Thanks to the internet, many businesses have global reach that earlier generations would have given limbs for. While the reach potential is huge, so is the competition for attention. But there is still a very large percentage of companies and organizations that do business locally, either exclusively or as part of their overall model.
November is Local Business Month, and this week is also Global Entrepreneurship Week. The focus of Local Business Month is to encourage support of the smaller businesses – the back-bone of our economy. You have likely seen the ads encouraging viewers to go out and spend their shopping dollars locally. It’s a fantastic idea and we fully encourage such efforts. But this author feels that there other ways that we can support our local firms that are overlooked by these campaigns. When cash flows into a small business, it often flows right out. So a one-time purchase is only temporary temporary. So today’s post will address some ways that you can support your local businesses and entrepreneurs in lasting ways after you’ve had a great experience buying from them.
Every business thrives as a result of positive brand exposure. The most effective form of that exposure is referrals. Word of mouth referrals have a massive 80% conversion rate. Unless you give away your product or service, you simply can’t buy that level of conversion. So refer several of your local business to people you know. And we’re not just talking local circles here, social media reach is an opportunity to reach hundreds, if not thousands of your closest “friends”, and just in time for holiday shopping. While many you reach are out-of-town, the business is still local for you, so support away. Remember to include a website and/or phone number of the business in your referral – anything you can do to make doing business with them easier will increase the effectiveness of your referrals. Remember to refer often.
Testimonials build all-important confidence in a purchasing decision. Without confidence in the brand or product, the customer will not buy. You can increase the chances of your local businesses success by posting positive, well written referrals on sites such as Yelp!, Angie’s List, Google Local and others. While a 4-star or 5-star rating with a simple “Great place to do business” can help, Take a little time to create a thoughtful, well-written review. Tell a little story about your experience and give some specifics about what you liked. People love a story, and when they can imagine themselves in that little story, they are more likely to embrace your suggestion and support that business. If you want to make it even more impactful, pull out your smart phone, add pictures or video to your review. Heck, send the video to the business and allow them to use it on their website and their marketing. How POWERFUL an unsolicited video testimonial is! Have a favorite referral site? Share it in the comments below.
The golden rule “So unto others as you would have them do unto you” sums things up. If you are willing to take a bit of time to fully support your local businesses, they’ll step deeper into supporting you. When you are buying goods and services, don’t forget that this is a potential opportunity for networking. Drop a business card, talk with the owner. Make sure they know who you are, and when they find your review online ( every business must monitor their reviews) they’ll remember you. And if they don’t that’s okay too. Doing things for others without expectation of personal gain can lead to some pretty amazing reciprocations.
As a business or entrepreneur yourself, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for referrals and reviews when you ask for feedback. You deserve support too.
Do you have any thoughts on ways to support your local businesses above and beyond making a purchase? Let us know by sharing below: