Let's be honest here. Chances are, your business isn't perfect. Nobody's is. That's a good thing though; there's no way to improve if you're already doing everything perfectly! Time and time again, when I look at businesses, I notice that they're going through the steps, but there are some things they're just not doing enough of.
So if you're interested in bolstering your branding and becoming top dog, ask yourself if these are the 4 things your brand isn't doing:
You're Not Saying Thank You (Enough)
If you've got a brick-and-mortar store, you probably already recognize plenty of opportunities to say "thank you." I can't walk into a store without hearing the seemingly meaningless gesture at least twenty times because you've trained your employees to say the words. The question is, when your employees say thank you, do they mean it? Sincerity needs to be at the heart of your branding if you want it to stick, and no one feels truly thanked because an employee mumbled it at them because it's "policy".
It might take a few extra steps, but there are so many ways you can make sure your customers feel appreciated. You might be surprised at how much a difference a thanks with some meaning behind it can make. When you're training your employees to say thank you, train them to look customers in the eye and be sincere about it. Explain to your team that these are the people that are paying their wages and feeding their families - that customers are people that make the choice to do business with your store instead of the thousands of other stores nearby. Send thank you notes, and not just for purchases. Surprise your customers. Making them feel valued can be enough on its own to keep them from heading to one of your (many) competitors.
You're not Communicating (Enough)
Let's be clear -- we're not saying that you need to spam your customers. But promoting yourself as the silent type can be just as damaging to your business as being a bit over-zealous with email. The best way to make sure that you're communicating (enough) without being overwhelming is to make sure that you're not just on, but participating in, social media. While your customers probably don't want to hear from you via email everyday, an occasional email, and an occasional tweet, and an occasional Facebook post don't seem to add up in the same way.
Not only will being on social media help you spread out your communications, it will allow you to join into the conversations already happening. Chances are, if you have customers, they've talked about you on social media at one point or another. When you don't use Twitter or Facebook, you're missing out on a huge portion of the talk concerning your business, the good and the bad.
So make sure to join in on the conversation, and take full advantage of your social media channels. It'll let you communicate more often, more thoroughly, and reinforce your branding without making your customers feel like you're spamming them.
You're Not Following Through (Enough)
It's so easy to over-promise and under-deliver when you're a small business owner. The customer has cash and you've got the best of the best product around. The bar you set for yourself always needs to be something you can meet -- or exceed. Learn what the realistic expectations are for the services or products you offer, and train your employees in it. What you want is to always be able to under-promise... but over-deliver!
Customers don't like to hear that the job will take over a week (they probably want it done instantly), but they really don't want to hear the job will take a day if they won't get results for three. On the other hand, if you say it will take a week but deliver in three days, you could develop a customer for life.
You're not Memorable (Enough)
I will bet you that you've already been exposed to over 1000 ads. And it's not even noon. The truth is, in such an ad-saturated society, it's not enough to simply put yourself out there. In order to grow your business, you're going to need customers to remember you exist. In order to do that, you need to strive towards being memorable. We recently wrote about 3 examples of highly memorable branding, all of which were so simple they were brilliant. What can you do to make sure that no one forgets your brand?
All of the steps above can help you become more memorable, but alone, they won't do the job. So take some time and think about it. Thinking (enough) can help you solidify what your customer's experiences with your business should be like -- which can then solidify your business in your customer's mind.
Need someone to bounce ideas off of? Send us a note, we'd be happy to chat with you and talk about solutions you can implement for growing your business.