These days, you never know how a new customer will hear about your business.
It can be at a crowded industry event with 2,000 people, or it can be in a small café during a conversation between friends. It can also happen online — whether that’s through a post on Facebook, a question on Twitter, or a photo shared on Instagram.
Oftentimes, people won’t be searching for your business when they find you. Typically, they will be looking for a specific solution.
Think about how you actually search for products and services online. You might type something into your browser like this:
- Mexican restaurants in Berkeley. CA
- Dog walker in Chicago, IL
- Interior designer in Washington, DC
- Landscaper in Los Angeles, CA
- Photographer in Atlanta, GA
Each time a search like this is performed, the prospective client is likely to discover a new business that they would have never known about without the convenience of the Internet.
How you show up in the search engines is even more important if you have a “local” based business such as a restaurant, a boutique or any other kind of “brick and mortar” business.
One recent survey of smartphone users found that 75 percent have used a mobile device to get real-time location-based information.
This presents an exciting opportunity for you to attract new customers and do more business. But, it also means you need to be prepared so that you can keep them coming back!
Here are five things you can do to make sure you’re ready:
1. Make it easy for people to find your business.
Three areas you’ll want to focus on are: your website, social media, and listings.
If you’re unfamiliar with how any of these tools help you get discovered, these resources will provide the information you need:
- 5 Easy Ways to Turn Your Website Into An ATM
- Step-by-Step Social Media for Smart Entrepreneurs
- Making an Inventory of All the Places Customers Find You Online
2. Make sure the information they find is up-to-date.
When people do find your business online, you need to make sure the information they discover is accurate and up-to-date.
Your phone number and email address need to be accurate and current. Have your contact information available on every page of your site. Be sure to list your mailing address (or your physical address if you’re a brick and mortar business). Have your current service menu, price list and testimonials.
Make sure your site is always reflecting the latest and greatest in your business!
3. Provide a WOW experience that gets people talking.
When prospective clients arrive at your website or come through your door, you need to make sure you’re providing a memorable experience.
At every interaction your prospect should feel heard, understood and appreciated. Follow-up in a timely manner. Answer their questions. Be generous in sharing your expertise. Give them options for products and services that speak to their problems and are easy to say yes to.
Providing a WOW experience will turn first time customers into repeat customers and loyal advocates for your business.
4. Make it easy for your prospects to stay connected.
This could be as simple as sharing the links to your social media profiles on your website, or providing a sign-up form on your counter for people to join your email list.
Give them an incentive to share their contact information – offer a free gift, a discount, a sample – anything that is relevant and valuable to them.
Capturing their contact information and staying in touch will allow you to develop a trusted relationship, that will likely lead to a sale and ongoing business!
5. Follow up promptly!
Once people have connected with you, it’s your responsibility to keep the conversation going.
Remember, it’s not their job to remember that you are in business to serve their needs.
Make sure you’re actually participating on social media, not just posting when you have something to promote. If you’re telling customers they’ll be receiving an email newsletter once a month, make sure you’re following through. Look for ways to bring them back into your store with a special offer or in-person event.
You need to build credibility and your audience needs to know you are serious and committed to your business.
Don’t wait to get started.
People are discovering your business every day.
If you want to turn those potential customers into repeat visitors and loyal advocates for your business, you need to be prepared!