Starting or maintaining a small local business is no easy task. This is especially the case when you offer a product or service that is provided by major players that are hard to compete solely on price with. For every story of a mom and pop shop that has fought off the corporate giants, there are hundreds that did not share the same fate.
However times are changing, and technology is providing opportunities that were never even thought possible just a few short years ago. While a well thought out digital marketing plan is a given, I feel there are 3 key things a small business or start up can do today that can not only give them a real shot in the sales arm, but build customer loyalty and retention.
1. Exclusive Couponing – As a consumer who has used the likes of Groupon, and Living Social, I can tell you with certainty that it works. I have tried numerous new products and services from businesses I had neither heard of or would have considered. Get your business on one of these sites for a day, and you are destined to drive significant business your way and if you truly have a great product or service, repeat customers.
2. Location Based Rewards – I love the idea of Foursquare, Whrrl and Gowalla. I wish I wanted to use them more, but the reality is, unless I have incentive to, I just don’t find myself using them as much. However as businesses have started to offer rewards to users who check-in, that likelihood changes dramatically. If I were a local business, I would immediately partner with these companies and get an offer on the table, and window decals advertising the fact.
3. Reputation/Review Sites – I find myself using Yelp more and more to make service based buying decisions. It’s scaling, and there’s nothing more trustworthy then the opinions of the masses. I love businesses that have window decals showing they are listed on Yelp. It tells me that they care about what people say about them which usually results in good service and product. I would take it one step farther and offer incentives to customers to leave feedback. If you can work a nice Yelp rating, it will pay off in spades. Similar sites like Urbanspoon (for restaurants), and Google (off there map searches) are other areas I’d have businesses concentrate on building a strong reputation on. Embrace user feedback and good things will happen.
Reggie James says
Interesting list Jason and thanks for sharing. In the quest for that holy grail of how twitter can really have a business application over and above celebrity news – you have set an excellent ball rolling.
Thanks Reggie. I'm no expert, but those are the things I've found to be useful for business.
Dean van Leeuwen says
Jason this is a really good post and I do like your 3 tactics. They are simple, easy to action and should deliver results if applied consistently. For my two pennies worth companies following your suggestions must recognise that they need to pay deep attention to the overall customer experience and customer relationship. Without a commitment to continued customer experience improvement these tactics will not work in the long run.
Jason Yormark says
Totally agree Dean. It would be a waste of time and money if you didn’t back up a these tactics with a quality experience end to end. Thanks for stopping by.
Alma L Humphrey says
Jason, although I have been working with computers since 1971, I may be somewhat of a newbie at some types of social media. However, your concise, well written article helped bring me up to speed, especially for the small businesses I own. Thanks! God Bless You! Alma Humphrey <><
Jason Yormark says
Hi Alma. Thanks so much for the kind words. It’s comments like yours that keep me motivated to write on my blog. It’s always amazing to know when what you write helps anyone. Thanks for stopping by!