Local businesses sometimes believe that they don’t need to advertise themselves, and that their revenue will sustain itself on referrals and repeat customers. However, in today’s world of technology, it is very important to put yourself in front of the customer to be seen and to buoy up business.
In this blog, we tell you about the ways to do smart budgeted marketing that will increase new leads and boost more referrals.
- Establish a process to capture lead information
Lead capture is important. It is a vetted potential customer and, therefore, has a high possibility to convert into a buyer. You can then nurture these leads down you marketing funnel, either for your general business or for special offers. For this you need to establish a process that helps you capture important lead information during any interaction with a potential customer – name, age, e-mail, mailing address, phone number, city of residence, job designation etc. whatever may be relevant without seeming too nosy within that context. You can do this manually in your store (by training employees on the process) as well as on your website. Coupons, discounts, comps and trials are effective in-store, and using a form on a whitepaper, demo or freebie helps you engage with website customers.
- Segment your contact database based on demographics and your buyer persona
Once you get data on potential customers, you want to be able to send them the right message at the right time to resonate with them, so you can lead them down the marketing funnel. This is done by segmenting customers based on their data, the forms they filled, the promotional e-mails they responded to, or the links they clicked on your website. This information gives you insight about your customer and their needs, helps you craft personalised, targeted content to strike a chord with them, and lets a focussed execution ultimately convert them.
- Use local SEO to support your local business
Enlisting the help of Google Places, you can get listed online and optimise your website using the keywords and common phrases people of your city use to look for products/services like yours. Ensure these keywords find their way into your page titles and website copy. You understand the ethos of your city, so incorporate the slang or specific jargon into your communicative pieces. Don’t ever think you’re too old for social media. Even if you don’t have a website for your business, you can drive traffic by optimising your business’ social media account. It’s also good to get local or influential bloggers on board to write about you or review your product.
- A methodical referral strategy uses happy customers to spread their joy
A systematic referral strategy could mean the difference between happy customers lost after conversion and happy customers spreading their happiness to other potential customers. When customers are satisfied, they don’t particularly mind being asked to spread the word about your products that made them happy. So that’s the time to politely request them – at checkout, after a recent purchase, or after a customer satisfaction survey. Once you have a system in place, incentivise both employees as well as customers to collect referrals. Employees get rewarded for collecting referrals, and customers get small discounts on their next purchase for bringing in referrals. This also ensures your customer is not a one-timer but a repeat shopper.
- Collaborate with other local businesses to symbiotically strengthen your position
By creating partnerships with other businesses that sell products that are complementary to yours, not only do you create added value to your customer’s shopping experience, but you and your partnering business benefit from each other’s lead generation, and an increased overall ROI. Your visibility as a brand gets bigger. As local businesses, when you incorporate each other’s offerings into the overall sales and delivery processes, you strengthen your positions in the market.
- Use the local community to promote your local business
Today a lot of customers are sensitive to local businesses and the local economy, and want to benefit their local communities. While bigger brands and multi-nationals retain the pleasure of a showy, pampering shopping experience – everyone likes to treat themselves there once in a while! – many locals are happy to form a personal relationship with the small timers to get a personalised, home-grown shopping experience. If they are informed, it is convenient, and you have established your credibility and their trust in you, you’re quite set! They would even be willing to spend a little more once they are loyal to a local store. There are plenty of local initiatives and the local chamber of commerce to support locally owned and run businesses; join a chapter and you will get additional visibility while also being well-informed.
Lead generation doesn’t have to be an expensive investment more aligned with giant companies. It could be a combination of simple brick-and-mortar marketing and some basic technology to keep up with the times!