Technology is merging with user habits, allowing us to instantly connect with local businesses and even see what others have to say about their specific purchasing experience, patronizing every place from the local pub to the neighborhood apothecary.
In our ongoing efforts to promote effective social, local, and mobile San Diego small business digital marketing, we’re going highlight a couple specific examples of mainstream television advertising that can have a significant impact on local business, no matter the industry, product, or service. (more…)
Small businesses across the world all share one common need to sustain growth; new customers.
Communicating with these potential and existing customers within their local community seems to still be in the dark ages.
At least the analog ages.
Or, more often than not most small businesses rely on existing customer word of mouth to generate new customer referrals.
Never mind wasting unbelievable amounts of money on local newspaper, Pennysaver ads, or 15 different yellow pages books that find their way immediately to the recycle bin. (more…)
LinkedIn’s IPO went through the roof, Google rolled out their +1 social sharing functionality, Groupon was next up on the over-hyped stock watch, and the market as a whole is now exhibiting more volatility than a Philadelphia sporting event.
And that’s just in the past couple of months or so.
“Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel…”
Is Bud Fox still #winning?
Charlie Sheen imdb references aside, even the most clueless Carlsbad businesses out there can glean some beneficial info from all of this social search, daily deals, and professional networking media buzz.
How does your business possibly keep up with all of this and try to use this information to your advantage?
By paying attention and by having your ear tuned-in to your customers.
Don’t Just Hear, Listen
If you don’t take an active role in the communication habits of your local customers, you can’t possibly know how to best reach them with important product info and beneficial local savings opportunities.
You need to find out their likes, dislikes, favorite ways to communicate, who they most often communicate with, where they go to do their communicating, and how your Carlsbad small business can get in on the conversation.
To make it really easy, you can just ask each customer how they’d feel about receiving discounts or product updates through their Facebook page. You can also ask your customers how your Twitter account can provide more helpful content and less inane BS.
And you can also direct local customers to your very own online review portal where they can easily and instantly beam positive digital word of mouth across your business’s social stratosphere.
You can even have local customers check-in on your Facebook Places or Foursquare profile to capture some additional discount or savings opportunities.
Talk straight to them, they’ll know if you’re not.
The important point to remember here is that all of this communication is going on around your Carlsbad business, and it’s high time you throw a hat in the ring.
Sure there are pitfalls, like having someone leave a negative review or a competitor glomming onto your identity and squatting in your digital environment. But those things WILL happen, and they will happen regardless of your digital marketing IQ.
Customer word of mouth is probably your primary new customer recruitment source. That word of mouth has been increasingly going social, local, digital, mobile, and viral.
Digital word of mouth is the new Anacott Steel…and your customers love it!
Will your Carlsbad small business learn to love it, elicit it, capture it, and syndicate it to be socially searched and shared in your local online environment?
Snide remarks and scathing comments are always welcome, why is your business still straddling the fence with all this social media, local search, and digital marketing mumbo jumbo?
To your immediate left you’ll find the status quo – is that good enough?
To the right is increased online practice visibility, amplified (digital) word of mouth, and improved search engine rankings for your website.
…And a thousand other tangible benefits we’ve repeated – and will continue to do so – ad nauseam.
In which direction is your Carlsbad small business planting its digital footprint?
Disclaimer: This post was originally published on July 25, we are re-posting now due to recent website issues.
In the race to acquire your small business advertising and digital marketing dollars, the winner doesn’t seem so clear-cut. At least when we take some geographical or demographic information into consideration.
Sure, the local phone book publisher has most likely seen a cataclysmic drop in ad revenue over the past few years. And certainly this must be directly correlated to the rise in online searches, increase in mobile internet accessibility, availability of improving technology, and the overall topsy-turvy world of defining consumer habits.
According to research from the Local Search Association (formerly the Yellow Pages Association) conducted by Burke, search has taken over as the top way to find local businesses for most demographics1.
Interesting that the Local Search Association was formerly the Yellow Pages Association, but maybe that’s another blog post. As a Carlsbad small business owner the challenge becomes how to best leverage each (and every) communication medium available to increase local sales and improve customer retention.
And of course how to weed through all of this digital chatter to identify those opportunities.
According to this recent article on the Google+ social networking move, the average U.S. visitor spent 375 minutes per month on Facebook in May, compared with 231 minutes for Google.
How many minutes are there in a month?
We can bet our mobile carriers can tell us. But are we getting our moneys worth for those minutes?
Moreover, how many minutes do we spend actually thumbing through the phone book?
We’ll reserve judgment on the blog posts…and promise to only take our finger-pointing to a whole new level via Twitter!
Although this is quite the contentious subject amongst some marketers, small business owners need not let emotion dictate the best communication tools for use in driving more local sales.
Hashtag AT&T are you listening?
What do ‘the phone book’ and MySpace have in common?
Hint: MySpace reportedly sold today for a whopping $35 million…it was acquired 6 years ago for $580 million…
The economy is in the tank, unemployment is stagnant at critical levels, and profits for the average Carlsbad small business are enveloped in a seemingly accelerated downward spiral.
If this is something your local business has experienced over the past couple few years, we don’t have any answers for you.
But we do have some questions.
How locally visible is your small business on the Internet?
This one goes without saying, but we’ll go ahead and repeat the social local mobile digital marketing connectivity come small business communications mantra as long as there are clueless businesses still out there in Carlsbad.
We’re reaching here, but we suppose the primary responsibility of any local business is to provide a product or service to the community.
But how does your local community learn about your location, your services, products, or what your loyal customers say?
In a word (or two), the Internet.
What motivates your customers?
Some people are motivated by cost, others by convenience, and others by exclusivity and elegance.
Do you know what motivates your customers?
If you don’t know the answers, then you haven’t been doing a very good job of communicating with the very people responsible for the fiscal health of your small business.
Motivation can come in different forms; from a no sales-tax day, to sponsoring a local little league team, to a simple financial incentive, the smart Carlsbad small businesses are already diversifying. The businesses we’re talking about are taking advantage of new opportunities rather than remaining complacent in a losing situation.
Whether these new opportunities for local small business communications involve super heroes, super submarine sandwiches, or super stoked happy hours; is up to you to decide. Local economic factors, geographic interests, and community involvement will dictate your success.
One thing will dictate your failure…not properly motivating your customers.
How do your prices & products compare to your competitors?
We know, that’s classified.
Too bad the general public has taken to figuring it out themselves, without the help of wikileaks.
Despite your best efforts to keep your prices secret (by not having your products available online), we can still determine the cost – and even the value – by seeing what people say about their experience with your products, prices, and personnel.
We can see all of this digital word of mouth with s few simple keystrokes of your products, services, or actual business name.
With service businesses like home remodeling for instance, what’s more important than your rate or estimates is how well you communicate the effort, expertise, and effects of the very services you provide.
If people are shopping strictly on price, you’re done anyway – there’s always someone out there that will do the work for less money. But is it really the same work?
In the case of a new bathroom for instance, it is up to you to communicate your craftsman expertise and quality of materials to your customers. Maybe you offer one day dental crowns or single visit appointments. Or on the other hand, maybe your dental crowns are finely precision-tuned specific smile solutions custom fit to each different dental patient.
Whatever it is, the responsibility is yours.
You need to communicate with the local community, let us know why your Carlsbad small business should be the only choice for our hard-earned dollars.
Social media for your Carlsbad business is an easy and cost-effective way to maintain communication with your customers when they are not in your store or business.
Local search is an essential ingredient to any business concerned with how people find them online.
And mobile compatibility should be on your radar if it’s not already generating return on investment and adding more local dollars to your small business’ bottom line.
For a lot of us, our business existed – and prospered in some cases – without (or before) all of this Internet mumbo jumbo.
Isn’t all of this digital marketing stuff for kids and geeky shut-ins who’d rather slam away on a keyboard rather than gulp some fresh air?
It is essential for us to realize this most fundamental and foundational element of local Carlsbad small business digital marketing success.
Like Lotto, we need to be in it to win it.
As local business owners we hear about all the advantages social media, or listen to a cross-section of customers, colleagues, family members, and caffeine addicted bloggers…but we don’t take action.
And forget about local search and mobile integration, those are otherworldly terms that spark feelings of dread from some local small business owners.
Dread because we don’t know what this stuff means, and think we’re getting shined on for useless services directed at making the ad agency or marketing company money, not the local mom & pop.
Online is where it’s at folks, and it’s not for just the kids and cool people trend setters any longer. Its soccer Moms, doting Dads, yuppies, students, thirtysomethings, and even formerly technically averse grandparents have jumped on board the SoLoMo train.
When we want a friend or family member’s opinion about a product or service, we ask – social media.
When we are looking for products or services, we search online – local search.
How we access this digital environment to search or speak, is shifting – mobile integration.
Communication used to be one to one. Now it’s many to many…and digital marketing is our force multiplier.
Technology + Communication = digital word of mouth for the local Carlsbad small business.
And word of mouth is as grass-roots and cost-effective as we can get.
Social media, local search, digital whatever, and mobile this or that, are all TOOLS allowing our local Carlsbad small businesses to effectively communicate using this digital medium we all flock to before the sleep is even out of our eyes.
In the last 30 days, how many people searched online for products or services you currently provide?
To further narrow it down, wouldn’t it be great if you could determine how many people searched online for similar terms right in our immediate Carlsbad area?
You can find the answer to dynamic keyword research here – at least according to Google.
Go nuts, play around…and envision your local Carlsbad digital marketing potential!