Human to Human Marketing – A Buzz Word Too Far!

The website Ragan’s PR Daily has a great article on the latest buzz word being touted by some marketers: human to human marketing.

Apparently it has originated as a reminder that business owners should remember to speak directly with their customers, rather than solely online or through social media. Whilst I don’t disagree that this is a good reminder for everyone that speaking face to face with customers is an essential part of developing relationships and establishing loyalty, if anyone uses the phrase in conversations with you about your marketing, feel free to roll your eyes!

 

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Event Do’s & Don’ts – Exhibitions

Over the last couple of weeks, I have attended and exhibited at a number of exhibitions and expos, and it was clear to see which stands received the highest levels of interest from those passing by. It wasn’t those stands with the best giveaways or most eye-catching banners, but those being manned by people who were willing to engage with the delegates at the event.

Exhibiting at business or trade exhibitions are a great way to promote your product or service to those you don’t know, and give people a hands-on chance to experience the product or to meet you and your staff.

I found it worrying how many people sat behind their exhibition tables and tapped away on laptops during the exhibitions I’ve attended recently. No-one will speak to you or ask you questions if you aren’t ready to say hello, start a conversation and capture their attention. You may as well not bother attending at all if you’re going to sit behind a table and ignore everyone passing by.

The best thing to do (especially if your exhibition stand is to be manned by your staff or volunteers) is to remove the chairs and move the table to the back of the pitch or space. Obviously, keep a chair available for when you/your staff need a rest (you can spend a long time on your feet at these events) but position yourself in front of the table and ensure you communicate to anyone representing your business that you want them to be ready to engage whenever the opportunity arises.

Often, the outcome of these events is what you make of the opportunity so decide how you want people to perceive you and your business, then make sure you embody that on the day.

 

How can I get more people to promote my business by word of mouth?

Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing available to small businesses. Being recommended to use a company or product by our friends, family or colleagues carries more weight than viewing an advert or looking it up online.

On the face of it, this may also appear to be a free form of marketing. However, getting your small business to a point where your customers feel comfortable and confident in recommending you to their contacts requires your time and effort to get your business right. This may include ensuring that your product or service is superior to those of your competitors, or different in some way, or it could include having second-to-none customer care which makes everyone who passes through your door feel valued.

Your aim should always be to give your customers a reason to come back to you, and not only that but also to send their friends and family to visit you too. Look around your business and put yourself in your customers’ shoes – what would make you come back?

Likewise, bad word of mouth can be disastrous for your business, especially if your customers tell their friends and family not to use your business. Traditionally, someone who has had a bad experience tells more people than when they have had a good experience, so it is up to you as the business owner to make sure that your customers always want to come back and that they will continue to spread good news about your business. 

How can I make working at the weekend more productive?

Many small business owners will be working today, Saturday. Not because they want to, but because there is a necessity to get things done and often the most productive time for this is when the phones aren’t ringing all day and customers aren’t disrupting you (if you’re business is a shop or café, this might mean a different day to Saturday for you).

So if you are working on your ‘quiet’ day of the week, this might be a great time to take 30 minutes to think about how you can promote your business in the week ahead, to save time during your busiest hours:

1. Set up your social media in advance

Spending a few minutes using a programme like HootSuite or Social Oomph to schedule your tweets and status updates will save you time doing them during the week, although you should of course still log on when you can if you need to respond to an online customer query.

2. Get any information which needs to go out to customers this week prepared and ready to go.

This could include newsletters, greetings cards or even emails which you could draft and save to stop having to write them from scratch later in the week (don’t forget to re-read what you’ve written before you hit send though, in case your information becomes redundant).

3. Have a flick through the newspapers and see what your competitors are up to.

It might be that you have very little time to do this during the week, so spend five minutes catching up on the news and seeing what everyone else is up. You might find it inspires you to change or try something new, or write a blog post, article or press release in response to a news item.

4. Make sure your databases are up to date.

This is a job that no-one likes doing, but spend a few minutes updating contact details, etc, when you have the chance, and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and stress when you need to use that information.

5. Take the time to plan ahead.

You might sometimes find that it is a vicious circle between having no time to plan and needing to keep business steady. Your marketing should be continuous in order to keep business coming in at a steady rate – it is no good only marketing when times are slow, and then dropping it as soon as things get busy – as your workload will just drop back off again. Whilst you have a quiet Saturday, spend a few minutes reviewing or updating your Marketing Plan to make sure that your incoming work continues to come through the door.

And don’t forget to maintain a good work-life balance whenever you can!