Who would have thunk a few years ago that having a $60+ a week coffee habit would be as normal as paying a utility bill? Who would have believed that it’d be possible to spend more on checking in your baggage for a flight could cost more than the airfare itself?
But, here we are in a world where all those things are now reality. Big brands paved the way and have proven branding strategies can work just as well for small business. Does it require big shifts in marketing strategies for small business or in small business digital marketing? Not necessarily. Depending on the goal and level of public awareness, making a big brand strategy work for your small business could be a matter of making a subtle or blatant shift in your messaging.
Marketing Strategies for Small Business from Starbucks
Starbucks took coffee from diners, truck stops, and retirees to modern cafés frequented by the young who post images of their coffees on social media as a status symbol. What has Starbucks done that small businesses can do to be more successful?
The key is in changing the buyer experience. Spending $60+ a week on coffee means more to their customers than a cup of joe. There’s the service, a nice, comfortable place to relax or do a little work (with free Wi-Fi no less), and yes, even a little prestige in carrying around the cup with the Starbucks’ logo.
Of course, Starbucks has millions invested in its marketing, but it doesn’t cost a fraction of that for a small business to create a similar kind of customer experience. Heck, if you have a waiting room or show room, adding comfortable furniture and a snack basket filled with items from Costco can do wonders. Have your employees make it a point to learn and use customers’ names. In a world where many consumers feel like a number, the bar is pretty low on creating a personal touch.
Marketing Strategies for Small Business from Southwest Airlines
On other airlines, passengers can pay upwards of $60 for checked baggage in addition to the cost of airfare. Southwest Airlines is committed to the “no baggage fees” airline, in addition to their low fares. While low on price and zero baggage fees, the airline brims with personality and customer service.
Southwest relies on their employees to give their customers a positive experience. They invest in intensive training for their employees to ensure a cohesive “Southwest” experience across aircraft, customer service agents and airport gate agents across the airline’s route map.
Take a look at your competitors’ pricing models. Can you make logical adjustments to your pricing to the equivalent in your industry and area of Southwest? Is there deeper or better training you can provide to improve the customer experience and make it consistent regardless of employee or location?
Again, these don’t have to take an enormous chunk of budget. Both can be scaled to your small business. Including free samples with orders, offering additional product knowledge through your employees’ expertise or additional training – all easy on budgets and worked in to marketing strategies for small business.