Happy August, Snackers!

While it may seem impossible, it’s true — we’re already nearly half-way through Q3 of 2018. You may be asking yourself, “How did we get here? Where did the time go?” Well, don’t let this fact get you flustered or slow you down. Although your digital brand may have experienced some stagnation through Q1 and, at best, small-to-middling growth in Q2, the year’s not done yet and you can still stem the tide.

Sure, there’s been some growth at about 4.1% this year, but compared to the past two years, this isn’t anything to write home about and your small business might not have reaped the rewards. However, that doesn’t mean your business still can’t benefit through the rest of Q3, Q4, and beyond — yes, it’s never too soon to plan for 2019.

In this month’s (Snack) Food for Thought, we’ll examine some innovative tactics that you can utilize to ramp up your business and come out on top in the final quarter, while also using them as a way to prep for next year, which is just around the corner.

Here’s a look at the three strategies you can start now to help get your small brand back in gear before the year’s end.

Provide a Personalized Approach With Your Offerings

Your organization may be small, but it can be mighty. Why? One of the biggest missed opportunities for small brands is the ability to personalize products, services, or other business-related offerings. A small, digital business definitely has its work cut out for it in a competitive online marketplace, but small businesses have certain advantages over larger ones in many marketing aspects. One of these aspects is personalization, and it’s through personalized branding that a small business can truly shine.

Personalized services can help your brand reach leads more effectively and retain them for a longer period of time by offering potential customers an experience that a larger company simply can’t. And this is important. According to an AgilOne survey of over 3000 individuals from both the U.S. and the U.K., most customers (read: a whopping 70% of them!) expect personalized offerings — and this isn’t a want, but an expectation. So how does a brand create a personalized experience that customers have come to expect?

There are many examples, but some of the basic fundamentals include the following:

  • Offer a loyalty reward program and membership opportunities
  • Personalize email communications to cater to individual wants and needs
  • Provide products not found via mass production lines
  • Give one-on-one meetings with clients and customers to go that extra mile
  • Create customizable packages for a wide variety of clientele and budgets

Personalizing your products and services goes a long way for leads, especially in an age where AI, automation, and faceless businesses clog the marketplace. By personalizing, not only can you bolster your brand’s economic performance through positive, word-of-mouth recommendations, but you can make your business stand out from the crowd and offer something no other company can.

So, you’ve personalized your offerings, but you find your business going in circles. Perhaps it’s time to look at implementing a new marketing strategy.

Utilization of Cross-Channel Marketing Strategies

Chances are, if you’re a small, digital business owner, your brand probably engages in some level of multi-channel marketing already — even if you didn’t know it. If you’re not sure what it is, multi-channel marketing is a way in which businesses interact with leads and customers through a variety of both direct and indirect communication channels. For example, your brand may have a website to engage savvy web uses, but you also utilize print advertisements, fliers, business cards, and catalogs for in-person networking events and conferences. But how does one create a streamline practice where all of the channels work together harmoniously? The answer is cross-channel marketing.

Cross-channel marketing is a method in which a business integrates all aspects of one’s multi-level campaign to present a more symmetrical experience for brand users and leads. In order to achieve this, it is essential that a company’s print materials, website, mobile apps, and social media posts all reflect a cohesion that shares visual uniformity, while taking advantage of the different parts of the marketing funnel to build brand recognition. For instance, utilizing social media posts or even local television advertising can capture leads’ attention in early-funnel engagement, while SEO and email introductions and reminders is a huge component in the later parts of the marketing funnel.

By upgrading a multi-channel plan to a cross-channel strategy, brands can streamline design, tone, and message, while ensuring that a team, no matter how small, is on the same page with the overall execution.

Bear in mind that cross-channel marketing is not an overnight solution that can be implemented at the drop of a hat. However, with patience, the right budget, planning, and upgrades to technology, a digital business has a better chance of bolstering economic performance in the upcoming quarters with a forward-facing, cross-channel strategy. This leads to our third and final recommendation — making sure that all that effort is on a strong, clean foundation.

Do Your Digital Due Diligence — Clean Your Content!

It’s not just a clever tongue-twister — doing your digital due diligence is also an incredibly important step in fortifying your brand’s performance. Remember one paragraph back, where there was a mention about upgrading technology on your digital platforms? This is also a great time to do some digital spring cleaning while you tend to your upgrades. And even if you’ve finished upgrading, it’s never the wrong time to check your website, your links, content, social media posts, logos, designs, and overall website navigation to ensure everything is clean, working consistently, contains up-to-date information, and is appealing to visitors.

Ask yourself, are your links working properly? Explore your website and ensure that there aren’t any broken hyperlinks or outdated pages. Are your brand’s Calls To Action (CTA) still attractive and appealing to your leads and customers? If not, see if tinkering with the language can be more befitting of your brand and your marketing targets. Is your website easily navigable? If not, change what doesn’t work, update heading titles, and ensure that your website is user-friendly, simple, and easy to use.

It’s vital to examine all of your website’s nooks and crannies — and also just as important to check in on your brand’s social media pages, as well. Make sure there are no offers for expired promotions or sold-out products pinned to the top of your app feeds. If there are, update them, and swap out old photos for new ones. While you’re visiting your social media apps, don’t forget to check and make sure there’s no spam posts, inappropriate comments, threats, complaints, or otherwise unsavory messages left in a public-facing way that could detract from your company’s reputation and hurt your business.

Finally, check your content — this includes on your web copy, your brand’s blog posts, your professional email signatures, your social media pages, and your print materials. Does your copy contain any punctuation errors, grammatical issues, or other problems that could prevent you from converting a lead to a customer? Having any errors looks not only amateurish, but downright unprofessional, and overlooking these issues and backburnering them could be hurting your business’s overall performance and costing you money. Fixing these problems now means you can focus on other things, and it can definitely give your brand a boost not only in Q3 and Q4, but beyond.

While it can be tedious, checking all aspects of your public-facing material, both in digital format and in hard copy format, ensures that your brand appears professional, your team presents as accomplished, and that your business can provide the highest-quality services and products.

The Final Word

By following these three strategies, one can help to boost their small, digital brand’s performance for the remainder of Q3 and into Q4, while also getting a proverbial leg up for the year beyond. Each strategy can be employed differently depending on the size, budget, and marketing goals of each small business, but the bottom line is that focusing on personalization, cross-channel marketing, and spring cleaning can ultimately help get your business past the finish line for the remainder of 2018.

Good luck, and happy snacking, y’all!


AUTHOR: Brenna is our Strategy and Marketing Expert For Weigel Creative Group

My favorite snacks are Raspberries, cereal and cheese.