Having a social media presence not only gives you an opportunity to engage one-on-one with your customers and prospects, it also helps optimize your business with search engines. In other words, it makes it easier for people to find you. It’s not enough just to start a fan page though. You really need to be active on it. One of the first things you should do is fill out your profile and add a logo and some pictures of your shop under “Page Info”. Be as thorough as possible to include your contact information, location and the services you perform. Be sure to talk about what sets you apart from your competitors. It’s also important to list your hours of operation.
Click here for 9 Ideas for Marketing Your Shop on Social Media.
Make Sure Your Online Directories are up to Date
Another thing you can do that doesn’t cost anything is “Google” yourself. Claim your business and make sure all of your information is complete and current for all your locations. Here is a list of 50 Online Business Directories you can add a listing to. If there is a section for reviews make it a point to read them on a regular basis.
Ask Your Customers to Give You a Positive Review Online
Consumers love reviews. If you have a satisfied customer in your shop, ask them to go onto Facebook or Google and leave a review for others to see. Conversely, you can turn negative feedback positive. The best way to get ideas on how to improve your customer experiences is, in fact, from your customers. If you do ever receive a negative review or comment, be sure to respond and try to resolve the situation. People will appreciate your responsiveness.
One of the most important things you can do is make sure your store is inviting – inside and out. Nobody wants to walk into a crammed, disorganized store. Make sure it is clean, well-lit and dust-free. Keep items together that belong together. Once people come inside, greet them and treat them like you would want to be treated. Ask them how you can help and show them around, if they’re looking for something in particular. If they’re just browsing, let them browse. Feel them out and go with your gut.
Also, if you sense someone needs a break, be compassionate. Yes, you’re in business to make money but if you sense someone may be desperate, you may want to consider cutting them a deal. They’ll remember it and they’ll become a repeat customer.
Host Events in Your Store
Take advantage of retail holidays and offer sales, raffles, etc. Okay, this isn’t free, but you can offer coffee or sodas during the event to give your customers a memorable experience. We have clients who will have tent sales, and give away hotdogs, which is always a crowd pleaser. Remember, it’s okay to get a little cheesy too. Have a jewelry sale for Valentine’s Day. Call it a “Sweet Sale”, or refer to your “Hot Deals”! Have some fun with it.
Click here to download a calendar with all the retail holidays on one page.
The best kind of free advertising there is. Have you ever heard the phrase, “A happy customer will tell a friend about your business and an unhappy customer will tell 10 friends about your business.”?
Print off flyers to use as signage. You can do this with any equipment you already have in your store. Add images that are related to your message, to catch the customers’ eye. It’s always good practice to make any numbers stand out on your flyer. If you’re offering a percentage or dollar amount off of an item or category, make the number larger, and even a different color to attract attention.
Start a blog
A blog not only helps your company get its name out through followers, but is a way to connect with your consumers more directly. But remember that one of the major keys of blogging is to keep your stream updated as frequently as you can. A dormant, abandoned blog is worth nothing
Join a relevant online community and contribute
Every niche has communities online that you can get involved in. But just signing up for a forum and posting every once in a while about your business isn’t beneficial for anyone, and will likely just annoy people. Actively contribute and build a rapport with the community, while keeping your business out of it. Passively promote your business by putting a link in your signature or mentioning it only when the context is appropriate