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Stop Pipe Dreaming-The Internet Doesn't Work That Way

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Stop Pipe Dreaming-The Internet Doesnt Work That Way 372-daily-golden-nugget-776All business owners want to see more people walk through their door. Obviously you can't grow a business if you don't have customers. Repeat customers are good and most of the jewelers I talk to say word of mouth referrals from those repeat customers seem to be the biggest source of new customers.

It would be wonderful if we could rely on word of mouth advertising to grow our businesses, but we can't. Every business owner hopes that each new customer will be longstanding with many return visits and purchases. But the sad thing is that you have competitors and your competitors will do whatever it takes to steal your customers away from you.

Last week I witnessed firsthand how a mistake by one jeweler in town led to a newly satisfied customer for a jeweler I work closely with. No matter how hard you try, you will always lose customers. Some customers are drawn away by glamorous ads; some might feel they prefer larger stores. Some move away or change jobs and don't drive by your store any more. Then you have customers who leave you because they forgot about you and simply went looking for someone new.

In August 2012 I wrote a Nugget to explain how you should view your online marketing budget. Inside that Nugget I explained that businesses that want to maintain their existing customer need to spend 5% of their annual revenue on their marketing budget; 10% if you want to increase gain new clients. The SBA.gov website states that you should allocate between 2-3% minimum for yearly marketing and 3-5% for business building, and as much as 20% for large growth.

I am rather disturbed when I hear a business owner complain that their business has dropped off but yet they are not spending any money on advertising. Advertising might seem expensive, but there's always at least one small method to maintain customer awareness. There's community newspapers, community involvement, direct mail to segmented parts of your customer list, and email.

You should never let your business get so low that you are sitting in your store every day waiting for the next customer to arrive. Long before this stage you should be looking at your existing customers to figure out how to reengage them and get them back in the store.

But let's say you have let your business go completely to... well, downhill. Is there any way you could use the internet to recover? The answer to that is not a simple yes or no. It depends on how much money you have to spend compared to how much time you personally have verses your ability to use the internet or your smartphone. Use this guide to determine if the internet can help you recover your business:

Tech Savvy: Yes
Budget: Low
Free Time: Yes
Do this: Review your customer list and send target emails with special offers. Don't have customer emails? Then print one-off postcards from your computer and mail them.

Tech Savvy: Yes
Budget: Low
Free Time: No
Do This: Have an employee review your customer list and send target emails with special offers. Don't have customer emails? Then print one-off postcards from your computer and mail them.

Tech Savvy: No
Budget: Enough for now
Free Time: No
Do This: Hire someone to send your emails for you and set up some online ads.

Tech Savvy: No
Budget: Enough for now
Free Time: Yes
Do This: Hire an expert to send your emails for you and set up some online ads. Also you need to let yourself be interviewed by your expert so they can blog for you.

Tech Savvy: No
Budget: Low
Free Time: No
Do This: Consider closing the store or find a silent partner.

That last one was a bit harsh, but honestly, I don't want to give you false hope that you can recover your business if you have cut your advertising budget and you have chosen to remain ignorant about technology during this emerging age of information.

So what's the bottom line of today's Daily Golden Nugget? I just wanted to provide a realistic slap for those readers who don't understand that you need to have some type of continual advertising in order to at least maintain your business. There's no magic path to overnight internet marketing success. People who are lucky enough to "go viral" only did so because they did something viral worthy at the right time and place.

Like all marketing, it takes time and continual efforts.


AT: 07/15/2013 09:35:47 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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