I am a small business owner and I am not afraid of failing, well at least that is what I tell myself when I am about to embark on a new journey. As a small business owner we can often become complacent or relaxed in our marketing and customer acquisition strategy particularly if you have experienced early success. As a business owner, just like scientist you need to always be experimenting so that you can find the perfect combination of product, customer service, and marketing that your customers will not only enjoy but also lead to a conversion or purchase. There are several ways you can conduct business experiments without a huge investment,here are a few:
The technology in our smartphones allows us to not only take amazing quality video, but also the ability to edit and post to our social networks all from the palm of our hands. You tube is the second best search engine to Google so you want to make sure you have some sort of presence in the You Tube or video space. A local restaurant in Los Angeles Simply Wholesome does an amazing job with Video.
Buy Ad Words
When someone does a search for a service and/or product Google and other search engines look to match the keywords in their search with relevant websites that can provide that information. You as a business owner want your website to come up when keywords that describe your business and/or service. The way you can do that is buy purchasing/bidding on Keywords in Google Adwords and that can be done based on clicks to your site, time of day, and now location. In addition Google Ad words also allows you to schedule You Tube ads as well, you will need to have an ad words account.
Buy Social Media Ads
Most of your customer are on social media for hours at a time, some prefer Facebook and some prefer Instagram or Pinterest, the beauty in that is that all of those platforms offer targeted advertising opportunities to reach those customers. These platforms allow you to target audience based on interest, location and demographic information based on whatever budget you set for the day, for example I have run $10 experiments for my videos just to practice, we spend more on that with a morning Starbucks trip. If you have a graphic or video you can upload it and go through the approval process and each platform has different standards, for example here is Facebook's.
Ask for the Review
In my personal business we have found success in first thanking our customers with a hand written thank you notes, and in that note we ask the customer to leave us a review if their experience was a positive one, if not please give us a cal immediately. This is one thing that I rarely see small business owners do, "Ask for the Review" try it out. Find a creative "soft" approach to asking for the review, I would suggest not offering an incentive as it will not be a "genuine" or "authentic". They can leave a review on Yelp, Google, Facebook, Trip Advisor and so much more, so find out which is the most relevant to your customers and Ask for the review.
You want to always be experimenting with something in your business and life, because that is the only way will have a breakthrough.
Several small business owners do millions and millions of transactions with customers everyday with missed opportunities to get important feedback or more importantly they miss the opportunity for customers to rave about their business and/or service. In our business we ask thank customers with a hand written "Thank you" note in the bag, and at the end of thanking them we ask them if they would kindly leave us a review on Yelp about their experience pleasant or not. What we found is about 25% of the customers would leave a review and 90% of those were positive.
Well what about a negative review? Those can be great for authenticity purposes and give validity to the other reviews raving about your product and/or service. When you have all glowing reviews some customers begin to believe the reviews where somehow orchestrated or been incentivized. In terms of incentivizing your customers to leave a review, I would highly encourage you not to give something in return for the review as it is not authentic.
Should I respond if a customer is complaining? Sure. However I would advise that you try to take the conversation offline if you find yourself going back and forth and are not in agreement to what had taken place. If you are thank you customer in public please be sincere.
If you have not claimed your business, you should start here
Duane Cofield over 15 years selling Cocaine from the age of 11 in the gritty streets of South East San Diego. I know the "game" in and out and very few can show me something new..I am now a business owner and professor of business a a few Southern California Universities. I am available for consulting, speaking, coaching. Please subscribe to the Official Drug Dealers to Businessmen You Tube Channel Here