A lot of business owners, particularly in the tourism and retail sector want to make the most out of their direct marketing to customers
As with any marketing, the key to success with Business to Consumer marketing is to have a thorough understanding of who the target audience is for your business. Look at the customers that you already attract – what do you know about them; what do you know about why they choose you over your competitors; how they hear about you; what need is it your business satisfies for them. Once you have the answers to these types of questions you will be able to understand more about your customers and to some extent, more about your business as you will see it from the customer’s point of view.
Only by truly achieving these insights can you then go on to target marketing to customers in an effective and meaningful way.
In business to consumer marketing it is also important to consider the service offering aside from the product that you sell. How do you build a relationship with the customer when they visit your shop? This will impact on whether they purchase from you or not; equally think about the presentation of the inside of the shop; the presentation of the staff and how they treat the customers.
Of course, you must also have the right location – whether that be physical or online. Never has the phrase: location, location, location been more important than now when it comes to tourism and retail.
Retail and tourism are both highly competitive and often not essential purchases so consider your unique selling proposition that makes you stand out from your competition when you are marketing to customers.
The processes within your business should also be customer-centric – making it easy for the customer to book or purchase is essential – an elongated process can be a barrier to purchase.
Aside from the obvious marketing opportunities for retail and tourism do give thought to:
- Using Review Sites – these are now often a first port of call when looking for accommodation – TripAdvisor, booking.com etc., are no longer just about reviews but also about generating enquiries – does your page reflect your business accurately – have you responded to feedback? The same is true for some retail outlets – people leave reviews on social media; on yell.com; on Feefo; on Reevo. What are they saying about you and your business?
- Content generation – it is important that whilst you have a physical presence you also have a virtual presence. Claim your space on the web and create content that is engaging for your audience – and get them to create content for you too. Invite their thoughts, photographs and feedback to your website. Make it a hub and establish yourself as the number 1 choice in your field.
- Word of Mouth – either face to face or online using social channels is one of the most powerful marketing tools available. Seemingly impartial and carrying more weight than an advert, word of mouth needs to be encouraged by you to all your existing customers. Ensure that you delight every single one of your current customers – your customer service is your best advert.
- Membership bodies – don’t disregard the value of being members of "approving bodies" such as Welcome to Yorkshire – the support and advice they provide outweighs the membership fee and the value of being listed on approval sites is important – especially in the tourism industry.
Above all, the best way of marketing to customers is to understand them. Only by knowing who they are, what media they consume and how they want to be communicated with, can you truly market your business to them.