ALBANY TIMES UNION BLOG

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A Look to the Future

Through the challenges of 2020, many businesses focused solely on retaining customers. This year, retention remains a vital business element for SMBs. According to a recent survey conducted by Borrell Associates, roughly 47% of local businesses are more focused on retention this year compared to last year. In addition, and closely related to customer retention, 32% of local businesses will place greater emphasis on customer re-engagement this year compared to 2020. However, this is not the only strategy that will see renewed focus this year.

 

According to the same survey, 99% of local businesses are looking to acquire new business this year and 59% of SMBs are more focused on acquiring new business in 2021 compared to 2020. While there is some overlap, the tactics organizations deploy to grow their business versus retaining and re-engaging customers vary slightly.

 

Below, we’ll dive deeper into the marketing strategies that have been utilized for these areas of business development and how to better target and deploy campaigns to yield better results.

 

Customer Retention and Re-Engagement

 

Over the course of the past decade, the marketing world has changed considerably. Now, we are seeing another shift. Greater emphasis is being placed on fostering customer satisfaction and customer relationships to generate more revenue in the same finite period of time. While this isn’t necessarily a novel concept and one that many organizations have in fact been sticking to, renewed emphasis on such a methodology can yield amazing results.

 

Throughout the pandemic, businesses kept an open line of communication with their customer base. Updates were relayed about store policies, hours of operation, new features of a business, new manners in which to receive goods or services and so much more. In 2020, small businesses worked to discover the best ways in which to reach and communicate with their current customers in real time.

 

Within a Borrell survey for local businesses, SMBs called out the top mediums used to retain customers in 2020. The top five media types utilized include organic social media (66%), paid social media (61%), email marketing (54%), direct email communication to clients (48%) and newsletters (39%), respectively.

 

However, only 79% of these businesses rated themselves as above average at retaining customers.

 

A potential solution to retain and re-engage with customers more effectively? Using and gathering customer data and leveraging it to deliver an enhanced customer experience can help retain business. Conversions and revenue come as a result of putting the consumer first, rather than putting the advertising channel first.

 

Acquiring New Business

 

As previously noted, about 59% of SMBs are placing a greater amount of emphasis on cultivating new business this year compared to last year. Why? In a word: coronavirus. 91% of businesses surveyed said that they are placing a higher emphasis on new business acquisition due to COVID-19. While this may be obvious, the coronavirus has fundamentally changed how companies are marketing their business.

 

According to a recent Borrell survey, local businesses felt that social media (65%), search engine marketing (52%) and community partnership development (31%) were the most effective ways to acquire new business. This is in order of the percentage of local businesses who used these tactics to acquire new business. However, while these are the most utilized marketing methods, only 43% of SMBs believe they are effective at acquiring new customers, calling attention to the fact that these channels may not be the best options when it comes to growing market share.

 

This is where we can help.

 

We would like to point out the fact that SMBs are generally using the same methods to acquire new business as they are to retain customers. Generally, this isn’t a best practice as companies are talking to the same people within these channels. While businesses have gotten comfortable using social media and email marketing channels, the same mediums shouldn’t be utilized in the same fashion for very different business goals.

 

While digital advertising channels are at the forefront of many marketing plans, we would be remiss not to note the value in diversifying your online ad strategy and the value in developing offline marketing collateral. As brands adapt messages for different advertising mediums, marrying online and offline channels achieves both authenticity and top-of-mind relevancy. In addition, it allows companies to reach different pools of potential customers.

 

In Summary

 

If you are not overly confident in your marketing abilities, attempting to both retain current customers and acquire new customers is challenging to say the least. However, partnering with a local media company can provide you with advice, ideas and channels for brand promotion in a timely fashion.

 

By strategically positioning your local business, you can reach a larger audience, gain new customers and increase market share. Get in touch with us today to learn more and deploy a comprehensive, effective marketing strategy.

 

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