Towny’s team of Business Growth Strategists recently came together for a morning coffee chat and after a few minutes began sharing their 5 Best Practices known to have the best results for small & local businesses. Realizing the collective decades of digital and text marketing expertise, we wanted to share some of that conversation’s takeaways with you.
☻ Suggestion 1: Get to know your customers
It may seem intuitive – Get to Know Your Customers – but it is also the single most overlooked advantage that small and local business owners ignore when trying to solidify their place in the community. When you know your customers, you know their wants, their dislikes, and ultimately you can have a pulse on your customer’s needs. And, as all successful business owners know and practice, giving your customers what they need before they ask will catapult your business from a spot down the road into the place that understands me.
Listen and learn. Ask questions and increase engagement and wisdom through what your customers tell you. Beyond in-person conversation, quick digital Surveys are a great way to aggregate and collect your customer’s collective opinions.
☻ Suggestion 2: Invest in simple technology you can use
Time is of the essence as a business owner. Thousands of things need to be completed in the day to ensure you’re up-to-date in your bookkeeping, inventory availability, and marketing initiatives. Each of these seemingly being a full-time job, the best way to create time to get it all done is to invest in simple technology or internet software solutions. Literally hundreds of technology-based service companies exist to help small business owners economize their time.
Save time over the month with simple technologies or internet software you can use to organize and quickly complete essentials tasks. By spending 15 minutes weekly ensuring your software and technology are working correctly, you’ll be able to create more time to be visiting with your customers and realizing their needs.
Need Marketing Help?…. Towny offers full-service text marketing programs custom tailored to fit locally owned businesses. Learn more about Towny’s full-service offering. Also, check out some other DIY marketing tools, like Wordstream or Tatango.
☻ Suggestion 3: Focus on High-Impact Marketing
Wasting money on ineffective marketing is easy. So easy, Towny exists as a means to help local businesses stop wasting money on ineffective or confusing marketing schemes. Being top-of-mind for your customers is the goal. To stand out and be recognized, seek out low-budget, high-impact marketing strategies to improve your small business. By testing a few new tactics, you’ll quickly see which perform best. Social media and Text marketing are an excellent low-cost and low-risk way to promote your business. Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin are just a few social platforms to ensure your business is existent in our digital world. Go above and beyond with text marketing.
Marketing is a game about creating content, events, & experiences that make your business stand out and when needed, be to-of-mind. By focusing on high-impact marketing, you’ll not only save time in how much marketing you’re doing, but you’ll also save some money knowing that your messages, when sent, are being received. Over 90% of text messages are read within the first 5 minutes of receipt. This is high-impact. As people check their phones on average more than 150 times per day, you can almost guarantee your message is going to be seen if it lands on your customer’s phone.
☻ Suggestion 4: Reputation Matters, Have a Digital Existence
Research by Forbes and others suggests that 82% of smartphone users consult their phones on purchases they are about to make in-store and 45% read reviews before making a purchase. You’ve spent a lot of time and effort creating a reputation in your community and having just a few bad reviews can kill all of that effort. Ensuring your business can be located online not only will give your business credibility (if it’s not online…does it exist?), but it also allows your current and future customers to find your business and validate it’s worth with their opinions.
Having a digital existence in today’s world is ESSENTIAL. To boost your reputation, be sure your business is online. Claim your business on Google. Create a Facebook, Linkedin, and Instagram page to give credibility to your existence. And keep up with these tools. If you let them go dormant…. Your customers will think your business has gone dormant too. Post at least once each quarter.
☻ Suggestion 5: Give back to your community
This almost goes without saying, but it MUST be said. Retribution is probably the single largest driver of good-faith dealing and future business. Make sure you’re giving back to your community. You need your community and they need you. Ensure that whatever your business can do to help in times of need, you’re stepping up to the plate to serve those who need a little extra. Even when you might be struggling yourself, someone out there can use your goodness. And this is doubly so in the world of small businesses.
Create intrinsic value for your customers and your employees by giving back any way you can. Building brand awareness in your local community is a great way to attract new business. Consider a sponsorship or participating in a community event to raise your business profile. If there is something you can be doing to help your fellow community members… Are you already doing it? Should you be?
Set yourself apart today! Towny’s team of Business Growth Strategists are experts at helping use these strategies and tactics for local businesses. We really enjoyed this coffee chat and sharing some of the larger insights we all agreed was vital to seeing the locally owned business succeed in our digitally driven world.
Some parting words… As a small business owner, you should be communicating with your customers, where do they come from; why did they come to you; what do they like most about your business. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experiment with new online technologies. Experiment with affordable marketing and bookkeeping services to buy yourself more time to focus on your business. And finally, refining your approach is smart. If something is not working, don’t keep doing it and instead focus more on the activities that achieve the best results.