A couple of weeks ago I met with business owner, Heidi Kallett, to talk about what she’s been doing to market her business in this tough economy. Heidi owns The Dandelion Patch, fine stationary and gift boutiques located in Reston and in Vienna, Virginia. What makes Heidi’s stores unique is that they focus on helping customers “celebrate life’s milestones.” Each location has specially trained Milestone Specialists who can help you find the perfect gift or stationary product to announce the arrival of a new family member or invite people to a wedding or any life’s milestones. Her staff is friendly and personable and they are very welcoming which makes you want to spend a lot of time looking around the store at all the great stuff.
In talking to Heidi about how she overcame the challenges of the recession, she mentioned that she chose to focus on her existing customer. In Network Solutions’ recent Small Business Success Index (SBSI) survey of small business owners, we found that 62 percent report having trouble thinking of new ways to grow their business. However, the 37% that are successful in doing so are leveraging Internet technologies, like email marketing, websites and Facebook.
“We took a look at our marketing budget, looked at what we could do to make it work harder for us and help us engage more with our existing customers who are some of our biggest fans,” said Heidi.
The Dandelion stepped up their marketing efforts by using the Web to communicate with their. That included being active on Facebook, sending out emails, writing regular blog posts and using Twitter to create brand awareness and get their existing customers “buzzing” about them. Although a small percentage of small business owners use social media (24%), eighty-two percent of them reported that they have Facebook page.
With 62% of all the businesses surveyed for the Small Business Success Index either have a website or plan to have one soon, focusing on The Dandelion Patch website also was important to their marketing efforts as well.
“We focused time and effort on our website adding a blog and optimizing it for the search engines,” added Heidi.
“We’ve even added video to our website! We bought a cheap little camera, shot some interviews and posted it to the site. Our customers are still commenting about how much they like it!” commented Heidi
“Technology is a huge ally for small businesses. I been able to stay ahead of the curve by leveraging the internet and social media to stay connected with my customer base and also maintain an online presence for Dandelion Patch.
Heidi’s business has experienced top line double digit growth in the last two years and she’s opening up two more locations – in Georgetown and Leesburg, VA – in early 2011.
I asked Heidi for any advice she could offer her fellow business owners, “It’s important that you make time to focus on the business and not spend all your time in the business.”
About the Small Business Success Index:
U.S. small businesses, typically known as the innovation engine that fuels the nations’ economic growth, have reached a roadblock when it comes to innovative marketing according to the fourth wave of the Small Business Success Index™ (SBSI), sponsored by Network Solutions® and the Center for Excellence in Service at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. It indicates that the recession has stifled small business owners from pushing the limits on innovative marketing with 62 percent of business owners reporting that they struggle to come up with new ideas that increase revenue. For more information visit: http://www.GrowSmartBusiness.com
Share Your Marketing Success
If you’re a small business owner who has had success in growing your business using the Web, please leave a comment and share with us what you’ve done to generate revenue for your business during this tough economy.Google+