Managing and marketing your small business can be lots of work, but after searching the internet for the past few days I have compiled a list of ideas for the small business in 2012. Do them all or just pick a few—we just hope that you like them!
Manage your incoming emails and sales with a CRM
CRMs or Customer Relationship Management programs are a great way to organize all your emails and leads. Check out Sales Force: This bad boy has really cool features such as: its own chatting system for your employees & again all in the internet- cloud computing.
CRMs allow you to manage how your reservations are being handled. Now you don’t need to actually sit over your employees as they correspond to incoming emails or phone calls. Instead, login to your CRM from your house computer and simply follow the threads of email and provide feedback to your employees.
You can even set up different accounts for different employees, each with their own settings. That way you can monitor several agents and find out which are actually making the sales and that need improvement.
Learn to Code
2012 has officially been denominated as the year to learn how to code. In fact, people are even suggesting that everyone should know how to do basic coding, just like reading a book.
Take real control of your website and social media accounts. Isn’t it time you understood what’s under the hood of the car?
Check out www.codeyear.com and sign up for free coding classes. With Code Year you get a new interactive programming lesson sent each week. You’ll be building web sites before you know it.
Host your own conference/ seminars/ classes/ etc.
Do you have your own restaurant? Host your own cooking classes, have someone film the entire class and then share it on social media (Facebook/ Twitter/ YouTube/ Google+). Promote your own-hosted events using print and online resources. Show your community that you got skills. This experience will stick with them and will be a constant reminder of your business– now that’s guerrilla marketing!
Start running your own Email Marketing campaigns
Email marketing is by far the most direct way to send information to potential clients. Start creating your list of subscribers and send them newsletters each month about what’s going on in your restaurant or hotel. Send them online coupons for discounted dinners or drinks, or promotional emails for cooking classes or for events at your bar.
Dedicate 30 minutes a day to Social Media
Comment on relevant blogs to build relationships and set authority. Share and interact with fans on your Facebook Fan Page, link this to Twitter and if you haven’t already—CREATE A GOOGLE+ Page. Wouldn’t you want to create a business page on the largest search engine in the world?
Set a scheduled time to always jump online.
Increase your amount of reviews online
Encourage your guests to review you online, and focus on more than just one review portal. The more people share about their experiences at your hotel online, the more people are going to come across them. This will create confidence in the consumer that your product is the best.
Blog more — WRITE more
This is probably by far the most important thing you can do for your business online. Create as much content as possible and share this on as many platforms as possible—not only on your blog. Find other blogs in your niche, such as magazine type blogs and ask if you can be a writer for them. Send articles and make sure to link it back to your website.
Run your own Sweepstake or Contest
Give away a free night at your hotel or a free five course dinner at your restaurant. Use social media and email marketing to share this sweepstake or contest. Almost 60% of users expect exclusive content such as sweepstakes and prizes when “liking” a brand on Facebook. This is a pretty significant amount of people and if you are not using social media to reward customers for their interaction with you, then your letting them down.
Update your business cards, flyers, poster, ect
How old is your business card design? Flyers?… Update your designs. Make sure your company is always looking good. Take advantage of local, small business agencies (hint – hint) that provide excellent quality designs and great prices. Printing 100 business cards in Panama costs as little as $15.
Reach out to other markets in other countries
Don’t limit your marketing efforts to just Panama, and this especially goes for hotels in Panama. Use Facebook to market yourself to other countries such as Costa Rica and the US. Follow airline prices and find out when prices for tickets drop to Panama, then tie this with your company and start campaigning using Facebook and Twitter. Facebook can be very cheap and its OK if it doesn’t work at first. Just rethink your strategy and try again.