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Small businesses need to make the most of any advantage that they can grab with a great many markets only seeing corporations getting bigger and bigger. One such advantage is a general perception that small and local businesses are the better option to nationwide or international firms. Another is that being small allows for a great deal more maneuverability and nimbleness.

So, it can be easier for small businesses to latch onto trends, try out new ideas, and pivot the core messaging to relay points that will increase customer appeal. As it stands, there are a few key touch points and methods that can be deployed with relative ease – and potentially with cost-saving side effects – that look to resonate with the great customer base.

Prove your green credentials


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If at all possible, proving your efforts to be eco-friendly or clearly making changes to products to be greener will have a profound impact on customers and, subsequently, sales. The most clear-cut way to do this is to change your packaging to sustainable materials and sources. People are now actively shying away from plastic or plastic-looking packaging when there’s a seemingly greener option in the same category.

The costs of time and sometimes money can put businesses off of doing the right thing to pivot to greener packaging, but it has been proven to increase sales. PackWire shows that sales of FMCG products increased once they switched to environmentally friendly packaging. Furthermore, be it a product change or a clearly showcased commitment, brand reputation and customer loyalty will increase.

However, it’s very important that you avoid a common pitfall of the major companies, which is to promise too much, go too big, and essentially come across as insincere through unrealistic claims. This practice is known as greenwashing, and being perceived as doing this will harm your business. If making an environmental plan, you need to provide receipts, including dated targets, updates with proof, and real figures on how your efforts help the environment.

Pay up to earn customers’ affection

If nothing else, customers have their minds on their money. Engaging as a customer means that they know they’ll be spending money, hopefully on a product that brings them value. You can almost surprise them and flip the mentality by offering them some form of cash reward, cashback, or bonus as new customers. They will enjoy getting that little extra.

You can see this across sectors that offer ongoing services to customers. In banking, the “switch offer” is becoming commonplace, with banks offering money to new customers who leave other banks to come to them. In the more relatable field of online casino gaming, sites will offer new players a stack of bonus funds and free spins. For example, the PartyCasino welcome bonus is up to $500 and 120 free spins encourage new players to try out the site, engage with the brand, and possibly stick around, thanks to the strong first impressions made by the welcome bonus.

Lights, camera, action!

streaming video

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You may think of streaming as the technology that killed Blockbuster, but to marketers, it’s the most engaging way to connect to customers. Through a live stream, you can essentially run your own interactive QVC show. So, you can do Q&A sessions with a purchase period added on, live demos and breakdowns, live or non-live tutorials, and even live sales events – known as live commerce.

Live commerce is seen as the future of online shopping, with Chinese mega companies like Alibaba finding tremendous success through its live shopping options. In 2020, a mere 30 minutes of a campaign on Taobao Live made the company $7.5 billion. The streams are particularly captivating because customers like to ask specific questions about products, such as how they feel, if they’d fit certain sizes, the strength of the materials, which you can answer in the moment, while they’re conveniently at home. This quickly translates to a sale.

A classic way to get your foot in the door

If you want to make a name for your brand, want to try out a new product, or just want to give back to customers, free samples are still a great way to go. The process taps into people’s innate desire to reciprocate kindness, which for customers, comes in the form of brand loyalty and repeat custom if the free sample is of their liking. So, it’s always good to put your best foot forward with free samples.

Usually, free sample campaigns aren’t too expensive, with you giving away a first try or a much smaller sample to try to hook customers and make a great impression. Having regular free sample events or giveaways can even attract more onlookers who frequent your store or online pages to make the most of the promotions, but also get exposed to your offering further. There are even free sample vendors like Pinch Me that send out free samples to a wide range of people to collect feedback that will also help your business.

If you’re a small business looking to increase your appeal, see if any of the customer-favorite methods above suit you.