As local business owners, another sale may be the ultimate goal, but a connection with a customer is what gets those sales in the door. With in-person and digital options available, local business owners and managers need to select the right (and most efficient) marketing ideas that form those invaluable connections with local customers.
What is the goal of a customer connection?
A connection with a local customer is more than just a means to another sale—and it’s different for a local business versus a huge national corporation. A local business owner should choose tactics that inspire actions from a customer, such as (but not limited to) a referral, brand awareness, positive reviews, or in-person contact. The desired action should play a key factor in deciding on the type of tactic selected to reach business goals. A marketing professional can also offer advice on the specific tactics right for a local business.
It’s also important to realize that many marketing tactics are more than just a part of a plan; they are an integral part of operations that should be implemented via customer service employees who are the face of the business. This means that local business owners and managers should develop standard operating procedures that are a daily part of business and a standard part of employee trainings.
When its time to outsource local marketing efforts, take that team approach a step further. A marketing firm is an extension of your business’ efforts; contact them regularly with updates and information that can be used for a cohesive execution of all local marketing tactics.
How can I get more connections with my customers?
- Ask customers during customer interactions to follow business on social media
- Provide a card or flyer during customer interactions with social media options
- Ask customers during customer interactions to sign up for email list
- Provide a card with deals and contact information to be included in local community event goodie bags
- Ask satisfied customers for online reviews
- Give customers a mobile device for payment and for leaving an online review (when service is completed)
- Optimize your website so you appear in search engine rankings
- Include clear call-to-actions (graphic & text) that ask for social media follows and email list sign-ups
- Post content with local news, tips, and information helpful for customers
- Post pictures of employees doing work or on special occasions (with their approval)
- Drive traffic to a specific website page from social media
- Share website content relevant to customers’ lives
- Respond promptly to messages from customers with helpful advice
- Share posts from other local businesses and events
- Social media advertisements that target local users
- Send out personalized e-mails with relevant information
- Showcase community involvement and local news pertinent to the community and business
- Send out flyers or printed materials to local prospects
- Ask other local business owners to carry printed materials
Online Review Sites
- Take ownership of business profiles on review sites
- Contact a company with brand reputation software that manages positive and negative reviews from all online review sites
- Respond to all online reviews (negative and positive)
- Provide excellent customer service to customers who leave negative reviews (i.e. assist with resolving issue, offer to help)