Recently, our very own Anita Campbell hosted an online webinar titled, “Loco for Local: Get Fiercely Loyal Customers Close to You,” sponsored by Intuit. Anita shared tips she’d requested from a panel of 11 small business experts on how to get loyal customers close to you and your business.
Each of the panel experts contributed several valuable tips and suggestions and the webinar was packed full with useful information.
In case you may have missed this event, below is a list of the 11 small business panel experts along with a sample tip shared from each:
Craig Sutton of IkonMG: “Support them! An FAQ or support page that can answer questions about your product or service in a clear and understandable way can cut down on user frustration and support costs for the business. Use video to personalize this when possible.”
Matt McGee of Small Business Search Marketing: “Be visible offline. Write about local events before they happen, but also attend events and then blog afterwards with photos; show people what they missed, be their eyes and ears (i.e., local parades, community concerts, etc.)”
Ivana Taylor of DIY Marketers: “Create a direct mail campaign with at least 3 mailings. Your customers won’t even begin to know you exist before 3 mailings. A wave of 7 mailings is good. Do three relatively quickly, then follow up with 4 through 7 in about weekly increments. Those that don’t respond should go into a monthly mailing routine.”
David Mihm of Get Listed: “Encourage users to submit photos of your business to Flickr or Panoramio or videos to your YouTube channel. Flickr and Panoramio photos are showing up more and more on Google Place Pages (i.e. Local Business Listings) and in the case of YouTube videos, you can even choose which ones to embed directly. You might even create a contest for the best photo submitted where, for example, your email newsletter subscribers are asked to vote, and you’ll put the winner up as the photo on your Place Page.”
Becky McCray of Small Biz Survival: “Tell your customers’ stories. You can do this on your blog, on your Facebook page, in your email newsletter, in your store, in your Flickr photo pool, or any way you can think of. An Oklahoma hunting ranch posts photos of trophies immediately, even before the hunters go home. What is the first thing the customers do? They call or email all their friends with the link to their pictures.”
Melinda Emerson of Succeed As Your Own Boss: “Retail & professional service businesses can host “How to” workshops & events. Breakfast or lunch and learn presentations are best. Businesses can market the event using their mailing list, Linkedin events and Twitter.”
Cathy Larkin of Web Savvy PR: “A local publicity win-win: include a client as a part of your press pitches, or even blog posts. This must be done well; not a fluff piece. They help make your story real and they gain some publicity, you gain loyalty and it catches the interest of other prospects.”
Paul Rosenfeld of FanMinder: “Since 97% of your customers will read a text message, typically within a few minutes, businesses can use text message marketing to stay in close contact with their customers via their customers’ mobile phones. Send slow-day offers, coupons, new inventory alerts and seasonal messages.”
David Garland of The Rise To The Top: “Learn to sell “around” your product: Most small businesses make the mistake of making videos about their product. That is all well and good on your website for folks that are already there and seeking specific information, but NOT good for marketing purposes and bringing people in. Instead, find a passion that is shared by you and your audience and in many cases for a local business, this could be the home town.”
Barry Moltz of Barry Moltz.com: “Hold a fundraiser! Better yet, make it easy to let the community hold fundraisers at your business, and make a donation to the cause of their choice whenever they buy from you.”
Joel Libava of The Franchise King: “Encourage franchisors to make it easy for customers to get special discounts and buy from you, by how they set up their websites.”
The above is a sampling of the information and insights that were shared and discussed during the webinar. If you’d like to explore the rest of the tips offered by Anita and the expert panel and learn more, listen to the archived webinar, “Loco for Local: Get Fiercely Loyal Customers Close to You.”
Good material. I will start implementing some of this stuff.
I love David Mihm’s idea. Very cool. Using Flickr more. Thanks.
Thanks for the writeup. I enjoyed the webinar very much. Plenty of great tips from the small business experts!
Didn’t get a chance to participate in this webinar, however, greatly appreciate the summary posting… all good info. Thank You!
Great tips from everyone. Thanks for putting together the summary Staci!
Re: Paul Rosenfeld’s advice to text your prospective customers — This is a very short term strategy. The minute somebody reports that this texting strategy is working, thousands of advertisers will flood their customers with text messages, becoming a nuisance to the customers they are trying to attract and their messages will be nothing more than spam.
What a surprise. I am also located in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is such a small large city that your suggestions should work especially well here. Do you have any suggestions about how to find relevant events to attend that would help with networking? I am having a hard time finding ones that are not really expensive.
Customer Service Call Center
Loyal customers are more likely to stay with you longer and buy more from you. However, many companies spend much of their time and effort always trying to attract new customers. One of the reasons for this might be a lack of knowledge about how to create a loyal customer base.
Excellent tips. Thanks!