My parents own a small business that creates memorabilia for elderly individuals and they are looking to expand. This summer, they asked me to join the team and help out with the marketing for the company. I have so many ideas for advertisements, social media campaigns, and much more, but my father is really into more traditional marketing techniques. He is super old school, and he hates all technology. I have tried my best to explain to him the evolving market, but he thinks that his ideas are best, and that any new ideas would ruin the traditional, old fashioned vibe we have tried to create with our business. He thinks that since we cater towards an older demographic, we don’t need to use the Internet for marketing.
While I do see where he is coming from, I feel as though our family business is going to fall behind other growing businesses if we do not take advantage of all forms of marketing. My father’s idea of marketing is spreading by word of mouth, hanging up fliers, and getting advertisements printed in the local paper. I feel as though we are just wasting money doing things such as this, and that online marketing would be a much better way to approach promoting the business. What can I say and do so that my family will better understand the importance of online marketing?
Dear “Old School,”
Many long time commerce owners, especially those who have been in the business for a while, believe that there is no need to expand onto online marketing. This belief is wrong, and could be fatal to your company. Fliers, newsletters, and printed advertisings may have worked back in the day, but now people are really only getting information from their screens. From elementary school kids to senior citizens, almost everyone is using their phones, tablets, or other electronic devices to get news, order food, read reviews, purchase clothing, for entertainment, and endless other actions.
Imagine your company is given ten points. The lower your points are, the worse your business is going to do. If you aren’t on Yelp, you lose a point. If you are on Yelp, but there are no photos, reviews, or detailed information about the company, you lose a point. If you do not have the company hours, location, and contact information for your business, you lose a point. If you aren’t on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you lose another point. If you have social media accounts for your company, but only update them every so often, you lose a point. Do you see where I am going with this?
Mention to your father that creating social media accounts is free, and can only help, not hurt your business. It sounds like your family company really pulls on the emotional heart strings of the consumer, and you can use that to your advantage. Are your products something that people would find interesting even if it does not relate to them? You can create Facebook posts of satisfied customer’s products, in the hopes that it may go viral. You can do contests and give out coupons via the Instagram account. You can use Twitter to respond to satisfied or unsatisfied customers, and work out any complaints in a professional manor. You can also hang a sign in your store front window letting customers know that you are on Yelp, so that they can check out what others are saying, or leave a review detailing their experience.
Your father may be cautious at first with getting into online and digital marketing, but the rewards will be so great. The world of buying and selling goods is moving from in person interactions, to being strictly online. Eventually not just marketing, but all aspects of a company, will be done through the Internet.
Best of Luck,