Most professional small businesses rely on referrals, and usually don’t need much hand-holding when it comes to marketing your business and promotion.
In fact, recent surveys show that over fifty don’t even have a website. But that may soon change as we begin to see store shelves in strip malls empty–and leases on buildings being posted.
The shift in online purchases and experiences redefines the customer experience and the relationship businesses have with their clients.
With a greater emphasis being put by the customer on reviews and online comments in Facebook groups, Yelp, etc., businesses can no longer ignore the impact social media plays in their marketing.
Podcast #25 discusses a simple strategy we developed for professional firms and small business to use in addressing these new relationships in building local business.
Influencing the customer experience begins with this communication and continues as the business grows.
It’s this three-part strategy that advances credibility and trust to the next level for our clients as we tell their story.
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Marketing Your Business; A Simple 3-Part Strategy For Professionals.
Host: John D. Verlin
Another good afternoon, John Verlin with On Demand Advertising Solutions, with another Digital Marketing Update, podcast #25—we’ve hit a milestone in podcasts. I’ve hoped you’ve enjoyed listening to them.
Today, I’m going to jump right in to this. A couple of things happened this past week. And, by the way, today is the Fourth of July, I wanted to wish everyone a happy fourth! I decided to record this today. It’s a great day to do this earlier in the week. A little rainy where I’m at, but should clear off later for fireworks.
Today I want to talk about a simple three-part strategy for professionals to basically grow your business. Get referrals, thigs like that. It’s really, something every business typically grows from—in fact a recent survey showed that half of small businesses don’t even have a website.
So how are they existing? Well, referrals most likely. And you think about, how do you get them? Maybe it’s from a chamber meeting. A networking thing you have. Maybe you have a good network. An industry trade group. Maybe it’s church-related people and just word of mouth based on clients and customers.
And that’s great. But there’s a shift going on as I’ve talked about before in online purchases and experiences. Which are redefining the client and customer relationship. And the relationship a business has with it’s clients and customers.
And we know this because Amazon recently bought Whole Foods. My girlfriend was at a strip mall recently and noticed the buildings in the area that were leased. Some of the businesses she went into. Shelves were empty. Clothes from last winter were still there. And she told me it was like a ghost town.
She was kind of spooked, like what’s going on here? We talked about this and I said, well, hopefully we’re not preceding a recession. Six months in a row now they’ve announced that auto sales have been down.
But what is going on here? Is this the beginning of moving more retail online? But regardless if that’s happening, it’s addressing these new relationships in building a local business.
Because the consumer-client shift to online is re-defining the relationship. No where, when you first get a referral, where does that relationship begin? A new customer or client—where does that new communication begin?
Well, many times you meet them as I’ve mentioned before. But to realize this, to influence that communication after you meet them is critical for the growth of your business. Whether they buy now or you have them as a client five years from now. You still want them.
So what are you going to do between now and then to build that relationship? And that’s where this whole online relationship experience is moving to. Greater emphasis is being put on this by clients and customers, primarily because of reviews and online comments. From Facebook, on Facebook groups, maybe Yelp for local businesses.
We can no longer ignore the impact that social media is having for the market. I know first-hand, I’ve seen it from a client getting negative comments on Yelp and Facebook group—because of some venting. Some unhappy customers. And they were not even aware that it was going on.
They had kind of turned their back to it and suddenly it came to their attention. And that explained why some customers were leaving their business. It was the online thing going on. Communication between people, commenting about that business.
So this is, the consumer and the client and the customer have changed this. To the online research, commenting, reviews. All those kind of things.
So, a three part strategy we put together to advance your credibility and trust to the next level with new prospects and referrals where you can tell your story.
And that is, number one—doing a client survey is our first step, or a customer survey. We might glean from clients you currently have what’s important to them. (post note: I’ve recently received emails from Amazon and Walgreens to get a $50 gift card for taking a customer survey).
Recently, I was looking at a Nissan website. A Nissan national website for one of their cars. And I noticed in researching the car, that they were highlighting a lot of the new technology. Beeping when you go in the wrong lane. Slowing you down if you go too fast up ahead in front of somebody, or behind somebody.
And i’m thinking, wow, that’s pretty cool technology. When I read the reviews about what people thought about the car, a number of them may have mentioned the high tech stuff. But a number of them mentioned some things that weren’t even addressed on the website of the car company.
And that was, how comfortable the seats were and how smooth the ride was. So this kind of highlighted to me a lot of times the differences we have with our clients and customers. We think we know what they want, in many cases it’s the opposite. Or not even addressed.
I have witnessed that first-hand too with a client. Where the suvey we did that we put together for them for their customers, the answers came back just the opposite of what they thought they would be.
Now how does that happen? Well it’s marketing research. If you don’t believe me, look at what happened with Coke. When they introduced a new formula years ago, they thought, who knows how much they spent on research, they thought they were right and had a backlash.
People wanted the old flavor back. So, they switched. And that must have cost them a pretty penny. So, this is the first step, trying to get to know what your clients and customers want. It’s important so you can focus in on their needs.
Leading from that, the second part, is to create content addressing those needs. We do interview-style podcasts like this for a number of reasons, because of the number of platforms they can be placed on, because you can “feel” how people are to get to know them and feel like you know them because of those feelings and emotions involved in interview style podcasts.
You can also feature your clients and customers on them. And talk to them and they can promote that content as well. This is answering the content-related questions you have from your customers about your business or industry. And then as I mentioned, feature clients or customers on these as well.
This is the creating content part after we learn about what they want in answering their questions about your business.
And then, finally—promoting that content through social media. It can be done through a variety of means through a variety of platforms. Which is what we recommend and do.
To build that online experience and engagement with new prospects and new referrals. As a matter of fact, with Facebook Zuckerberg has already said that smartphones and TV screens will be gone.
He’s already projecting virtual reality and artificial intelligence are going to take over. Robotics and things like that.
So this three part strategy can work beautifully for professionals as well as small business. When I was in radio, we had a number of professional firms, from a couple of contractors who did great to financial service firms, we had a couple of medical related programs.
All of these work beautifully because they lend themselves to interviews. And interview-style podcasting.
Recently, a friend of mine who is the business manager for a couple of radio stations in Knoxville, TN told me that what they’re noticing is, when we talk about this online experience.
When we talk about podcasts for shows, their on air listeners start listening to podcasts—and their on-air listenership goes down. But their podcast audience increases.
When we talked about some of this strategy—he said you’re right on target, because he said we’re already seeing it on podcasts. The influence these new podcasts are having.
So doesn’t make sense, that if businesses ask this and recreate those answers in podcasts, doesn’t that make sense that you might engage referrals and prospects in an effective way, because that is shifting again to more online?
Would love to hear from you. Next week I’m going to be doing some prep work about some of these small businesses I’m reading about and what they’re doing, good or bad, to share with you about how to overcome changes in the economy, etc.
Have a great week!
All podcasts are recorded by Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Copyright, John D. Verlin 2017