With blue skies and soaring temperatures, I bet I’m not that only one who enjoyed a few al fresco meals this week. And the smells of ribs cooking over charcoal got me thinking about how hosting a great BBQ is like getting your small business seen online. Not only do you have to be well prepared, fabulously organised and super-sociable, you’ve got to be ready to roll your sleeves up!
Here are my tasty tips for wowing your online community, BBQ style…
1. Know who your customers are and where to find them
To be successful online, you MUST know who your ideal client is and where they are hanging out. You wouldn’t just put a sign on your garden gate telling every Tom, Dick and Harry passing by your house that’s there’s a BBQ in the offing round the back, would you? Be picky: think about who you WANT to invite to your party/brand and research where they are so that you can attract them. Once you know what your audience wants then you can set about giving it to them: if you know that the couple at no. 58 are vegetarian, you can stock up on haloumi and veggie burgers to keep them happy!
2. Get a good website
Like a clean, fully-functioning BBQ, a good website is a must if you want to attract customers and show that you mean business. A decrepit, wonky, grimy BBQ dragged out of the shed won’t give a good first impression, and an outdated, poorly designed website won’t do your business any favours either. In fact, it could well lose you customers. Whether you’re planning on building your own website or using a designer, I strongly recommend WordPress, for reasons I detailed in a previous blog.
3. Be consistent
Your customers should know what to expect from you and any messages you put out there, across your website, social media platforms and offline marketing should align with the core values of your brand. If you’ve been telling your friends that you only eat organic, locally sourced meat, they might be slightly perplexed to see you piling ‘Value’ sausages onto the BBQ.
4. Create content that will resonate with your online community
You should know what makes your followers tick in the same way that you should know something of the tastes of your guests. Don’t just make assumptions about your audience, do your research! Your yoga friends might love to be welcomed with a giant burger and a can of lager, and your elderly neighbours may be expecting kangaroo steaks and Sex On The Beach cocktails. Whatever: they’re your guests, you should know!
5. Take a look how you are with Google and update your website and social platforms regularly
Keep an eye on that BBQ: nobody wants stale or charred ribs, and Google, like your guests, loves original, fresh, relevant and valuable content. Mix it up a bit by including videos, images and regular blogs – as long as it’s fresh and unique it’ll serve you well and keep you ranking.
6. Monitor what is happening!
The best way to stand out online is to take what’s already working for you and do it more. Measure and analyse the content and strategies that have worked best for you, and ditch the ones that haven’t. If there are no takers for your tofu burgers, take them off the menu. If your lamb kebabs are going like hotcakes, keep them coming! The important thing is to be mindful, watch what’s going down well and what’s not, and give your customers more of what they love.
7. Consider using paid advertising
OK, so it’d be a pretty sad state of affairs if you had to pay people to pitch up at your BBQ, but paid search marketing, like Google Adwords, and Facebook Ads can really make a difference when it comes to targeting your message to a very specific audience: the people you REALLY want to reach. You can spend as little or as much as you want and tweak your efforts as you go for the best results, it’s worth a look.
8. Engage, engage, engage
There’s little point in investing in a brilliant website and creating fabulous content if you’re just going to sit back and wait for people to flock to it and buy from you, because they won’t. You need to get busy, promote your posts, be sociable and BE SEEN! Your BBQ guests wouldn’t stick around for long if you left them, parched and bored, in a corner of your garden without so much as a “Can I interest you in a sausage?” from time to time. Talk to your audience, be interesting, and – more importantly – be interested. Everybody loves to talk about themselves, so give them an opportunity to do so… just make sure someone has the BBQ covered while you’re mingling!
So, if you want to have a successful BBQ or get your business seen online, make sure you have the basics covered: do your research to find out who you want to target/invite, find out how to reach them, give them what they want, keep them entertained, be consistent, keep an eye on what’s cooking and engage with your crowd. And, if you’re having a BBQ this weekend….. you know where to find me ☺
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