Local Marketing is today’s topic here at Click and Mortar Blog headquarters. And when I say local, I mean local as in 1 to 50 miles of your location.
The web has forever changed the landscape how we as small business owners market to our prospects and customers. This landscape is further changed as more and more small businesses struggle to figure out how to integrate their offline efforts with online channels.
Add to the confusion the rapid growing mobile and video sectors and media sales people yelling, “we’ve got what you need and you need to buy from us” and you have one big info overload headache coming on.
With all the changes coming down the pike, it’s really amazing that anyone can keep up. For a local business owner, manager or even hired gun like a business consultant, you need to be on top of all this stuff and if you’re not then your business’ reputation might be suffering.
Not only are we needing to embrace the weavers of the web, but we also have to be really concerned with our reputations, because the consumer now has the power to praise or persecute.
It’s no longer just the better business bureau but now citation sites and reviews are becoming the norm with Google + Local, Yahoo and Bing filling in the gaps really fast.
Much harder it is today for businesses to get away with lousy service and quality issues because their mishaps, shortcomings, oversights and lack of attention to the customer will forever be shown for all to see.
So you can hopefully see how important it is to have a solid foundation in your business and this way your reputation won’t haunt you.
With all that said, let’s talk turkey and get down to the bottom of all this.
Local marketing is no longer just offline media as in newspaper, radio, television, direct mail and billboards. Local marketing has merged both offline and online channels which means you as the business owner need to narrow your focus and engage your target market.
Engaging your target market means that your efforts need to be more focused than ever before with an eye out for what people are saying about you.
This brings me to the topic of reputation.
If your reputation stinks, then you are going to have a tough time growing your small business and all the local marketing you can do will be like swimming up river. No longer can you leave a customer hanging or in a lurch as citation and reviews have become the norm, allowing the consumer(and business) control over what they really think about your business.
If on the other hand your reputation is good to great, then you’re off to the races. Because all you need to do is maintain, monitor and continue to grow by using positive reviews to boost awareness and increase traffic.
So what can you do about it?
1. First work on your foundation. Get all the cracks fixed, leaks plugged and foundation in solid shape. Do whatever it takes to make your small business’ foundation a solid structure that can support your sales and local marketing efforts. This means from the person answering the phone, to those that answer email and deal with live customers, patients and clients, it’s very important that a positive, uplifting message is left for all.
2. Set up a system for capturing customer reviews. In some cases you might direct people to Google. In others you might direct them to Yelp, Kudzu, Insiderpages or a specialty site that pertains to your industry. No matter how you do this, it’s important to continually work on getting positive reviews and if a bad review ever shows up you can deal with it immediately.
So build a solid foundation and then engage the people who come across your doorstep. Treat people right and the reviews they leave you will help build and reinforce your existing foundation.
Until next time.