The question we are asked most often when we discuss family business marketing strategies is “What is digital marketing, and how can it help our family business?”. Leading family business expert Don Schwerzler speaking at a recent event for family-owned businesses stated that “Digital marketing is the pre-eminent strategy for family businesses interested in growing their family business in size and profitability – and to be able to do that quickly!”.

Schwerzler has been advising family businesses for more than 50 years and is the founder of the Family Business Institute and the website Family Business Experts, both of which are headquartered in Atlanta Georgia.

For family businesses, digital marketing can play a key role in succession planning – whether the plan is to pass the business to the next generation of family ownership/management or preparing the business for sale. Moreover, digital marketing can be strategy to reinvigorate your family's business. Here are a few examples: 

The answer to the question “what is digital marketing” can help family businesses in different ways, depending on the challenges the family business is trying to overcome. “Every family business is unique and complex in its own way. Boiler plate marketing solutions rarely work. They fail to help the family business develop a connected and custom-tailored marketing strategy”, notes Schwerzler.  A third generation C-Store family business in North Carolina had more than 30 stores, all had eye-catching designs, deli style hot food service and competitively priced gas. Their primary marketing strategy was simple – word of mouth in the communities where they were located. The “growth opportunity” being missed was the ability to capture customer sales data in a way they could better understand the demographics of their customer base. One of the benefits of knowing the demographics helped the family when they were scouting new store locations. Rather than depending on the family’s “hunch” about a new location, using the customer profiles and demographics, they were able to increase the revenue produced by a new store significantly faster than depending on their old and outdated “word of mouth” marketing strategy. Additionally, the family business was able to develop a coupon strategy for their customer retention strategy that enables them to gain a stronger position in a competitive market. How did digital marketing technology affect their bottom line – profits increased by more than 20%!

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The answer to the question “what is digital marketing” had a different impact on a second-generation family retail business in NJ. Their store was in a neighbor that was in decline – as were sales! The founder’s granddaughter asked us about options they might consider – about moving the store to a new location and what unintended consequences that could develop. Their cash flow was not enough for many options. She had just graduated from college and she did not want to be involved in a business that was dying. Yet she had a sense to protect the family’s legacy business. The family was locked into a ‘brick and mortar” approach to the future of the business – and we helped them to decide to take the business on-line. While they had a website for their business, it was not much more than an electronic business card. A decision was made to turn their family business into an on-line business using digital marketing technology. A closed business next door to their store was vacant and was available to be used as a warehouse and distribution center. The first year after implementing the new digital marketing strategy, overall sales increased by more than 400% - and growing every year. The founder’s granddaughter is now the CEO of a third-generation family business! Today more than ever, it is vital to include education as a big part of digital marketing. That’s because consumers have more choices in what products and services they can buy when shopping online. Plus, they have a wider selection in which businesses they choose to buy from. Unfortunately, too many small family-owned businesses invest in digital advertising as the major source of educating their audience about their products and services. But there is a more cost-effective way to educate consumers. In fact, 70% percent of consumers prefer this digital marketing method over digital advertising. What is the method of digital marketing that consumers prefer to educate them? Our digital marketing expert can explain how to do that within the context of your family business.

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 The answer to the question “what is digital marketing” resulted in a complete makeover of a family business that distributed industrial products to specialized businesses. Although they were successful for several generations, the family had not modernized their sales and marketing practices since the time their sales force made customer calls using a horse and buggy. But this approach was getting ever more expensive to support and over time was becoming more ineffective. Once some market surveys were completed, it was clear there were a significant number of potential customers in their market area that were not recognized much less being serviced by the sales force. Working with the business owner, the sales force was converted from using 30 “outside” salespeople, who visited their customers on a regular monthly schedule to using 8 “inside” salespeople who could immediately bridge the communication gap between customer and salesperson. This change in customer service reduced costs, increased cash flow as well as increasing sales. The next step was to develop an outbound marketing program using the latest digital marketing tools and strategies. Like many family businesses whose marketing and selling practices were anchored in the past, digital technology brought an ageing business into the 21st century! 

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What’s the Best Way to Get New “Qualified” Leads ?

Research shows nearly 1 out of every 5 small and medium-sized businesses do not invest in any digital marketing. But among those that do, many first invest in paid advertising.

But there is a better, more cost effective way. In fact there is one digital marketing method that costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates more than three times as many leads.

What is this type of digital marketing method?

Click here to ask our Digital Marketing for the answer!

Does Your Website Include These 3 Vital Things?

The first impression of your website goes a long way to determine whether a prospective customer will buy from you.

In fact, 75% of consumers judge the credibility of a company based on their website. And just a single bad experience on a website can make users 88% less likely to visit the website again.

Here’s the thing. Studies show that between 70-80% of people will research a company online by going to their website BEFORE buying from them.

Yet shockingly, according to research, more than one quarter (28%) of small businesses spend less than $500 on a website. Quite honestly, it’s very hard to have a quality site for under $500.

So based on the facts above, you’ll agree having a well-designed website with persuasive content is an essential and worthwhile investment for family-owned businesses.

There are at least three things every website of a family-owned business must have to attract and engage an audience. So they buy from you. What are these three things?

Go here to ask our Digital Marketing expert for the answer!

Does Your Family-Owned Business Pass the Marketing Technology Test?

In today’s digital age, family-owned businesses live or die by the types of – or lack thereof - marketing technologies they use.

In fact, research studies show 30% of owners of small family-owned businesses say that keeping up with technology advances is a major concern.

There are 5 vital marketing technologies every family owned business must have to survive.

If you are missing just one, beware. What are these five marketing technologies?

Go here to ask our Digital Marketing expert for the answer

Add This 1 Digital Marketing Technology to Boost Your Sales Exponentially

When it comes to gaining a competitive advantage, most owners of family-owned businesses look to improve the features of their products and services.But in today’s digital world, there is one trend that is blowing the lid off of sales.In fact, this trend is so vital for your success that it can make or break the difference between being a leader to going out of business.For instance, adding this one marketing technology can increase B2B productivity by 50%, perhaps even higher among younger workers. And it can boost revenues by nearly double and accelerate the time to purchase by 20%.Plus, adding this one marketing technology can boost the number of prospects that find you by 200% to over 300%. What is this one marketing technology?

Go here to ask our Digital Marketing expert for the answer

What is the number one digital marketing priority for small family-owned businesses?

Among the 80% of small sized family-owned businesses that invest in any digital marketing, about 48% focus on building brand awareness. But is that your best use of marketing dollars?The answer is no. That’s because digital marketing is more closely aligned with direct response marketing than it is with brand marketing.The thing is, there is a much more viable and achievable goal that is supported by over half of small business owners. In fact, reaching this goal can help you also achieve a major financial milestone. What is this digital marketing priority?

Go here to ask our Digital Marketing expert for the answer


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