In today's connected world, social media and online content plays a powerful role in how your business is perceived. With the right strategies, you can transform your current customers, followers, and fans into a powerful, low-cost army of online marketers who are ready and willing to promote your business to friends, family members, and beyond.
Start By Delivering Exceptional Customer Service
If you've ever received less-than-impressive service from a company, chances are good you may not have bothered to write a negative review about your experience - that is, unless you were directly asked to share your experiences.
Before you begin soliciting positive reviews from your customers, make sure that they're happy with you and your products or services. According to Simon Casuto, co-founder and president of eLearning Mind, "If you want an NPS (Net Promoter Score - a measure of customer loyalty) that tells you your customers feel great about the experience they're having with your business, you have to go beyond simply meeting their needs....it's about constantly getting to know and understand your customer, and nurture that relationship continuously."
Build Your Social Media Base
Promoters are the movers and shakers of the social media world - that's why you need to engage with them frequently by providing meaningful content that they'll be inclined to like and share with their own followers. Be sure to stay active on your social media accounts, respond quickly to any questions or concerns, and use a social media automation system that lets you actively monitor for any mentions.
Thank Your Followers
Providing special shout-outs, promotions, and subscriber-only deals is a great way to boost your brand and encourage promoters to share your content. Be sure to thank your followers frequently, and avoid the urge to constantly ask for positive reviews, otherwise, your audience will quickly convert from fans to cynics.
You might be surprised at the business resources that can be found at our local library. Small business owners and entrepreneurs have access to an often untapped resource that can provide a wealth of information. You will probably want to find that library card or apply for a new one when you finish.
While you may not have even thought of the library since finishing high school or college, they have been a thriving resource over the past decade, providing resources to help small businesses get started and expand.
Entrepreneurs and startup companies are a major factor in the U.S. economy, providing the largest segment of new jobs in the U.S.. These businesses need information compilations including demographics and business planning even though they don't have the resources that are available to larger companies. This is where the library provides help.
Working from home offers many advantages, but one of the disadvantages includes a lack of space for meetings. The library conference room resolves that problem. Computers, printers, fax machines, and scanners are available for use, as well as projection screens. You can reserve the room to host a private meeting.
You might find workshops and classes designed to help learn how to best utilize technology, learn graphic skills, or create a business plan.
A variety of software and online resources are available at the library that provide businesses with the tools they need to research and obtain data such as demographics, industry analyses, directories, and technical manuals. These free resources help struggling companies find the information they need to succeed.
The librarian is an often overlooked wealth of knowledge. They can often help you identify what you need, point you in the right direction, and even provide information on outside services that may help including SCORE, which was designed to help new businesses.
You can easily access templates of successful business plans that can be copied or modified to meet your needs and goals. Most SBA programs and commercial lenders require a solid business plan when applying for funding.
Business, consumer and government databases, government databases, statistics, and various trade magazines, are available through various programs at the library.
Most libraries are connected online not only to national databases, but often to other libraries, expanding their power and your ability to find the information you need, including references for networking with others in your field.
If you have ever had a computer crash, or a touchy printer give up entirely, you will be pleasantly surprised by the ease with which you can access the internet and print off the papers you need at little cost.
The Chamber encourages everyone in the community to utilize the library's resources. We recommend going in and introducing yourself, getting a card, and discussing your needs with the librarian who can point you in the right direction and help you get started.
They say that you only get one chance to make a first impression, and nowhere is that more important than in the retail industry. You'll need to draw customers into your store from the moment they step foot inside, and this requires care and attention to detail when planning the entrance to your shop. Here's what you'll need to consider.
Of course, you want to keep your entire store clean, but you should pay particular attention to the entrance. If prospective customers see dust and dirt when they first walk into your store, they'll likely turn around and walk back out again. From their perspective, how can they expect you to offer quality wares when you can't even care for your store? Dust the shelves and sweep or vacuum the floors daily, and clean any permanent fixtures, like lighting and ongoing displays, at least weekly. Depending on your location and the local weather conditions, you may need to clean more often.
Your store's front windows are your most powerful tools for drawing in prospective customers. Aim to display your best offerings right at the front so that customers will want to come in to see more. When placing those products inside your store, though, you'll want to place them near the back so that customers have to walk by all your other wares to find what they are looking for. This encourages impulse purchases, making it more likely that customers will buy more than just the single item they originally sought.
You'll need to carefully consider the placement of the rest of your products as well. The front of your store should show off some of your most desirable items, but you don't want the best things to be up front. Aim for a mix of popular items and those that don't sell as frequently. By dispersing your best products throughout the store, you can guide customers through the aisles so that they'll see as much as possible.
Be Prepared to Make Changes
Over time, you'll likely discover that some products do better in particular areas of your store. Try to identify any patterns that emerge so that you can make adjustments to your displays as needed. Take note of customer feedback in this area as well. After all, it is your customers who matter most when it comes to making decisions about purchasing your products. Listen to what they are telling you.
Of course, none of this matters if you don't offer the products your customers are looking to buy, so take care in choosing the products you offer. Look to strike a balance between quality and affordability. If you notice that the quality of the products from a particular supplier seems to be diminishing over time, it may be time to find a new supplier. Design your store to draw in customers in the first place, and keep up the quality of your products to keep those customers coming back again and again.
The Durango Chamber of Commerce
The Durango Chamber of Commerce is a membership-based organization that promotes and supports the local business community through communication, advocacy, education, leadership and financial viability.