mark-simmons-small-business-marketingI live in Durham, North Carolina. It’s a fantastic city and has been ranked #10 by Forbes magazine in their Best Places for Business and Careers list. I love Durham because of its diversity, its people and its charm. As committed residents of Durham, my family and I make it a point to support local businesses whenever possible. As a marketer, I’m also aware of how businesses owners are using digital marketing to increases customers, grow loyalty and build revenue.

What I found was astonishing….

As a local business, you’ve got even more incentive to leverage technology and digital marketing to foster the growth of your business in an economical fashion. What I see time and time again is that businesses are either not taking advantage of opportunities like social media or they are not using them to their full potential. Don’t get me wrong, there are some businesses that do it well, but many more that don’t do enough or anything at all!

Let me give you an example.

There’s a diner not far from my home. Anyone who knows me can figure out exactly which one I’m referring to because I went there a lot and checked in on FourSquare almost every time. I really wanted to become mayor…but that’s not the point. What I noticed over time was that they were only on Facebook. No Twitter. No FourSquare. No email! I actually asked the owner about Twitter and her response was “What’s Twitter?”

shocked_face

Needless to say, I was shocked. I made a brief effort to explain, but once I realized how disinterested she was, I backed off. The other HUGE area I noticed missing was an email newsletter. This medium provides a significant opportunity to keep in touch with customers, creating loyalty and additional revenue opportunity. Now, the food was great and the service friendly and attentive, but don’t be fooled into thinking that’s enough to be successful.

How Email drives more revenue

mark-f-simmons-internet-marketing-email-iconEmail is a powerful communication tool, when used properly. As your subscriber list grows, you have the ability to send your newsletter to all or segments of your list. In this case, they could share stories, recipes, cooking tips and of course, promotional messages. Let people know about new menu items, special events, offer discount coupons and referral bonuses. Really the opportunity is only limited by your own creativity. But don’t get overzealous and send too many messages in short time frame. If you have questions about frequency, leave a comment and we can discuss. In the end, these communications will create more loyalty as subscribers find this information useful or just plain interesting. MOST IMPORTANTLY, this will lead to more revenue because subscribers will come back more often than they would if they had to think about it on their own.

Why Staying Top Of Mind Is So Powerful

Let’s delve into a little psychology. I’m not a professional psychologist, but I know a thing or two about marketing psychology. Ask yourself the following question:

Why are radio ads repeated so often?

Seems like a simple question, but it’s a major principle in brand marketing. Radio ads are repeated so that consumers like us will hear one at the right time and be prompted to buy. Think about how you’ve been in your car listening to the radio and you hear a spot for your favorite restaurant. If the mood strikes you, you’ll go to the restaurant that very day. If the ad didn’t play, it’s likely you wouldn’t. The concept is the same. If you periodically send emails, or Tweet or update your Facebook, you give yourself the ability to placed top of mind with your customer or potential customer.

Back to our local business….

….and back to Twitter. IF this business had been using Twitter, they would have been able to target follow people people interested in what they are selling. Due to the ability to laser focus your efforts – by interest and even geography – Twitter gives you an incredibly powerful tool to reach new customers while staying top of mind with current ones. In fact, I’m working on a comprehensive guide to explain how all this works and that strategies I’ve used to grow my own Twitter family to more than 10,000 targeted followers. Make sure to sign up for my newsletter to get notified when it’s available for sale. Don’t worry, I’m including some valuable bonuses with the guide as well like additional email support.

Take a few minutes to view my recent video on Twitter:

 

How to fix the problem

The solution is rather simple on the surface. Step one: setup your email and social media profiles. I highly recommend using Mail Chimp because of it’s simplicity and stellar reputation. You can get started sending emails with them in 15 minutes or so and they have free and paid accounts. I personally use Mail Chimp for my business. I have a list of other resources I use and recommend on my site. Social media is another discussion because needs differ by industry and business type.

Once your accounts are setup, start using them to communicate. Most important, Spread The Word. I see this critical failure all the time. You have a number of social media accounts but don’t tell anyone about them. Sure, people will stumble upon you but that’s not nearly as effective as actually telling them

Woman Shouting with Bullhorn

Okay, I’m not saying to shout it from the rooftops, but you do have to say something. There are many different strategies you can use and I share a number of them with my valued subscribers. Join now to get exclusive access! What you’ll get is how to initially grow your list and social media fans/followers, as well as strategies for getting them to share your messages and finally, how to leverage this to increase sales.

Time to wrap things up! If you are a local business that’s not using these mediums to grow a loyal customer base, communicate more efficiently and increase your profits…. The good news is you can. It’s completely doable and I’m here to help show you how. Take a look at some of the other areas of my site for more info about me and how I work with my clients and remember to sign up for my newsletter to get these tactics and strategies delivered to your inbox.

I hope you found this useful and I encourage you to leave comments below to continue this discussion.

Yours in succes!

Mark F Simmons