What comes first: marketing, or customers? I heard from a friend this morning about her daughter’s struggling new business. It’s a brick and mortar store that promotes the work of local artisans. It should have done well over the holidays; it did not.
The store is on the other side of the country so I did the next best thing to popping in – I looked at the website. It’s attractive. Its purpose is obvious. And yet there was nothing to keep me on the site or make me want to visit the shop. And it’s a shame, because it’s got a great story.
The store is the result of an economic initiative underwritten by a non-profit to help financially-challenged women. The site – and store – would benefit from sharing their compelling stories and starting a conversation.
Tweets that promote the current show and artisans, blogs that share a spotlighted artist’s vision, and videos that showcase designs and designers all would bring visitors to the site.
Connections that bring the enterprise to life are more likely to entice visitors to both the website and to the store than a picture of the storefront and a listing of artists.
I passed on these ideas and suggested we talk, only to get the response, “Thank Lindsay for the offer to help. What I really need are customers.” I’m not sure which is the chicken and which is the egg, but I do know that an online marketing strategy could go a long way towards finding those customers!
Lead generation is always a concern amongst any business owner. The question that any owner, or sales director, should be asking themselves is, “what can is something I can do everyday to promote my business.” It can be as small as sending industry-relevant tweets, or researching new places to advertise. The idea is to present a united front for your customers, building your image – err, brand – and giving your target audience a reason to look into your product or service.
Starting a business is hard and scary and Susan deserves a tremendous amount of credit for taking the plunge. Yet, I suspect that there was some old-school marketing advice in play as she set up her shop that went something like, “Build a website and they will come”.
Today when marketing your business, a website alone is not nearly enough. Every business, whether B2C or B2B, needs to provide prospective buyers and current customers with remarkable content that helps, educates, or entertains, or they will go elsewhere. I hope my friend’s daughter figures out the answer to the riddle before it’s too late.