Perhaps the most important aspect of marketing is learning how to manage the customer experience. And believe it or not, small businesses know how to do this better than large brands. Local business practices are the heart of customer relationships. Knowing client’s names and what they are looking for is critical. Personal interaction is important, and not using software as a replacement of the customer interaction. Lost customer experience is lost sales, so avoid it at all costs.
Strong Business Growth = Connect with Local Customers
The cornerstone of strong business growth, in many cases, is learning how to connect with local customers.
Big businesses can learn from the little guys
Okay, so you have built up a large fan base at your Facebook page. Your proud of your following. But if your Facebook posts sound like they were written by someone who howls at the full moon, you probably will not succeed at achieving your goal of return on investment. So how does a small business owner not only build a strong client following, but take that following to the next level and capitalize on those relationships?
By knowing your customers by name. When customers come into your shop or fill out a form at your web site—know that customer. And if you don’t know that customer, get to know them. Develop relationships and learn what that visitor is looking for so that you can fill the need with your company’s product or service.
Facebook and Local
Facebook is about connecting with people in real life and this is the reason these people like your page. The average user has 130 friends. The average fan has 310 friends, of which 30-40% are people that live near you. So how do you connect social with local? Word of mouth marketing is all about Facebook local.
The local component and Facebook offer brands the opportunity to connect with people in real-life. Build a fan base by connecting with real-world fans that already love you.
- Put a Facebook “like” box on your web site.
- Put signs in all your stores that announce your Facebook page.
- If you have a TV ad, put your Facebook page in the ad.
- Take your email list and send those people to your Facebook page with some type of incentive to “like” your page.
Tips for connecting with customers on a local level:
- Start with a solid marketing strategy by capitalizing on your company’s assets. Know your brand. Know your assets.
- The number of fans you need depends on the type of business you run and the size of your business. Big national brands might have hundreds of thousands of fans, while a small dress shop may need only need 200. At the same time, you need more than a few.
- Use other tools to get fans. Use your e-mail lists to give people incentives like coupons or free stuff to get them to become Facebook fans. Leverage advertising channels to offer discounts to people who affiliate themselves with your brand on Facebook.
Return on Investment
It takes time to build up a customer following, so capitalize on that fan base. With social media, you have the potential for connecting with the friends of your existing fans. Avoid the common mistakes and the biggest challenges with Facebook. Running contests to get fans is a common mistake. The goal of a large fan base is a common one, and marketing strategy is something that needs to evolve from your existing fan base through quality rather than quantify.
Some businesses focus more on numbers rather than quality. By focusing on numbers, business owners can lose track of the customer experience. Know your customers. Don’t outsource these crucial tasks.
- Running contests just to get fans.
- Forget about marketing strategy, and instead focus on acquiring a large fan base.
Build your brand by building relationships
Having a Facebook page for your business can help you engage with customers, build your brand and grow your business. But getting fans—and knowing what to do with them once you have them—can be a challenge.
Your local “go to” is Facebook. So–yes–Facebook is not just for connecting to potential customers in other countries, but rather growing the relationships with contacts that your business already has. In fact, with Facebook, you can reach out to potential clients in your own neck of the woods.
It’s old advice, but good advice. Get to know your customers and build relationships with them. The time and effort you spend building relationships will pay off in terms of sales. Local customer interaction really works!