In a world increasingly filled with large companies and corporations, family businesses can really stand out. For family firms, making a mark and finding your niche online counts. Building a footing on the internet can bring in more customers and sales than ever before, and bring you closer to a broader clientele than you could ever have hoped for.
This week we look at how, with just a bit of strategy and enthusiasm, some simple changes to your online presence can really promote your family business, drive up brand recognition, and increase your customers.
What’s special about your brand?
You might have missed recent statistics from Oxford Economics on family businesses. While big corporations are often criticised for their tax contributions, British family firms contributed £102 billion of the government’s revenue in 2014. And they’re hiring more and more people. Employment in family firms increased by half a million between 2010 and 2014. Family businesses have a lot to promote! [http://www.campdenfb.com/article/family-businesses-contribution-uk-economy-emphasised-new-research]
So you’re a family business, you’re contributing more to the economy and employing more and more people, but what else do you do differently for the consumer? What are the benefits of your family business compared to other businesses? And what particularly makes your firm stand out? You need to make the fact your business is family-run, an asset. This means sitting down and working out the reasons why you think you’re better than the rest, and promoting them.
Let’s take the biggest asset of a family business as an example: the personal touch. Family businesses often rely on smaller, reliable networks of clients and customers. With this in mind, expanding out into the internet can be a bewildering experience compared with what you’re used to. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The value of your business is the personal approach, and you need to carry this through to your millions of potential new customers around the globe.
How to add the personal touch to your website
A great way to do this is to connect your website with your social media accounts. Social media is a great way of bringing together businesses and customers across the globe with personalised communications and conversations. Instead of faceless orders online, you can chat to customers, deal with their problems and help out with their queries directly through Twitter or Facebook. Customers not only appreciate this personal touch, but it can also help keep your finger on the pulse of your business. By conversing directly with your clients you can keep improving your business and finding the latest trends. What’s more, you can also use social media for marketing, whether through paid adverts tailored to consumers who are likely to be interested in your products, or for free.
But it’s important not to neglect your website. You can build on your existing networks of customers through emails. Direct mail newsletters can tell thousands what you’re doing this month or what your special offers are, while a banner or signature (the part of the email with your details at the bottom) can help direct more traffic to your website.
With increased traffic to your website, blogs and testimonials can then be beneficial in showing your customers and your clients who you are, and what you stand for. A weekly blog is the perfect way of adding that personal touch, showing customers a flash of personality and devotion to your firm. Testimonials then cement this with reviews and recommendations from your wealth of existing clients and customers.
Making the most of your new, or improved, online presence
Once you’ve created your new online presence, you can promote it to your existing customers and more. If you have a fleet of vehicles, a shop, or a warehouse, displaying your brand and your web address prominently can help drive up brand recognition and visits to your website. Exchanging advertising can also help. Displaying a fellow family business’ ad banner on your website in exchange for them displaying yours is a great way of collaborating to get other customers visiting your site, plus it acts as a great visual endorsement from a fellow firm with its own recognition and loyal client base.
By making the most out of your existing clients and developing an online strategy, you can really promote your family business to potential new clients around the globe, and develop new relationships with existing customers.