For today’s small business, the ways that you can now communicate with existing or potential customers in very varied. The options used to be a listing in the telephone directory and perhaps some adverts in newspapers and the occasional shop window. Those times have long gone and now there are many ways to put your service in front of thousands of potential customers. Let’s take an example, let’s imagine you’ve opened up a new cafe in a small town, perhaps tucked away off the main street.
Survival depends upon reaching out to potential customers and letting them know you’re there. The internet gives you this chance particularly using the medium of social networking sites. Of course you’re not interested in reaching out to an international audience, your customers are not going to come from far and wide but will live in the local community. The obvious tools to start off with are Facebook and Twitter – you need to establish that initial link with people who may become customers. You could start by getting people to follow your Facebook and Twitter feed, offer special discounts perhaps initially for people to follow you. In Facebook particularly you’ll probably find local groups and advertising all read by your local audience.
Try and capture people’s contact details especially email addresses so you can mail out special offers, promotions and offers. It’s important to respect peoples details after you’ve got them, nobody will appreciate spam from a local business. The beauty of these tactics are that although they do require some level of effort, most don’t cost much at all. Establishing that link early on will pay huge dividends, there’s no reason why a small local business shouldn’t build up a substantial following with these methods.
You only have to watch people going about there normal business to see the possibilities that social media bring to a local business. In years gone past it used to be quite difficult to access people by digital methods, it only takes some effort now. Now people use their phones, laptops and tablets for virtually everything, most people are highly connected digitally so if you want to reach them then this is the way. My friends are a case in point, both spend hours every day using tablets and phones, they even took them on holiday as they figured out how to watch BBC Iplayer in France by using this method.
This is another interesting development in how the web has changed over the years, frequently web sites determine your location using your IP address. Web sites will tailor what they show based on your location, they also use this to serve advertisements – so if you connect with a British IP address you’ll get UK based content – this video explains.