Roses are Red: How to Show your Business a Little Love this Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day: you either love it or you loathe it. So instead, why not use mid-February as a time to take stock of the long (and often challenging) month of January, and approach the changing seasons with a spring in your step. While a large number of marketing campaigns may be bursting at the seams with hearts and flowers, SME owners should re-direct the aim of Cupid’s bow this Valentine’s Day by showing a little self-love. A healthy serving of TLC can go a long way, so here’s a few things you can do to reignite your passion for business this February.

 

Sharing is caring

You wouldn’t be where you are today without your customers – especially those who voluntarily recommend your goods and services to friends and family. But how do you help make their voice truly heard (and feel loved in return)? When asked for an opinion, consumers are generally happy to give it, so consider asking visitors for their honest feedback; a little incentive such as a freebie or entry into a monthly prize draw is also more likely to encourage audience participation. A survey of this nature, whether on paper or a simple Facebook Page follow request, will make them feel part of something bigger – and improve your performance in return. With an average of 170 million users per month, customer review websites like Yelp can also help further propel your business into the digital spotlight; TripAdvisor and Yell.com are equally useful tools in turning those sweet nothings into genuine glowing reviews.

Love thy neighbour

As the saying goes: ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’. While ‘competitor’ is perhaps a more suitable way to term your fellow SME, it’s important that you take the time to observe and learn from their activity via consistent analysis – both through the highs and the lows. Observe how well other players within your industry are marketing themselves and how active they are on social media. How competitively priced are they? How would you rate their customer service? Embark on a secret shopper mission, whether physically walking into a store or making an enquiry online to gauge their professionalism and responsiveness. Always remain one step ahead and constantly ask yourself: what spark does this business have that mine is lacking – and what can I do to find it?

 

There are a number of ways you can encourage your staff to look after their mental and physical health that don’t cost the earth

Wellness in the workplace

When it comes to taking good care of your hardworking employees (and yourself), ‘wellness’ is worth its weight in gold. There are a number of ways you can encourage your staff to look after their mental and physical health that don’t cost the earth – yet can make a whole world of difference. The cycle to work scheme is a sustainable, cost-efficient way to boost your employees’ fitness, or why not set the challenge of a team parkrun in your local area. An office book swap, charity bake sale, free breakfast sandwiches every first Friday of the month; each little act of kindness you can comfortably afford and continue to provide in the long-term will only improve staff wellbeing over time. Start by sprucing up your staff breakout area, and you’ll be dreaming up ideas in no time.

Rewarding loyalty

Just as you may reward your staff with career progression and improved employee benefits as the years go by, take a moment to think how you might acknowledge and encourage the support of your valued customers. If you haven’t already, a loyalty card scheme invites customers to join your brand’s VIP community. By offering regular perks and discounts after a given number of purchases, you’ll soon find your once-impulsive visitors coming back for more. If paper cards aren’t your thing however, consider trialling a digital loyalty system such as Loyalzoo. Apps like this will even do the work for you, segmenting your customers into ‘new’, ‘VIP’, and ‘slipping away’ – and thus target these groups with the most appealing promotions on your behalf. Simply sign your customers up at the till with an email address or phone number, and you’re already one stamp away.

Each and every business, no matter how great or small, is a labour of love – both for you as the owner and all those involved. From the team that grafted from day one to the loyal customers who will always choose to ‘shop local’, do away with the gimmicks this Valentine’s Day and celebrate what truly makes your offering one in a million.