As a small business you can provide a more, local, bespoke and personal solution for your customers. You will have more personal contact with your customers than a big business and have the opportunity to build a loyal customer base that will talk positively about you and do your marketing. I am not saying it is easy, we have to work hard as small business owners but it does have it advantages. Here are some tips to ensure you make the most of being small & local.
1. First things first – Know your customers
Answer these three questions:
- Who are my customers? (be specific)
- Why do they need me and what are their fears/frustration and needs/aspirations?
- Where will I find them? – what do they do, where do they go to, what do they read?
The purpose of spending time answering these questions is that once you are in your customer’s shoes, it will be much easier to see:
- What it is you can offer that will be of real value to them.
- How you are different and why you are a great choice.
- What key messages to use in your marketing.
- How you will reach these people with your marketing.
2. Keep it simple and think about the impression you are giving
Once you have stepped into your customers shoes and thought about what they value, take another look at what the customer will see of your business. What first impression are they going to get? Does that fit with what you want to portray? What simple things could you do to make sure their first impression is a great one and gives you the best chance of winning their business?
3. Quality customer service and consistency is crucial
Good first impressions aren’t the only thing…remember the old saying, someone who has a bad experience will tell 10 people those having a good experience will tell one! Delivering what you say you will deliver and great customer service are vital for small business success. To get work through referrals is the best and cheapest form of marketing so ask yourself these three things:
- What have I promised my customers in my marketing or conversations?
- How consistent am I being with my customers – am I meeting my promises?
- How am I making my customers feel important and valued?
It may be useful to look at any customer comments you have had before – what was it they really valued? Also, how are your customers or the market changing and what do you need to do to keep up with that?
Keep the customer at the heart of what you do now and in the future and you can’t go far wrong. Good Luck.