It’s easy to give advice about getting people inside your business, but it’s more difficult to follow it. The topic calls for a book, however, following these suggestions is a step in the right direction.
Your business plan identifies your target market, but how well do you really know it?
If you run a small store, you probably interact with customers daily. Do you know when else they’re in the neighborhood, the restaurants they frequent, and the services, such as barbers or beauticians, they use? Learning these patterns helps you target area promotions to the locations, days, and times that attract the most prospects.
Targeted messaging is another way to get personal. Don’t just put people on a generic mailing or smartphone alert list. Ask them what information they want and supply it.
Be an Expert
Image via Flickr by ifabrica
Delivering presentations on business-related topics pays off no matter where you give them. If you deliver them inside your store, attendees make a direct link between your knowledge and your business. Outside presentations don’t generate instant store traffic, but they represent a form of community outreach that enhances your credibility. In either case, use the event to set up continual contact between attendees and your business.
Reach Out to the Community
Image via Flickr by terren in Virginia
Customers have personal and community interests. Perhaps they help with youth sports, attend school plays and concerts, or are active in local churches and charities. Raise your business’s profile by being active in these circles, sponsoring charitable events, and spending part of your advertising budget with community organizations.
For example, sponsoring a youth sports team displays your company name on players’ uniforms. Church bulletins offer an affordable approach to weekly advertising. A congratulatory ad in the high school musical’s program portrays your business as a community pillar.
Exploit Your Outside Space
Image via Flickr by ell brown
Why should prospective customers have to go inside to see your best products if you have plenty of display room outside?
This strategy isn’t for everyone. You may not have the room. Local codes might limit you. But your best products were visible from the street, it would be a powerful lure for visitors.
If that’s not possible, use creative signage. Any surface people can see, such as windows, walls, and light poles, makes fair game. Avoid overkill and honor local codes. If these codes ban painting promotional material on your walls, use a free-standing banner. A company such as Banner Stand Pros can offer stand and banner options as well as print your banner.
Stay in Touch
Once you set up a contact list, it’s important to support it. That means keeping list members informed about your business, especially the events that match their interests. It also means knowing when to stop. When it comes to communications, sometimes less is more. Being personal means not bombarding everyone with the same information. It means letting a person say no as well as yes.
There are many ways to get people inside your doors. You’ve probably tried your own. Please share how you’ve done.
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