When it comes to marketing your small business, there’s one important tool that’s staring you right in the face. You just might not have realised its potential yet: your staff.
Not only can your employees help to generate new business for your company (and I mean all of them, not just your sales and marketing team). They can also play a key role in retaining existing and increasing repeat business.
Not sure how to harness the power of your team members? Let’s explore!
Why your staff is a great resource for your marketing
1. Customer service
Let me give you a few examples. Every time an employee is talking about your small business, they can influence how people see your company. And they could be talking to potential clients or customers as well as new team members or potential recruits.
The most obvious way your team is marketing your business is through their customer service. Through everyday tasks like
- how they behave on the phone or when chatting with clients in the office,
- the tone of voice used in emails and how long it takes them to reply to queries or
- how they portray themselves and your business in meetings,
your staff can make a lasting impression. They represent your small business every single second they’re at work. And the happier your employees can make clients and customers, the better it is for your business overall.
Find out how you can improve the customer service in your small business.
2. Word of mouth
But what about outside of work, in their free time? This might seem like a less obvious way for your staff to be part of your marketing. But it can be a vital and untapped resource for your company.
For example, I’ve seen a guy pick up a new client whilst out with friends in the pub. He was just chatting when he got out a business card, handed it to a friend of a friend and said: “Give me a call on Monday, I’m sure we can get that sorted.”
He didn’t do this in an overtly salesy way, but because he really believed in the company and their products. And people around him were naturally interested in his recommendation.
The only way your team members will feel comfortable recommending your small business to friends and family (or even random people in the pub!) is when they really believe in your business. No sales incentive or commission can make up for that.
Having a strong brand can help build that confidence across your staff. Find out more about developing your brand and values here.
How to tap into the marketing potential of your staff
But how can you make sure your staff thinks like this and will be a great representative for your small business?
Here are 3 things you can do to build up your team’s marketing awareness and help your small business grow.
1. Create the right mindset
One quality that’s really important to look for in your staff is a positive mindset. When it comes to using your employees as a marketing tool, it’s all about having the right people on your team. You want somebody who:
- cares about their work,
- is a team player,
- takes customer focus seriously and
- wants to make an impact.
Many employees don’t see how their work ensures their income. So take the time to show them how the good work they’re doing is benefitting both them and the company as a whole.
Look out for people who want to be a part of your small business’s success and help you grow. As a general rule, recruit people who have the right mindset, rather than hiring people with the right skills – you can teach the latter but not the former.
2. Keep your staff in the know
For your staff to be able to market your business well and attract your ideal clients, your employees need to know who you want to do business with.
No matter what job they have or which department they work in, make sure each and every one of your employees knows:
- What products and services you offer.
- Who your ideal customers or clients are.
- Where your strengths and weaknesses lie compared to your competitors.
- Which features and benefits your products or services have.
- What your USP and values are.
For example, I once talked to an insurance guy and he ended up telling me to stick with the insurance I already had as they were better at providing what I needed than his own company. I was positively surprised by his honesty and I ended up referring a few people to him as I really trusted his advice because of this.
Make sure your employees also have a clear idea of your business goals, so everyone can see what they can contribute and what their role is in the bigger picture.
3. Engage with your staff
In order for your staff to act as marketing support for your small business, they need to be happy and willing to be involved in the business. And you have to let them in.
To engage your staff, you have to start engaging with them first.
- Use their expertise: Ask for their input on key decisions and take their opinions and ideas seriously. They are often closer to the customers or clients than yourself, so will be able to offer very helpful insights.
- Involve them: Let your employees be part of the decision-making process, or at least let them know how and why certain decisions have been made.
Team members who are being listened to are much more likely to show pro-active thinking. They will help to boost your small business through improving business structures, workflow, processes, products and services.
To make sure you have your staff on your side, they have to believe in your business and know that they’re playing a key role in its success.
If you are interested in reading more about this topic, have a look at these:
How to Make Your Small Business Work Smarter Not Harder
Why You Should Work on Your Small Business, Not Just in it.
How to Monitor and Manage Your Small Business Processes
How to Grow Your Small Business & Keep on Track