Successful brands put the customer first.
They monitor their customers' behaviors and leverage their needs to enhance the buying process. You can also boost your revenue by optimizing the customer experience.
If you want to take this concept one step further, you need to focus on one important element that will increase sales.
Personalizing the customer experience is a winning strategy. In fact, 96% of marketers agree that their efforts to personalize their customers' experience advance their relationships with customers.
Furthermore, 88% of marketers say they've seen a measurable improvement in their businesses after implementing customer personalization tactics.
But only 33% of businesses feel confident they have the tools to properly personalize the customer experience.
That's what inspired me to write this guide.
Some of you may already know you need to create a more personalized experience for your customers, but you just don't know what to do. Or maybe you're trying to improve your existing efforts.
Regardless of your situation, I'll explain what you need to do.
These are the best ways to increase sales by accommodating the needs of your customers and personalizing their experience.
Encourage your customers to create profiles
One of the first things you need to do is allow your customers to create profiles on your platform. Those profiles will help you implement other strategies as we continue through this guide.
Once the accounts are created, you'll be able to monitor the behaviors of your customers based on their profiles.
Your customers are perfectly comfortable with you tracking their habits as long as it's improving their experience.
As you can see from these numbers, customers want you to:
Not only are your customers comfortable with you monitoring their behaviors through their profiles, but they actually expect it. In fact, more than half of consumers say they expect brands to anticipate their needs so they can receive relevant suggestions.
You'll eventually be able to recommend products based on shopping and browsing behavior, but we'll discuss that in greater detail later.
The best way to encourage your customers to create accounts is by making it as easy as possible for them.
They don't want to take tons of unnecessary steps to set up their accounts. Make sure you limit your form fields needed for the account creation.
Think about what information you need from the customer that will help you personalize their experience.
Basically, anything they'd provide you with during an optimized checkout process is enough to create a profile.
Add a simple checkbox to the checkout that says something like “create a customer profile” to accomplish this.
Both you and your customers will benefit from this option. The personalized content on their profiles will improve their experience and ultimately drive more sales.
Segment your email subscribers
Collecting email addresses needs to be a priority for your business. But if you want to personalize the customer experience, you need to make sure you're delivering relevant content to their inboxes.
The best way to do this is by segmenting your email lists:
Although everyone who signs up to receive emails from your company might be interested in your brand, it doesn't mean they have the same wants and needs.
You need to learn how to write marketing emails that don't get marked as spam.
Grouping your subscribers into separate lists will ensure they don't receive irrelevant information.
Let's take customer profiles as an example. If a customer creates a profile during the checkout process, you'll know their address because they need to provide you with shipping and billing information.
Your customers in Texas shouldn't be getting the same emails as your customers in New Hampshire if your company is advertising a winter sale.
Those subscribers in Texas don't care about discounted winter hats and ski pants.
That's why segmented email campaigns can result in a 760% revenue increase.
Marketers say 58% of their revenue comes from emails that are properly segmented and targeted.
Recent studies show the differences between segmented emails compared to non-segmented campaigns.
Segmented emails have:
Higher opens and clicks paired with fewer bounces and unsubscribes put your company in a great position to increase sales.
Store information for faster checkouts
Again, customer profiles are important here.
Make sure you ask for the information required to complete a purchase only once. After that, you can store the information to expedite the purchasing process in the future.
Each step a customer has to take to buy something decreases the chances they'll complete this action.
Having to enter their name, address, and credit card information into your platform every time is tedious. The whole reason why they created a profile was to improve their experience.
Take a look at how Delta uses this strategy:
By saving credit card information in their customer profiles, people can book a flight fast and easily. They don't even need to have their cards on them.
Every ecommerce company needs to incorporate this strategy.
Customers will be able to add items to their carts and complete transactions with just a few clicks. This will help you improve your conversion rates and drive more sales.
Implement geotargeting practices
As I explained earlier, you can use the customer's location to personalize their experience.
In addition to segmenting your email lists by location, you can also tailor the content on your website based on the country your customers are browsing from.
Take a look at this example from the SAXX website:
Their customers are primarily located in the United States and Canada.
While the two countries may be similar, the company still wants to offer tailored customer experience based on the location of their customers.
For example, Canadian customers will want to see measurements of clothing in centimeters since they use the metric system. And people browsing in the United States will see “color,” while the Canadians will see “colour.”
Yes, any English-speaking person can understand American English, but not having the site customized to the customer location can still hurt the company's sales.
By allowing its website visitors to choose their country, SAXX ensures they'll be shown the right content.
Those of you who have an international brand need to take this process one step further. Look at the options on the Nike website:
Your website isn't the only platform that can be personalized based on location.
You can use your mobile app to pinpoint the exact location of your customers as opposed to broader locations, e.g., the state or country.
When someone downloads your app, ask them to agree to share their location with you so you can track it. Then, you can send them notifications using geofencing technology.
With geofencing, you can set up an area around one of your store locations. When an app user enters the location, they'll get a notification that encourages them to make a purchase.
For example, let's say you own a restaurant chain.
Someone with your mobile app walks within a block of one of your locations during lunch time. You can send them a discount off their lunch purchase that day.
Create a customer loyalty program
When you're implementing customer personalization tactics, you shouldn't aim to generate a one-time sale.
You want these efforts to lead to customer retention, resulting in recurring purchases. That's why you should come up with an effective customer loyalty program.
Studies show 82% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands offering loyalty programs.
Plus, loyal customers spend more money. Just look at these numbers:
Customers who have purchased from your brand multiple times add items to their carts at a higher rate, have higher conversion rates, and generate more revenue per shopping session.
You can set up your loyalty program in a few different ways.
The most basic option would be to give your customers a reward after a predetermined number of visits or purchases. You've seen these before.
You may go to a local food truck outside of your office for lunch. They probably have some kind of a punch card that rewards you with a free sandwich on your tenth visit or some other reward scheme.
But the best customer loyalty programs reward their highest spending customers.
Set rewards based on spending tiers. This will give your customers an incentive to spend even more money.
Allowing them to track their progress on their customer profiles or from the mobile app will improve their personalized shopping experience.
Listen to customer feedback
According to research, 68% of consumers abandon a business because they don't feel the brand cares about them.
That's why you should use surveys and interviews to generate more money for your business. This will show your customers you value their opinions.
However, just asking your customers to provide feedback isn't enough.
You actually need to make changes based on those suggestions.
But first, you need to analyze the results of the feedback. Don't just implement changes for the sake of it-that won't deliver a return on your investment.
But if you notice that a large percentage of your customers are providing similar feedback and suggestions to improve your process, you should take that very seriously.
Implementing these changes will make your customers realize they are part of your process and create a bond with your brand.
Recommend relevant products
I briefly mentioned this earlier, but I wanted to discuss it again in greater detail.
You already know you need to use the information provided in the customer profiles to personalize content for them. But there are certain pieces of extremely valuable information that you can't get via a form field: what the customers are looking for and what they are buying.
But you can find out that information through the browsing and purchase histories of your customers. That information will allow you to suggest relevant products to them.
If you do, consumers will be more likely to buy from your brand, whether you operate online or in person:
Recommending products to your customers also narrows their options.
Roughly 40% of consumers left a website to buy from a competitor instead because they felt overwhelmed by too many options. Don't let this happen to you.
If one of your customers recently purchased a surfboard and a wetsuit, it's safe to say they'll be spending time at the beach and in the water. So you could suggest something like a paddleboard and sunscreen because it's relevant to their purchase history.
Let your customers be part of the personalization process
Combine your personalization strategy with an interactive process.
If a customer doesn't have a profile, you can still get more information from them to personalize the content they see.
For example, Warby Parker has a feature on its website I love. Obviously, glasses aren't a one-size-fits-all product.
But with so many options, it can be overwhelming for consumers to find exactly what they're looking for. To help narrow the results, the brand asks their customers some questions.
First, it asks if you're browsing for men's or women's styles. Then, the questionnaire asks the type of fit you're looking for.
As you can see, the cartoon faces are all of men because that's what I selected in the first step. It's another subtle personalized touch.
Next, they want to know your color preferences for glasses.
After that, you need to provide them with the shapes of frames you prefer the most.
The questions get even more detailed.
Warby Parker asks when you had your last eye exam. It also wants to know if you're interested in eyeglasses, sunglasses, or both.
This relates to my last point about narrowing down the results. You don't want to overwhelm your customers.
Now the product results will be based on the preferences chosen by the customer.
Write content from the first person perspective
Try to establish a personal relationship with your customers.
In theory, this is much easier for small business owners who actually see their customers on a regular basis.
But even if you're an ecommerce shop or a global brand, there are still ways for you to create this type of relationship based on how you communicate with your customers.
By writing content from the first person perspective, just like I do when I blog, you will make your customers feel more comfortable. Write as if you're talking to a friend.
You don't need to be formal all the time.
Don't get me wrong: you should still write using proper grammar and avoiding slang terms. Just write as if you're having a casual conversation.
Do this with your emails, blogs, and content on your website.
Sign emails using your name. Your emails should be coming from email@example.com.
Don't send marketing emails from non-personalized addresses, like firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craft personalized email subject lines and content
Let's continue talking about your email marketing strategy.
In addition to segmenting your lists and writing content from the first person perspective, you need to learn how to craft subject lines that generate results.
After all, if nobody opens your emails, they're useless.
Research shows that personalized subject lines have tons of benefits:
Your messages will get opened at higher rates and have more clicks.
As you can see from the graph, these clicks ultimately lead to improved customer satisfaction and higher sales as well.
Your customers want and expect a personalized shopping experience. It's your job to deliver this to them.
Start by encouraging customers to create profiles on your website. When you add subscribers to your email list, segment them based on the information they provided you with.
Let customers store information in their accounts, expediting the checkout process.
Use geotargeting to show website visitors and app users personalized content based on their locations.
Implement a customer loyalty program. Listen to the feedback your customers give you.
Monitor their browsing and purchase histories to recommend relevant product suggestions.
Create an interactive personalization process to help your customers narrow product results.
Learn how to write content and email subject lines with a personal message.
Once you implement these personalization strategies, you'll enhance the customer experience and ultimately drive more sales.
What strategies is your business using to personalize the customer experience?
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Do you have lots of social media followers? Want to learn how to turn those followers into dollars?
Right now, there are people making a living on social media without selling anything.
We've all seen those profiles of seemingly regular people with tons of followers.
It always seems as if they're traveling or doing something fun. But what exactly do they do to fund this fairytale lifestyle?
They are social influencers.
Experts predict that in the next two years, global influencer marketing will be a $5-10 billion dollar industry.
In 2017, 86% of marketers relied on influencer marketing campaigns at some point during the year.
And 39% of marketers say they have increased their influencer marketing budgets for 2018.
All of this is promising news if you're interested in making a living on social media as an influencer. Even if you don't have lots of followers right now, this guide will show you what you need to do to make yourself more appealing to marketers and brands.
In the past, I've explained how to use micro influencers to increase your product credibility.
But now I wanted to write an informative guide aimed to help influencers make more money.
With influencer marketing making my list of the top marketing trends to look for in 2018, there is plenty of money to be made in this space if you position yourself accordingly.
These are the top 11 ways to make a living on social media without selling any products.
1. Pick a platform
The first thing you need to do is decide which platform you're going to prioritize the most.
Ultimately, you'll want to have profiles set up on as many social networks as possible, but one needs to be your bread and butter.
Research shows that nearly all social influencers work on Instagram.
In 2018, more than 82% of social influencers said that Instagram is their number one platform. Just over 12% responded with YouTube, and less than 2% said Facebook.
That's probably because 76% of influencers say that Instagram has the best tools compared to other social platforms.
Based on these numbers, I highly recommend picking Instagram as your top priority.
You don't need to reinvent the wheel here. If other influencers are having so much success on Instagram, you should be able to follow in their footsteps.
Your other social profiles should be used to enhance the image of your personal brand and ultimately expand your reach.
But you can use Facebook and Twitter to try to get more followers on Instagram.
2. Join a network for influencers
Another way to make money on social media is by joining networks made for influencers.
These platforms are used to connect brands with people based on their followers and specialties.
Brandwatch is a great place to start.
Let's say you share lots of content related to yoga and holistic health on your social media profiles.
Your followers are obviously interested in this content as well, which is why they are following you in the first place.
If you join one of these networks, it will be easier for brands to find you if they have a product or service related to your content.
If a brand wants to work with an influencer to sell their newest yoga mat and yoga clothing, it'll get matched with you through these networks.
You can handle all communication with the brands through these platforms as well.
This can help you stay organized as opposed to using direct messaging through social media. Once you get lots of followers, it's tough to keep up with all of the messages in your inbox.
I recently wrote about my favorite platforms for effectively managing social influencers.
The post was intended for brands, but it's helpful for influencers to read through it as well. Go through the list to see which platforms fit your wants and needs the most.
3. Boost your engagement rates
The reason why brands want to work with social influencers is they historically have extremely high engagement rates.
In fact, brands named engagement as the top metric for measuring the success of influencer marketing campaigns.
If you want to make yourself more appealing, you can show brands how high your engagement rates are with your followers.
Start by learning how to write captions that drive engagement.
You want your followers to like, comment, tag, view, and share your content.
Respond to your followers.
I know, this can be tricky, especially for those of you who have tens of thousands of followers. But the key is getting into a habit of making time to respond.
At the very least, like their comment if you can't respond to it.
Remember, we're treating this as your job. If you want to make a living on social media, you need to dedicate a certain amount of time each day toward making yourself a more valuable influencer.
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
Engaging with your followers will help them feel a personal connection with you. When you recommend a brand to them, they will be more likely to act on your recommendation, making your marketing campaigns more successful.
4. Give away free stuff
Everyone wants to get something free.
To increase engagement with your followers, hosting a giveaway is one of your top options.
Once you start negotiating with brands and deciding what kind of content you should be posting, you can suggest a giveaway.
Ultimately, the decision is theirs. They will be the ones paying you for sponsored content.
But you don't have to commit to anything you're uncomfortable with. If you think the content they want you to post doesn't add value to your followers, you can respectfully turn down the offer.
After all, you don't want to lose credibility by posting everything and anything someone presents to you.
Otherwise, you could see a drop in engagement from your followers.
Take a look at this post from Instagram personality Jen Selter:
Jen has more than 12 million followers on Instagram.
How do you keep 12 million people entertained? Don't spam them.
Yes, it's clear that this post is promoting a brand. But she's doing it in a way that adds value to her followers by giving them a chance to win something free.
This post has all the elements required to run a profitable giveaway.
If you are still trying to grow your following, giving something away could be the best way to do that, even if you aren't getting paid by any brands yet.
It may be worth spending $100 out of your own pocket on a gift card, for example, to give away to your followers.
Then you can show brands how good your engagement rates were for that campaign as you move forward with your career as an influencer.
5. Use multiple hashtags
If you're trying to make money on social media, you can't be afraid to use hashtags.
But don't use only one per post.
Research shows that using multiple hashtags leads to higher engagement rates.
The magic number here is seven.
Posts with seven hashtags have the highest engagement rates.
But that doesn't mean you should go overboard. Using more than eight hashtags on one single post can seem spammy.
Use a variety of hashtags.
Some should be broad and intended to reach the highest number of people. For example, #tbt or “throwback Thursday” is a popular hashtag used on social media.
So your post would be exposed to the masses.
However, you don't want to get lost in the shuffle.
Create some unique and more specific hashtags appropriate for each campaign. If you look at the giveaway example again, you'll see that Jen used #JenSelterGIVEAWAY in per post to stand out.
6. Partner with a mobile app
All too often I see social influencers partner with the same types of brands. They're promoting clothing, fitness apparel, accessories, and food.
While there is nothing wrong with this strategy, it may not be sustainable for long-term growth.
Those brands will end up using other influencers in the future once they feel they've gotten the most out of you and if your cost per post rate gets too high.
Think outside the box and try to partner with unique brands, such as mobile applications.
Here's a great example of this strategy used by social influencer Eric Rubens:
Eric has more than 380k followers on Instagram.
If you look at his bio, he promotes a few different things related to his personal brand image. You can see his YouTube name and link to his website.
But look at what I highlighted. It's his partnership with Explorest, a new mobile application.
The idea behind this app is very unique.
It shows users exact directions to places where they can take cool photographs.
This idea also fits within Eric's personal image. If you look through his profile, he takes amazing photographs of places all over the world. So his followers are obviously interested in this type of content.
That's why he was able to successfully partner with a mobile app such as Explorest.
7. Find your niche
It's tempting for new influencers to take jobs from any brand that offers them money. But you need to understand how these posts can impact your future.
You don't want to partner with any brand that goes against your core values and beliefs.
Furthermore, you need to analyze how this content will affect your followers and how you're perceived by other brands moving forward.
Let's look at an example to show you what I'm talking about. Here is James Tollefson's Instagram biography:
James has just over 23k followers, which is a great number for micro influencers.
While his biography doesn't promote anything specifically, like in the previous example, it tells you more about his life and who he is.
He's a software engineer, living in San Diego, who is a fitness enthusiast.
Now, just saying you're a fitness enthusiast and being a fitness enthusiast are two different things. Let's take a look at his pictures to see if they fit the description:
As you can see, the content definitely fits the biography.
James shares content related to his fitness journey, and he promotes products that fit that niche.
If you join a community that connects brands and influencers, you want to make sure your content fits your speciality.
Don't say you're a foodie in your biography and then never share content related to food or work with brands in that industry. It doesn't make sense, and it won't make you any money.
8. Know your worth
According to research, 80% of influencers say sponsored content is their primary source of income.
This ranked higher than advertisements and affiliate links. Only 33% of influencers actually sign a contract with sponsors.
You've got to make sure you protect yourself and get paid for your work.
Don't just post content for brands who offer to send you free products. That's not enough if you're trying to make a living.
As you can see from the graph below, marketers are planning to increase their marketing budgets for influencers:
Only 5% of marketers say they're going to decrease their influencer marketing budgets.
The money is out there. It's just a matter of finding it. Don't settle.
How much is a post worth? The numbers will vary based on the number of followers you have and your engagement rates.
On average, 66% of businesses pay less than $250 per post.
And 27% pay between $250 and $1,000.
Just 4% pay up to $3,000 per post.
Unless you're a celebrity, you probably won't see $3,000 for one post. But with that said, it's not unreasonable to aim for that $250-1,000 window.
Let's say in a week you share two sponsored posts from two different brands. One pays you $750, and the other pays $250.
If you can continue getting rates like that steadily throughout the year, you'll make more than $50k annually.
9. Post high-quality photos
Look back at all the examples I showed you so far. What do all of them have in common?
If you want to become a social influencer, you need to make sure you're sharing only quality photos.
Buy a professional camera if you have to. Or at least get yourself a new smartphone that takes better pictures.
Invest in yourself.
As you saw in the example of partnering with a mobile app, taking high-quality photos can lead to big opportunities for you.
Just look at Albert Hongbo Yang's Instagram profile:
These images are breathtaking.
Albert has over 24k followers who are interested in his photos, which is a huge leveraging point when it comes to working with brands.
Even if you don't want to sell products on Instagram, if your photos are good enough, you can make money as a photographer.
Post pictures that draw attention and make you seem more legitimate.
Refer to my guide how to take and edit photos without hiring a professional to help you with this.
10. Fully disclose your relationships with brands
Part of being a social influencer means you need to fully disclose your relationships with brands.
First of all, you don't want to mislead any of your followers or cause them to distrust you. That's not right.
But more importantly, it's a requirement by the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC says that these disclosures must be clear and obvious. It doesn't want you to use anything ambiguous, like #thanks or #collab, which could be misinterpreted.
You also can't rely on a disclosure that will only be seen if people “click more” or view the content on a separate landing page.
To show you how to properly disclosure your relationships, look at this post from Anastasia Ashley:
Anastasia is promoting La Roche-Posay skincare products.
As you can see, she clearly tagged them in her caption and used the hashtag #sponsored to disclose her relationship with the brand.
There is definitely nothing ambiguous about that. She's complying with FTC regulations.
11. Promote your services
OK, so you want to make a living on social media without selling any products. But you can still sell your services.
Earlier I explained how you could make a living by taking high-quality photos and then leverage your photography skills to make money.
That's just one way to do it, but there are plenty of others.
For example, let's take a look at Rob Atkin's Instagram profile.
Rob is promoting his personal website in the biography.
Clearly, he's a personal trainer. But the way he positions his services is much more creative than just saying “personal trainer.”
Instead, he uses creative phrases such as “I help busy people get abs” and “fitness specialist” to promote his services.
As you can see from his posts, his content fits into that niche, which is extremely important, as I mentioned earlier.
So if you want to make money on social media without selling any products, consider using your distribution channels to promote your services instead.
There is tons of money to be made on social media right now.
People are making a living without selling a single product.
Those of you who have a large social following can use your profiles to get paid by brands.
Even if you don't have lots of followers right now, you can increase your following and engagement metrics to make yourself more appealing to prospective clients.
If you follow the tips and advice I've outlined in this guide, you can turn your social media profile into a money-making machine.
How are you leveraging your social media followers to make money as a social influencer?
I know what you are thinking, this isn't impossible.
Because the more content you have and the more links you have, the higher your rankings will be.
Although that is true, it doesn't mean that content marketing and link building are the only ways to increase your rankings.
It doesn't matter what update Google rolls out, I've found that there are a few hacks that consistently work to boost your rankings without creating more content or building more links.
So, are you ready to find out what they are?
What does Google want to rank at the top?
Before I get into the exact “hacks” and tactics that can boost your rankings, I want to first help you change the way you think about SEO.
Do you think Google really cares about on-page SEO and link building?
Sure, it matters to some extent, but that's not what Google cares about the most.
Google wants to rank websites that people love. If they ranked websites that you hated, then you would slowly stop using Google.
And if people stopped using Google, then there would be fewer people to click on their ads, which means they would make less money.
That's why Google cares about what you think and they ideally want to rank the websites that you love.
Now let's dive into some hacks that will make people love your site, which will boost your rankings.
And don't worry… I am not going to give you some fluffy tactics, I have data to back up everything.
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To survive, local businesses need to learn how to adapt to the modern way of marketing.
If you are seeing a plateau or decline in sales, it's time for you to mix up your marketing strategy.
Even if your small business is profitable right now, you need to stay ahead of your competition to remain successful in the future.
Analyze the latest marketing trends. Recognize the consumer buying behavior. Learn how to get more money from your existing customers.
Unfortunately, only 33% of small businesses reach the 10-year mark. The rest fail.
I don't want you to become the sad statistic. This was my inspiration for writing this guide.
If your company is new, you need to do everything possible to stay strong for years to come.
Local businesses that have been around for decades may be ready for a marketing facelift. Your strategies that worked 20 years ago probably won't be as successful in 2018 and beyond.
I narrowed down the top 15 marketing tactics for local business owners. Use this guide as a reference for your future marketing campaigns.
1. Set up your free listing with Google
How are new customers finding you?
If you're old-school, you may be relying on word of mouth, radio promotions, print ads, and direct mailing. But last year, 97% of consumers searched the Internet for a local business.
Furthermore, positive online reviews make 73% of consumers trust local businesses.
That's why you need to make sure your local business is listed on Google.
When people use the Internet to search for something, they start with Google.
Setting up your free Google listing makes it easy for consumers to find you when they search for terms related to your business.
Your listing will have all your information:
You'll be able to add photos to give people a better understanding of the way you operate.
Customers will also be able to add photos. They'll write reviews about your local business for other people to see, which will have a major impact on your successful.
You need to learn how to get your customers to recommend your brand to others.
Your star rating is the number one factor used by consumers to determine whether they'll buy from your local business.
In fact, 94% of customers will use businesses with a 4-star rating.
2. Start blogging
As you've just seen, consumers use the Internet to find local businesses.
That means you need to understand the basic principles of SEO if you want to increase your chances of getting ranked as a top result.
Roughly 47% of clicks go to the top three positions of Google search results.
Blogging will help you tremendously with your SEO strategy. Just look at these numbers:
More website traffic, more followers, and more leads will ultimately translate to increased profits.
Publishing new blog posts means your website will be updated more frequently with fresh content, which will increase your chances of getting a higher search ranking.
Plus, your posts are a great place to add keywords prospective customers may be searching for when browsing online.
Once you're able to establish a steady group of readers for your blog, they'll visit your website on a regular basis. The more they visit your site, the greater the chances you'll have of getting them to convert.
3. Join a local group
Local businesses need to remain active in their communities. Joining a local group is a great way to stay connected with residents and other business owners.
I suggest joining your local Chamber of Commerce. There will be a small annual fee, but it's worth it.
Attending these meetings and events will expose your brand to other businesses.
Will your competitors be part of these groups? It's possible. But that's even more of a reason for you to be there.
Let's say you own a local t-shirt company.
Another local business may be hosting an event in town and need custom shirts made. Rather than ordering the shirts online, they'll be more inclined to use your services if you both belong to the same local group.
That's the whole idea behind joining. The businesses look out for one another and always try to support local brands.
4. Give back to the community
Being part of a local community also means you need to give back.
If you're charitable, don't be shy about your involvement. Consumers want to hear about how your local business supports charitable causes.
Research shows 91% of customers say they are willing to switch brands if it means supporting one associated with a charitable cause.
And 85% of consumers will have a more positive image of your local business if you support a charity they care about.
You can even ask your community and customers which charities you should support. Studies show 39% of people want to help decide on the charities a business supports by a voting system.
It's a safe bet to associate with local charities.
This will definitely help you and your business become closer to your community.
You can approach this in many ways.
For starters, you can make an annual contribution to a charity.
You can also run special promotions with a certain percentage of sales on a particular day or week goes to a cause.
Giving back to your community doesn't always mean donating to a charity.
For example, let's say you own a local restaurant. You can provide food for a public high school graduation event. These types of parties run by the school are intended to keep students safe and sober on the night of their graduation.
5. Run contests
Contests are a great way to get people excited about your local business.
The best way to run these contests is through online platforms. Leverage your social media profiles for this strategy.
Run contests that encourage user-generated content. For example, ask your followers to post pictures related to your business. Then pick a winner based on who gets the most likes on their photo.
The whole idea behind these contests is to grow your social media following.
If people see their friends and family posting about your local business on their social profiles, it will increase your exposure and increase the chances of them following you as well.
Now you'll be able to post promotional content aimed at your new followers that converts them into customers.
6. Verify your information on Yelp
In addition to your Google listing, your local business will also have profiles set up on other platforms, whether you signed up or not.
For example, you may have a Yelp profile because customers rated and reviewed your business.
It's important that you make sure all your information such as your store hours, phone number, address, and website is accurate on these platforms.
More than 90% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a business on Yelp.
If a customer tries to contact you and the phone number is wrong, or if they show up to your store thinking you're open and you're actually closed, it's going to hurt you.
It's in your best interest to claim your business on Yelp so that you can control the information in your listing.
7. Implement a customer loyalty program
If you're looking for a fast way to increase sales, you need to learn how to create a customer loyalty program.
The best part about this marketing tactic is you can make more money without having to acquire new customers. Your focus will be on getting your existing customers to spend more money.
The goal of your loyalty program should focus on two things:
By accomplishing these two things, you'll be able to drive growth through sales.
More than 82% of consumers are more likely to shop at stores with customer loyalty programs.
Your loyalty program could be something as simple as a punch card. On the 10th visit, the customer gets a free reward or something like that.
Or you can set up a system that's a little bit more in-depth. Reward your highest spending customers by implementing a loyalty program based on different spending tiers.
The best way to track this type of program is with a customer profile or mobile app, but we'll discuss that in greater detail shortly.
8. Offer discounts
Consumers are price-sensitive.
As a local business, you need to recognize this and adjust your pricing accordingly.
Some of you may be hesitant to offer discounts because you feel like it lowers the value of your brand. Plus, your current prices may not yield profits if you offer discounts.
If that's the case, you should consider raising your base prices. Then offer discounts on those new prices.
Psychologically, this is more appealing to your customers. They want to feel they're getting a deal.
If your local business has an ecommerce store, an active discount code will increase your chances of getting more sales.
Whether you're selling online, in-store, or both, it's important your business offers coupons and discounts to your customers.
9. Increase your social media presence
We briefly discussed social media earlier when we talked about running contests to promote your local business.
You need to establish an active presence on as many social media platforms as possible.
Sure, you might be on Facebook. But that's not enough. Last year, more than half of small businesses increased their social media investment for platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
If you have a local B2B company, you also need to prioritize networks such as LinkedIn.
Just 43% of small businesses share content and engage with their followers on a daily basis. That number should be much higher.
I know what you're thinking. Running a small business is tough.
You're already putting in long days, and you just don't have enough time to focus on your social media strategy.
Don't get overwhelmed. Check out my favorite time-saving social media marketing tools to help you automate the process.
10. Partner with a local influencer
To take your social media marketing strategy to the next level, you should consider working with local influencers.
These are people in the community who have a large social following.
You can pay them to promote your local business on their distribution channels to increase your reach.
The best part about this strategy is it's relatively inexpensive. Each post will likely only cost you a couple hundred bucks at most, and you can even pay them less if you offer them some free stuff as well.
Influencers have extremely high engagement rates with their followers, and their audiences trust their recommendations.
11. Set up a customer referral program
Implementing a customer referral program is one of my favorite ways to acquire new customers without doing any work.
The idea behind this strategy is to get your current customers to do all the heavy lifting.
It's a strategy that focuses on both customer retention and customer acquisition, which are the top two most significant retail drivers.
For your referral program to be successful, you need to offer an incentive to both parties.
Reward your existing customers for each referral. This gives them the motivation to get out there and refer your local business to as many people as possible.
As for the new customer, they'll need some type of incentive as well to get them in the door.
If they're satisfied with their purchase, they'll start referring new customers as well.
This can turn into a highly profitable cycle for your business. That's because 86% of consumers say their close friends influence their decisions to make a purchase.
Simply put, referrals work.
12. Add subscribers to your email list
Don't underestimate email marketing.
While it may not be the newest or sexiest marketing tactic, it's one of the most effective strategies out there.
According to research, 81% of small business owners say email marketing drives customer acquisition. And 80% of them say they were successful in using email marketing to retain customers.
This strategy is extremely profitable. For every $1 spent on email marketing, your local business can expect to see a $44 return.
In fact, 77% of your email ROI will come from campaigns that are targeted, segmented, and triggered.
But your email strategy won't be effective if you don't have subscribers.
Focus your efforts on getting more customers to join your list, and the rest will take care of itself if you stay on top of your campaigns.
13. Launch a mobile app
It doesn't matter what type of business you have or what industry you're in, I can promise you your customers are using mobile devices.
If you have the funds available, you need to consider launching a mobile app for your local business.
That's because the majority of mobile time is spent using apps.
Studies indicate 63% of consumers prefer an app compared to a mobile site because it's more convenient.
And 57% of users like apps because they are faster than mobile sites.
You may not think an app is necessary for your local business right now, but it will be in the future. Even if you're not ready to start this process today, you need to plan to do it soon.
Once your app launches, it will help you personalize the customer experience.
You can use your app to facilitate your customer loyalty programs and customer referral programs, which I talked about earlier.
If you already have a live app or you're in the process of building one, refer to my guide on how to improve the profitability of your small business mobile app.
14. Set up Google Alerts
Google Alerts will help you monitor what's being said about your business online.
Reports will be emailed to you anytime your local business or other keywords are published on the Internet.
This will help you stay on top of the latest news, whether it's positive or negative.
For example, let's say some blogger writes an unfavorable post about your brand online.
You'll be able to see it and act accordingly right away as opposed to finding out about the post weeks later.
Or, on the flip side, if a local news publication writes a positive article about your business, you can share that content on your website and your social media channels.
15. Improve your customer service
Your local business needs to provide excellent customer service:
How does good customer service help your business?
Well, as I previously discussed, prospective customers will use a number of different tools and platforms to research your business.
They'll read reviews online, check social media, and take advice from their friends and family.
If you're able to provide high-quality customer service, it will be evident in the way you're perceived online. As a result, your current customers will keep coming back, and you'll get new customers walking through your doors as well.
As a local business, you can't afford to fall behind your competition.
Take a look at your current marketing campaigns, and ask yourself whether they're generating the results you're looking for.
It might be time to switch up your marketing strategy.
If you're looking for new ways to promote your local business, use this guide as a reference.
I'm not expecting you to implement all these strategies overnight. But go through the list, and prioritize some of these tactics based on the needs of your business.
What types of marketing strategies are you using to promote your local business?
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