Need Small Business Week Ideas? Win Customers With Personalization

By: on April 9, 2019

With National Small Business Week approaching, you know there’s no better time to take advantage of the free publicity and momentum for your small retail business. After all, this is the one week when the spotlight’s on you, so you need some good Small Business Week ideas.

It’s important to take advantage of times like this because for small retailers, the early years can be the hardest. It can feel like everyone’s talking about the big brands.

Just how do you compete with the big names to attract new and returning customers?

Here’s a Small Business Week idea: Retailers can stand out against bigger brands by focusing their marketing efforts through personalization. Doing so will attract customers who seek relationships and personalization above mass merchandising.

And even better, it’s not just a Small Business Week idea—it’s one you should focus on year-round.

Consumers Choose Small Businesses for Personalization

Consumers prefer small businesses for the personalized experiences they provide. And according to a survey of 3,000 consumers, over 70 percent of people expect personalized experiences when interacting with brands, meaning you have a unique opportunity to meet and exceed customer expectations.

What is personalization?

Personalization is the practice of providing tailored content to a segment of your customers in order to engage interested customers and turn them into paying customers.

More notably, con­sumers expect­ brands to “remem­ber how long a per­son has been a cus­tomer,” and to “remem­ber past pur­chas­es.” The study also found that millennials (aged 18-34) were more likely to appreciate personalization: 52 percent expected brands to remember their birthdays compared to 20 percent of customers over 65 years old.

us consumers demand brand personalization

Source: AgilOne

Another study found that “personal service” was the number two reason over half of U.S. internet customers prefer small businesses to large companies.

reasons us internet users prefer small business

Source: AYTM Market Research

TAKEAWAY: The surveys above demonstrate a strong case for personalization. Consumers want personalization and desire to be heard and remembered—demonstrate that to your customers and you’ll be richly rewarded. With Small Business Week just weeks away, we’ll give you some ideas about how to do so in a cost-effective manner.

How CRM Software Can Help With Personalization

The most successful business owners know what their customers want because they’ve done their research. And it goes beyond just knowing the names, ages and incomes of your customers.

It’s about knowing who’s most likely to purchase your product or service and why. Some of these questions include:

  • What is their reason for purchase your product or service?
  • What often will they buy your product or use your service?
  • Where are they buying your product or service (e.g., online or in-store)?

Your CRM software can provide the answers to those questions. Almost all systems today provide the ability to track where purchases were made, access who has clicked on your emails and analyze exactly where in the sales funnel your customers came from.

Having this data enables you to deliver more personalized content and offers for your customers based on your knowledge of their buying behavior. Once you know who your customers are and what they’re after you can then personalize their experience with your brand.

Personalization Ideas for Small Business Week

Let’s dive into some of the most effective ways of delivering the personalized experience your customers have come to expect from the businesses they shop with.

Small Business Week Idea #1: Personalize Your Emails

Email is the preferred channel of communication for most consumers in the U.S.

When customers were asked how they preferred to receive updates and promos from businesses they like, the majority chose “subscribe to receive email.”

how consumers want promos survey

Source: MarketingSherpa

If you’re looking to increase your brand awareness, email marketing is the most effective way to reach receptive customers. It will help you stand out against competitors, engage new customers and retain existing ones.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here’s how you can enhance your brand’s visibility through emails during Small Business Week.

alamo drafthouse example welcome email

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s welcome email highlights rewards for members

Personalize with a welcome email: First impressions matter. If you want to increase your brand awareness, sending welcome emails upon signing up is key to making a good impression. According to data from Omnisend, welcome emails have an average open rate of 45 percent, in comparison to an 18 percent open rate for promotional emails.

Not only are you setting a good foundation for communications with your customers, they’ll also be more likely to be receptive to future communications. It is also a great way to thank your customers for signing up with you during Small Business Week while providing value upfront by informing them about your product/service as well as discounts available to them.

Personalize based on how long they’ve been a customer: As the earlier study stated, nearly half of U.S. customers want businesses to remember how long they’ve been a customer.

Once you find out how long it has been since your customer signed up through your CRM software, you can work on sending out an anniversary email thanking them for being a customer and offering an exclusive discount for supporting you during Small Business Week.

KleanKanteen welcome email

Klean Kanteen sends a discount code thanking customers for being part of their community

Small Business Week Idea #2: Personalize Your Rewards Program

Personalization drives the best loyalty programs. A personalized loyalty program rewards repeat purchases, turning shoppers into loyal customers who spend more.

The evidence is in the numbers: Returning customers spend 67 percent more than new customers. Introducing a well-thought-out personalized rewards program during Small Business Week will set you apart from your competitors.

Businesses big and small are recognizing that. According to Gartner’s 2017-2018 CMO Spend survey, over half of marketing leaders reported plans to increase loyalty program spending in 2019 (full report available to clients).

Retailers that are successfully engaging customers are providing preferential and experience-based perks. These benefits are aimed at increasing convenience for customers during the shopping process. You can provide that same personalization through your loyalty program offerings to make the customer experience a better one.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Even customers with strong brand loyalties can be hard to engage, the Gartner study found. More than half of consumers say they belong to 10 or more loyalty programs, but only engage in one or two monthly at most.

When it comes to loyalty programs, one size does not fit all. To increase the relevance of their programs, retailers must personalize incentives. Ask yourself: How are you rewarding customers? Do you know which customers to reward, and with what?

Personalize by using software for customer data: You can’t personalize a loyalty program without having a complete picture of how your customer is engaging with your brand.

Knowing who to reward requires digging deep into customer data. This can come in the form of transactional data, social media and website visits. Depending on what POS and CRM system you have, you’ll be able to access all the above in some form.

This is why having a single point of data is key to understanding which customer should receive what reward and in turn, provide more targeted offers to retain your customer base.

Personalize how rewards are gained and redeemed: One way you can do this is by offering flexibility in how rewards are gained and/or redeemed. Doing so allows customers to pick and choose how and where they redeem points, allowing them to match their purchases with their lifestyles.

North Face loyalty program

The North Face’s loyalty program lets members earn points through various experiences

Apparel retailer The North Face lets members of their loyalty program VIPeak earn points on every purchase as well as through attending events and checking in at various locations. To redeem rewards, customers can claim their points on various travel trips and experiences.

While sponsoring travel trips may be out of the question for you, you can still craft a loyalty program that’s tailored to experiences your customer are after, resulting in a win-win relationship for both.

Small Business Week Idea #3: Personalize Your Customer Service

Think of when you last encountered good or bad customer service. These “memorable” experiences (for better or for worse) can make or break a customer relationship.

As many as 78 percent of customers have ended a business relationship because of poor customer service, according to an American Express survey.

As a small business, you have an advantage over large companies because you can offer personalized customer service. Personalized customer service goes above and beyond satisfying the needs of your customers: it’s the difference between a one-off customer and a life-long customer.

An oft-cited report by Genesys titled “The Cost of Poor Customer Service” revealed that the most requested improvement by customers was “better human service.” This corresponds with the American Express study that found 67 percent of customers hung up on a routine call to customer service, frustrated that they couldn’t speak to a real person. If you’re not delivering personalized customer service, it’s time to do so.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: Great customer service is about creating an experience that will make your customer feel valued and appreciated. It’s also about providing a tailored experience and service based on each customer’s request and expectation.

Personalize service by sounding like a human: There’s nothing more frustrating than dealing with a robotic customer service representative. Delivering a personalized customer service means bringing a human and personal touch to every interaction. Instead of working to a script, train your employees to talk and respond like a real person during challenging scenarios.

Personalize service by knowing your customer’s history: Personalized customer service keeps a record of your customer’s communication cadence with your business.

By integrating your phone system, live chat and email in a centralized location through your CRM software, your employees will be able to access any past purchases, questions, issues and experiences they’ve been through. Not only will this save your team a ton of time and energy, your customers will also enjoy a more dedicated customer service at a higher level.

Make Personalization Your Main Small Business Week Idea

As we’ve covered above, small businesses should use their competitive advantage against larger companies—that is, their ability to implement personalization easily and quickly.

Small Business Week is the perfect time for retailers like yours to not only boost awareness for what you have to offer but to rethink ideas for personalization.

Implemented with the right personal touch, these ideas can provide a boost to your bottom line during Small Business Week—and for years to come.

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