Automated marketing messaging is slowly becoming a more prominent form of marketing, as customers are increasingly encouraged to supply their email addresses in exchange for e-receipts, mobile ordering, or digital loyalty schemes. The coronavirus pandemic only accelerated this shift toward email marketing, as customers were required to supply their contact details to order to make bookings and comply with the government’s Test and Trace system. Recent research shows that email is often the best way to reach out to customers as visitors are more likely to give their email address to companies than they are their phone number.
Automated marketing messages are a fantastic tool that anybody, no matter how small your business, can take advantage of. It keeps your customers engaged, ensures that your business is at the forefront of their mind, and can be a useful way of determining the sort of content that appeals to those on your mailing list. The beauty of automated messaging is that it’s, well, automated – you don’t have to play an active role in sending emails, which leaves you more time to focus on other aspects of your business. That being said, you still have to devise the content that appears in each automated message. If you’ve stuck for ideas, you’re in luck! Scroll down for some ideas for content to get you off the starting block.
- The ‘before’ message
This one is quite straightforward, but the ‘before’ message is absolutely key if you are to maximise space at your venue and reduce no-shows. You’d be surprised (or maybe not!) how often customers make bookings, and then promptly forget about them. Sending a friendly message reminding them about the date and time of their booking is a polite way to nudge people if they need to make any amendments to their booking or even, sadly, a last minute cancellation. Furthermore, it’s also a great way to prepare your customers before their visit with any information about accessibility, dietary requirements, or ordering, which is worth knowing in advance.
2. The ‘after’ message
Venues often dismiss the importance of what is colloquially known as the ‘after’ message, but it’s importance should not be underestimated. Not only is it polite to thank your visitors for making their booking, but it gives you an opportunity to ask customers to reflect on the experience they had. Sometimes we dread feedback, but ultimately, feedback is what pushes us to improve and enhance our business. Many people rely on feedback and reviews when deciding between competitors, and if you can provide potential customers with a wealth of glowing reviews, they will be more inclined to visit your business than another one nearby.
3. The birthday message
A touch of personalisation never goes amiss, and if you require customers to sign up for a rewards scheme or mobile app upon arrival at your venue, it is easy to access data regarding peoples’ birthdays. Offering customers discounts and rewards around the time of their birthday – whether you decide to reward your customers only on their big day or for their entire birthday month – will increase both your spend-per-head and the quality of your customer experience. Who knows, they might even decide to host their birthday at your venue!
4. The ‘you’ve forgotten something’ message
Perhaps they’ve popped something into their basket to remind them to buy it later, or perhaps they went to all the trouble of adding something to their cart only to change their mind at the last hurdle. Regardless of their reasoning, sometimes a “there’s something in your basket” message gives customers that extra little push they need to treat themselves at your venue. Failing that, a short but sweet “you’ve forgotten something” message can make you seem more attentive to your customers’ needs and spending habits, which leads them to look upon your business more favourably.
5. The ‘we miss you message’
There’s no such as looking needy when you’re doing business! Sometimes even your most loyal customers go elsewhere, and a quick “we miss you” message can remind them about all the great offers you have! Whether you’re sending this automated message every month, three months, or bi-annually, staying connected with customers you haven’t seen in a while can keep them engaged, and keep your business at the forefront of their mind next time they’re looking for somewhere to go.
Start sending automated messages to your customers today, and reap the benefits! Our software allows you to send timed and personalised messages for all the reasons we’ve highlighted above. Check out our guide to find out more.
Words by Rebecca Clayton
Blogging may seem like an afterthought, but over 409 million people view blog posts every month according to recent data from WordPress. This makes blogging a powerful tool that everybody, businesses included, can take advantage of; it is an opportunity to determine your brand voice, control the way consumers perceive your company, and communicate with your customers.
Businesses with blogs attract 55% more traffic if their website has a blog. If your business has a website and you’d like to drive more traffic to your site, then a blog might be the perfect tool to add to your arsenal. However, there are a few important things to have in mind before you start a company blog – here they are.
- Establish a brand voice
Anyone who dismissed English classes at school should be regretting that decision now – when you start a company, communication skills are of the utmost importance. The ability to communicate confidently and seamlessly with your customer base requires an impeccable command of whichever your native language is, and an understanding of how to use language to persuade and inform.
This involves excellent spelling and grammar, but it goes further than that – having a distinctive brand voice is key. Determining whether you want to be casual or formal, produce short and to-the-point copy or more intellectually-minded long-form content, and how you want your company to come across to customers – these are all questions you should be asking yourself before you sit down to write a blog.
2. Blog consistently
Consistency is key. If doesn’t matter so much how often you post, but that your posting is regular. Posting three articles in a week but then not posting for another month is not ideal. Your blog will lose momentum and your readers will too. Research shows that inconsistent company blogs put potential customers off because they assume the company does not update their site regularly, does not care about the content they’re making, or even is no longer in business.
The more you blog, the easier it will be. You might consider establishing a posting schedule for consistency. If you’re struggling for content, inviting guest contributors or cover news stories pertinent to your industry, are two great ideas to get the ball rolling. Asking customers about the kind of content they’d be interested in reading is even better.
3. Optimise your blog with SEO
There are many ways to use SEO to optimise your blog. It sounds complicated and technical, but SEO just stands for Search Engine Optimisation. Any way to optimise your blog so that it appears further up on search engines such as Google and Bing – that’s what SEO is.
Keywords are the most important form of SEO you need to know. You can use keywords effectively by incorporating them into your article title and lacing them throughout your blog posts. That way, your articles have a better chance of ranking on search engines and people can find them. The length of your blog post also goes some way to optimising SEO. People are more inclined to read articles that are short – if you’ve written 2000 words on a topic, only hardcore fans of yours are going to make it to the end. Breaking up text with images and paragraphs breaks are another great way of improving the readability of your posts, thereby increasing your SEO score.
4. Switch up the form
There’s no need to always focus on the written form in your blogs. If writing isn’t your thing, or you just fancy switching things up, producing a presentation, video, or even an online seminar, is a great way to engage customers on another level. Video blogs (known as ‘vlogs’) can have endless benefits for your business; you can build a unique rapport with your audience through video, and become instantly more personable.
Customers like to see behind the scenes footage of their favourite businesses as it helps to humanise those who work there, and they feel they can relate to your business and its aims more. In today’s market, sometimes it isn’t enough to supply provide a great service. Consumers want businesses to be ethically-minded, to have a sense of their place in the market, and to be able to endear themselves to a wider audience. Blogging is the perfect way to achieve this, and video blogs can take your content to the next level.
5. Use visuals
Individuals retain 65% of information when visuals are paired with written content. In contrast, only 10% of information when there isn’t a visual. In practice, this means that consumers of your content are often in need of extra visual stimuli when reading – it helps to break up the text, and to supply context to the points you’re making. Remember; the more you add to a blog post, the longer customers will spend on your site. Furthermore, images of your venue can be helpful for potential customers who haven’t visited your venue before. If you make your venue look exciting and inviting, customers are more likely to come to you than one of your competitors.
Incorporating images into your blogs is also a great way to get everyone in your business involved! Maybe hire a photographer to take some shots of your venue/services, ask your customers to send in any pictures they might have taken whilst visiting your venue, or even get members of your team to get creative with a camera! The possibilities are endless, and it’s a great way to involve your readers with the business.
We hope these tips have been helpful. If you need some inspiration, why not check out some more of the articles on our own blog?
Words by Rebecca Clayton
Social media is a fantastic tool for those who want to promote their small business without going massively over budget. Social media has, in some ways, been a great leveller in terms of marketing strategies for small businesses in the twenty-first century.
However, to effectively utilise the tools at your disposal, you really need to have a thorough understanding of how platforms such as Twitter and Instagram work. In lieu of a social media marketing manager to offer their expertise, we’ve gathered all the tips and tricks we’ve learnt to enhance your social media presence and increase your brand’s success! We have years of experience in the game, so you’re in safe hands.
- User-generated content
Small businesses are the cornerstone of the community in which they thrive. The pandemic has increased awareness of the struggles independent businesses can face if their customer base is pulled out from under them, and as a result, many people are willing to go out of their way to support businesses and venue they know and love. Get your customers in on the action, and ask them to take photos of themselves having fun at your venue. You can either re-post them to your page or create a collage of their best pictures. Not only is this a fantastic way to create feel-good community content, but it can also help to attract new followers, promote trust in your brand image, and increase your profits.
Hashtags are, for some, a mysterious and untameable beast. For others, they are a useful way of engaging in debate online and making sure that content reaches a wider audience. The thing about hashtags is that they make it easier for users who don’t necessarily follow you to see what you’re posting about. Users can search for specific hashtags that they’re interested in, thereby having access to more brands, companies, and individuals than they would usually see on their usual feed. By partaking in hashtag trends, or even starting your own, you can engage with users who don’t follow you – who knows, maybe you’ll even start getting business from people from further afield!
3. Influencer content
Sometimes people get a little bit cynical about influencers, but it’s not all Love Island and gift bags. Across the country, there are thousands of micro-influencers that have gained a significant regional following. By engaging with influencers on a regional level, you can find young people willing to promote your wares and services on their feeds. Often, these influencers have far more followers than you could realistically hope to gain, and so your business is able to reach a wider audience than you would normally be able to. At Booked it, we have created a ground-breaking platform for businesses such as yours to find influencers with a customer base like your own. Find out more now.
4. Employee spotlight
Take time to celebrate your employees – after all, they make it possible to provide the first-class service your customers have come to expect. Consumers love seeing the humans behind their favourite companies. It gives them a chance to relate to the brand on a more personal level. By posting behind-the-scenes content of your employees in the workplace, your workforce will feel more valued and will feel able to have more fun whilst they’re working. Not only that, but simply asking your employees to post on your Instagram Reel or on your Tik Tok can make your brand seem fresher to your customers, thereby increasing online engagement and brand awareness.
5. Special events
From #NationalDanceDay to #InternationalCoffeeDay, there are plenty of holidays that are perfect for filling up your calendar when you are in desperate need of new content! Furthermore, many holidays – such as half-terms, Christmas, and the school summer holidays – will provide your business with a wealth of relevant, timely content that relates to your brand and your industry in general. For example, over Christmas people will be particularly sensitive to any content offering them suggestions for venues to meet up with friends and families, places to eat and drink, and even discount codes/vouchers for last minute present shopping. Be sure to tailor your content accordingly, so as not to miss potential customers during busy periods.
There you have it! Five nifty tricks to keep up your sleeve in case you’re struggling for content or the most effective ways to promote your brand online. Now, why not do yourself a favour and check out more of our marketing tools on our website?
Words by Rebecca Clayton
As a small business, often it’s difficult to get your hands on the budget or the personnel to adequately market your business. As a small business owner, it’s likely that you are equally responsible for the staff rota and the product branding. You’ve got a lot on your plate, so it’s understandable that effective marketing strategies often fall by the wayside.
However, the efficacy of your marketing strategy is critical. With fewer people on your payroll and less resources to expend, you cannot afford to play around with different techniques to see which one works best in the next quarter; you need results immediately. Luckily, we’ve gone through the trial-and-error process for you. We’ve picked up a few hints and tricks along the way.
- Know your audience.
Whilst larger businesses think about their marketing strategies on a national and sometimes international level, your efforts need to take consideration of regional limits. However, this is not necessarily a hindrance. Take advantage of your local audience and tailor your marketing materials accordingly. Make reference to local landmarks, events, and things your customer base might understand, in your marketing; this way, you’re establishing a sense of intimacy with your audience, a sense that you know what they’re going through. You don’t have to worry about coming across as a greedy, faceless conglomerate, because you’re not one. Use this to your advantage.
2. Social media marketing
Let’s face it, everyone is on social media these days, and you’d be mad not to take advantage of that. You have a captive audience on sites like Instagram and Facebook, so if you don’t have a presence on these sites it’s time to create a profile today. On social media you’re able to target local customers, post regularly to promote your products/services, and engage with your audience via direct messaging and comment threads. Facebook and Instagram are governed by algorithms that establish what users are most interested in, making companies and figures who correspond with those interests more visible to them. This means that, not only are you able to reach out to pre-existing customers, but also those who haven’t even heard of you (yet)!
Some businesses use their social media presence in lieu of a website. Whilst there is some merit to that – especially if your target audience are people under 30 – having a website is usually an especially important aspect of digital marketing. Often, your website is the first impression a potential customer will have of your business, and if you can make a success of it you will be reaping the rewards for years to come. You need a website to show you’re real and to offer information about your business to potential customers. I cannot overstate the importance of a website that is easy to use. No one wants to be clicking through tens of pages to find the right contact info, or to make a booking. Make sure your website is easy to navigate, mobile-friendly, and be sure to pay attention to search engine optimization (SEO).
Getting your customers in the door is one thing, but keeping them is a whole other story. Yes, the quality of the customer service they receive and experience they have at your venue is important. However, if you want to ensure that your customers don’t forget about your business after they’ve left, effective retargeting is the best way to go. Automate emails and SMS alerts, reminding customers to review your business or to rebook soon, are a simple and cheap way to achieve your marketing goals. Follow up questionnaires and physical advertisements are more time-consuming, but often pay dividends. Furthermore, simply encouraging customers to follow you on social media is a failsafe way to literally keep your company in their minds’ eye. If, weeks after visiting your venue, they’re still seeing your daily posts on their newsfeed, they’re much more likely to return.
Emails are like gold dust to the modern marketer. If you can convince customers to give you their email address, either by signing up to your mobile ordering service or mailing list, you can then create persuasive and targeted content which is delivered into their mailbox every week! From emails – as with all digital marketing tools for that matter – you can determine how many people are regularly engaging with your business, the types of content they’re more likely to respond to, and the rates at which they are opening your emails and clicking on the links you send. Finding the right CRM tool (HubSpot and Google Analytics are two we’d recommend) is essential if you’re to make the most of this data, but the potential benefits of it to your businesses are innumerable.
Words by Rebecca Clayton
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Things that you put off until later that day sometimes end up being things that aren’t achieved for months on end. Sometimes, as a business owner, it’s difficult to juggle your responsibilities to your customers with other aspects of your business. It can feel as though there aren’t enough hours in the day.
Marketing is one of these things. In many businesses, it is often put on the back burner as you try to make room for more immediate concerns such as staff and sales. This is completely understandable, but it can also be detrimental to the prosperity and longevity of your business.
If this doesn’t sound like you, then congratulations! Clearly you are managing your time effectively. If this does sound like you, fear not. Here at Booked it, we understand the importance of marketing and have developed a system that can help you take control of your brand without having to sacrifice time spent in other areas of your business.
The important thing to remember is that marketing isn’t just the reserve of multi-national conglomerates, even though sometimes it can feel that way. Implementing marketing strategies within your business model is achievable for all businesses, large or small. You needn’t approach marketing as something out of your reach. Through implementing Booked it marketing strategies within your business, you too can begin to advertise, create email campaigns, and become more active on social media… all at a click of a button.
Our marketing tools are fully automated, and this takes the pressure off you. You don’t have to be hoovering over a computer all day. You can just let the software do its thing. Our automated marketing tools include birthday campaigns, abandoned carts, and transactional triggers. This makes it easy to connect with your customers, even after they have left the building. The icing on the cake is our social media automated marketing, which runs through whatever channels you’re most active on – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – take your pick. It’s actually the only social media bulk messaging tool on the market. Yeah, we’re proud of ourselves too.
Through Booked it, you can also run competitions to increase engagement and the amount of data you capture. You can also incentivise your customers to share their experiences with their friends. Using our loyalty scheme, customers can earn points and rewards for sharing on social media and through direct messaging. This makes the customer themselves the marketing tool, meaning that you can just sit back and reap the rewards.
Furthermore, you can use Booked it to understand your most influential customers and turn them into Brand Ambassadors. You can browse a network of over 11m micro- and global influencers, filter based on location, interests, and engagement, in order to find those suitable for your brand. After that, it’s easy. Once they are in your venue, they will do the marketing for you.
Although marketing is often neglected, it’s actually one of the most important aspects of a business. If you do it well, it can increase your customer base, entice new customers to check out your venue, and increase the satisfaction people have with what you offer them. There are so many ways to implement marketing strategies within your venue. It’s not all massive billboard and expensive advertising – sometimes it’s as simple as the click of a button.
Words by Rebecca Clayton