on a big-picture view of your marketing efforts, spend 2023 honing in on custom, detailed reporting that will provide actionable insights.
Google Analytics is one of the most powerful — and free — tools on the market for building out detailed reporting and benchmarking metrics. Through Google Analytics, you can discover how customers are finding your website, what their behaviors are when they arrive, and even demographic information. This can all help you make better, more informed decisions around your 2023 marketing strategies.
7. Enable a Chatbot to Answer More Customer Questions
A key challenge for many small businesses is having the bandwidth to respond quickly to customer inquiries. And customers have lofty demands when it comes to response rates. Ninety percent of customers indicate that they expect an immediate response to a customer service inquiry, with 60% of customers defining immediate as 10 minutes or less.
It can be incredibly difficult to accomplish this with limited staff. This is where enabling a chatbot on your website can go a long way in ensuring you meet the demands of today’s consumers.
Not only are chatbots more efficient, but 60% of customers actually prefer sending and receiving messages through a chat service over speaking to an agent. Chatbots are a highly effective tool for answering common questions and resolving quick issues. This frees up your employees’ time to focus on more valuable or complex customer needs.
8. Build Your Strategy to Be Adaptable
Whenever you attempt to look ahead at what the next year will bring, you always do so with relative uncertainty. In fact, if 2020 taught us anything, it is that it is nearly impossible to predict what the next year might hold.
The brands that have weathered the best through the tumultuous and often uncertain past two years are those that were willing to pivot and adapt their strategy based on emerging needs.
In 2023, build your marketing strategy to be adaptable. Be willing to change your methods and approach based on what transpires in your market. This requires you to have a keen eye on what is happening both locally and globally, and it means that you must be willing to innovate and take bold approaches in the face of adversity.
Contact Our Team to Build Your 2023 Marketing Strategy
As 2022 draws to a close, get ready for a banner year with the help of J&L Marketing. Our team will be happy to discuss your goals for 2023 and provide you with our insights into what we think the year ahead will bring. Contact us today to set up a consultation, and let’s get to work on helping you outpace your competition.