Almost every company has its critics, and now they have access to social media and comment sections.
Source: The Loudest Consumers Don’t Always Represent the Majority
My clients and colleagues who are small business owners frequently whine to me about Yelp. They feel bullied by Yelp and bullied by reviews. Some even refuse to claim their listing to avoid the feedback…despite Yelp’s power of driving customers to their business.
Heed these words:
Before you oil the squeaky wheel, here are some things to keep in mind about the vocal minority — those online customers, trolls and/or community members who have big mouths, but don’t actually represent the sentiments of the group.
Just because certain customers are “loud” and they are consistent in posting or sending you feedback, it doesn’t mean that they represent the feelings of your wider base of customers or fans.
In fact, many of the folks who complain actually don’t have a lot of purchasing power and some of them aren’t your customers at all.
Many customers complain in online forums and on social platforms more often than they give praise.
In communities, the masses tend to ignore responding to the critics to save themselves from headaches.
If you get negative feedback, respond to it. Be responsive? Yes. Be pushed? No. Don’t let someone else’s vision of your business drive your business.
Message Is Not The Media
A Great Local Marketing Messaging Cuts Across All Media Channels
It’s tempting with all the new marketing channels created by the Internet to get caught up in the hype of the latest and greatest toy. Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Reddit, Instagram, SnapChat seem like huge engines to get your local business notices. No doubt, your social media toy is shiny and cool. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is talking about Facebook and Twitter. You cannot turn anywhere and miss the conversation about them. But, those are the media channel from which you communicate. The media is the means to get your message out, the way to interact. Your MESSAGE is why they engage with you.
Without your strong relevant message and/or noteworthy activities like client successes or new products, it will not matter what media you choose for your marketing. Think of it like the news. While the news can be crazily sensational, it constantly piques your interest. You can pique prospects’ interest if you have a great, interesting, compelling message.
In ancient times, storytellers told tales and lessons from ancestors. The town crier delivered news of the day and messages from the leaders. In some cultures, there were drums delivering information. Stone tablets were another favorite from the Bible. Then, we evolved to pen and paper. That guy, Guttenberg, changed the whole world with a printing press, creating mass media nearly overnight.
Throughout the evolution of communication from the stone tablets, printing press to Internet-driven citizen journalists and content publishers, it’s the story, the substance, the essence that have mattered most to the recipient of the message. The method (AKA as the media) of message delivery is not doubt a big deal. While television networks, radio stations and networks, newspapers (until recently), printers and Internet companies are HUGE businesses, they only deliver news and messages created by others.
The Truth of Messaging
Your local business marketing message has to pique a prospect’s interest. They are not robots. They want to be excited. They are curious. They want to feel safe. Message matters because however a prospect encounters you, they want to know what you do, what you think and how your business can help them.
It is ESSENTIAL for a service-based companies to have a strong message. You have no product that your prospect can hold and they really, really have to trust you to buy from you
Think about your own experience. What’s the last thing you bought? How did it catch your eye? Why that product? Why not something else? Why are you spending your money there? Use that experience to think about what message “they” sold you on and use it to influence your message
Worried about scaring them with a “negative” message? Study after study shows that humans respond to problems better than goals. You won’t be negative or scary if you come from a genuine place of help.
3 Ways To Develop A Strong Message
Answer one of these questions. Write out your story. Cut it down to a few lines or just one. Tell that story to everyone.
- What problems do you solve for your clients?
- List them out
- See if you can consolidate them into several major themes
- Keep in mind that clients will pay for results. So what results can you deliver?
- What successes have your clients had from working with you?
- Along the lines of results, what numbers or statistics did you clients achieve.
- Think of what happened when they came to you, what you did and what happened from working with you.
- You can deliver that story in about 3-5 lines.
- What is the most passionate, core idea of your business? What motivates you?
- You probably give free advice. That’s your passion.
- Your passion drives the free advice – a belief that everyone deserves….(fill in the blank)
- What would you stand on a soap box and tell anyone who’ll listen about your profession.
With a strong message, you’ll find others responding to you and trying to help you because they understand you. After all, isn’t that what we all want? A little understanding.
Given the explosion of blogs and bloggers, you probably think you’re going to get lost in a churning sea of information. That’s entirely possible. But, there are some things you can to do pull your blog into the boat and save yourself from drowning or getting lost at sea.
Why should you blog? For local businesses it’s a surprisingly good way of adding “juice” to your website. Google’s algorithm (the formula for delivering results) is constantly on the hunt for three things: 1) relevance, 2) freshness, and 3) connection. When you blog, you do all of those, making it far more likely that your business will turn up in the highly coveted organic results. Remember, Google wants be the go-to search engine so they give you results that really match your query. Then, the look for websites that are tended to. A blog shows that you tend your website without you constantly having to update your other pages. As far as connections go, the algorithm looks for social media connections and links. Comments go along ways to. See if you can solicit comments from some of your fans and remember to post your blog to your Facebook Fan Page.
In this infographic, that’s intended for new local business blogs, there’s great advice for both new and experienced bloggers to get discovered by Google. Of course, Google isn’t the only search engine but it’s used by 70% – 80% of all users. So it’s the 800-lb gorilla in the room. It cannot be ignored. Appealing to Google is the best way to juice up your blog.
Infographic by Digital Philippines
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Isn’t that what your mom and dad told you?
I could probably retire if I had a $1 for every time I heard that growing up. It came with an eyeroll from the kids and a smug look from my dad, the main culprit of quotes.
You know what? He was right. Shhh. Don’t tell him.
What does this have to do with marketing? EVERYTHING. It’s really a struggle to get local small businesses to continue with advertising, try a technique again or stay with what’s becoming boring to them. It’s even harder when something doesn’t seem to work. Getting lousy results makes it hard to trust doing the same thing again. Except the most successful businesses cared less about perfection and more about improving on mistakes.
Here’s a great infographic to remind us that “overnight” sensations are anything but. Let’s stay encouraged that even the most successful tried again and again before perfection.
Shortest way to customers? Face to face marketing. Read how:
Shockingly, the solution for finding new customers quickly these days ISN’T social media. Customers for local businesses are staring them in the face…literally. The people who’ll become your client are usually standing across from you at a networking event, are sitting next to you at a BNI meeting, are the customers of someone you know.
I know, I know. I get plenty of business owners asking me questions over social media. Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are invaluable tools in getting your message out. They’re white-hot in terms of publicity and attention.
But, white-hot media doesn’t make it a great choice I caution local business owners that it’s requires planning and investing time. While the Internet is an invaluable marketing tool, sometimes you need to get customers faster than waiting for someone to like your Facebook page and interact with you. Gathering followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook can be done rapidly. Turning them into paying customers is a different proposition.
The Young Entrepreneur Council highlights the value of “old-fashioned marketing” in their article 13 Traditional Marketing Strategies You Can’t Afford To Ignore, and FIVE of 13 tips cited face to face events to meet potential customers.
Here’s a couple of tips:
“When it comes to traditional marketing, I still invest in on-site marketing activities such as events and sponsorships. On-site marketing is not only a great way to make a lasting connection with your target market, but also provides the opportunity to capture great content such as photos and videos which are perfect to release via your social media channels.”
– Kevin Tighe II | Co-founder and CEO, WeBRAND
Local Events Pay Off
“Yes, events IRL (in real life) are beneficial for the customer to jumpstart a relationship with the company and to get hands on with the product. This will encourage the customer to spread word of mouth which is the most influential and valuable part of marketing because it is means more if someone else has something to say from their personal experience and familiarity with the product.”
– Lane Sutton | Social Media Coach, Social Media from a Teen
Networking in Person
“I don’t budget much for most traditional marketing, but I’m always willing to pay to attend an event or a conference. In-person networking always pays out a major return on my investment.”
– Thursday Bram | Consultant, Hyper Modern Consulting
I get it. Spending a couple of hours working on social media seems more efficient than going out and talking to people. It’s time consuming developing relationships. You can’t easily measure the results like you can when you get a new like or follower. I know.
Yet, all that body language, all those things we see and experience in the presence of others just can’t short cut the marketing process like a live person can. You’re just going to have to suck it up and get out there, cupcake.
Over the last 2 years, I’ve knuckled down and gone to lots of networking, some times when I wanted to stay home and empty my DVR contents. I’ve attended conference to better my skills and resources. All this while I spend time writing this blog, developing my Twitter and Facebook accounts and postings. Over and over, when I staked my claim in local marketing expertise and got clear about my market, it just got easier and easier to meet people. My enthusiasm jumped. It’s really, really starting to pay off in new business and referrals. All of this coming from developing relationships in person.
Here’s a short list of face to face marketing activities:
- Structured networking like BNI and Le Tip
- Informal networking at Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, community events
- Business showcase or local expo
- Seminars and conferences you attend
- Seminars and talks you give
9 Face to Face Marketing Tips
- Find the Time Vampires and stay away from them. You never know when you meet people where it will lead but, it’s okay to do a gut-check and not take a business card or make a commitment to follow up.
- If you attend an event you didn’t create, be respectful of the event producer by introducing yourself, not hogging the platform.
- Create a little goal for yourself at each event: Collect 3 great contacts, introduce 2 people to each other, find someone you can refer.
- Respect people in a trade show booth. They paid to be there. You don’t get to take advantage of their largesse by running around and advertising to them. Look for strategic relationships at showcase events. Mnimize the time you spend in their booth. Commit to follow up.
- Don’t let others influence your opinion of an event or group. What’s good for your friend, might not work for you and vice versa. Look for groups that fit you.
- Structured networking can seem daunting but having goals and objectives help keep everyone accountable.
- Raising your profile by creating your own events takes work. Consider partnering with someone or getting professional help. Don’t let your fear stop you, though.
- If you don’t want to create your own events, find out where you be on a panel or speak at someone else’s events.
- Lastly, do your face to face with an open heart. Give to get. Remember that it’s an imperfect human you’re dealing with. They may need a little gentleness from you.
Traditional marketing isn’t done. And, face to face isn’t done either. Reading body language, listening to tone, seeing what’s in front of you. Humans will never be done with in-person contact. We’re smart and smarter than a compute (except for calculating huge equations.) In a technological world, I say it’s more crucial than ever to keep pursuing interpersonal relationships to push your sales higher.
Action-Packed Marketing – How A Call To Action Is the Most Important Marketing Ingredient!
Every year, I spend the day before Thanksgiving preparing my world-famous mashed potatoes. Well, at least they’re famous in my family! The key ingredient in the potatoes is salt. In the cooking world, salt is the beginning and end of ingredients. Even dessert and pastry cooking requires salt to enhance the sweetness. Yes, I know that it seems that the potatoes can end up tasting just like salt and nothing else but trust me, that’s not the case. You get great potato flavor with the Yukon Golds I use. Try leaving salt, even a pinch, out of your baking and see how it goes!
In local, small business marketing the key ingredient is a “call to action.” If you’re a big, national company like Coke or IBM or Target, you can do “image” or “brand” advertising. You can splash your logo on things and, then, you don’t even need words for people to recognize your company mark.
You, small business owner, don’t have the budget to get that recognition. That means that your advertising is doing double-duty. You are getting your brand out there AND using a call to action to generate response. You don’t get to cheap out on your brand identity. You just don’t use it all by itself.
The basic call to action is where you ask the reader/viewer/listener to DO something like “Call for a quote” or “Visit our website” or “Ask for a free consultation.”
Got An Action, Now What?
Okay, you have to have a call to action that is
a) suitable to the media – i.e. – click here for a website, visit our website in a print ad
b) suitable to the step in the sales cycle – i.e. – click here is low risk, call us is high risk
The more someone knows you and your business, the likelier they’ll take a bigger action. It’s progressive. Figure out the steps for your sales process and find marketing actions for your prospect to take each time.
Great List of Calls To Action
From the book, Words That Sell by Richard Bayan, here are some calls to action to insert in your marketing.
Part 1 – Prelude to the action
Do it today.
Decide for yourself.
Put our ideas to work.
Check it out.
Time’s running out.
You’ve waited long enough.
Part 2 – The Action Statement
Send for our free catalog.
For more details, call your…
In a hurry? Call….
May I hear from you soon?
Come in and introduce yourself.
Register for the event here.
Sign up and get your free____ today.
Just drop us a note.
Bring this coupon in.
You get the idea. Buy that book for even more great ones. Now, let’s see how you use your call to action to improve your results.