Local Business Marketing: Let Your Loyal Customers Help

by Joanne Steele on August 9, 2011


Sheila Scarborough and Becky McCray call them your online champions. Business guru Doug Carter, calls them extraordinary clients. I call them your Perfect Customer.

They’re the people who not only love you and what you do. They tell all their friends and associates about you! And they write about you on their Facebook pages, their Foursquare tips and their own personal blogs!

Dunsmuir Storefront Galleries Facebook pageLook what showed up on a Facebook page I recently took over updating for my little town, Dunsmuir Storefront Galleries!

Mary Lehmberg Lascelles writes about her travels and places she loves on  her blog called Spread The Word. Dunsmuir was lucky enough to capture her attention.

Mary has given Dunsmuir a marketing boost that money can’t buy. Lots of expert research shows that her followers will pay much more attention to her than to anything the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce could do.

How to use YOUR loyal customers for local business marketing

Soon, you’ll be able to get step-by-step help to do this. Our membership site, Take Control of Your Internet Marketing will go live in about a month, and at our $4.99 a month introductory price, you’ll even be able to afford it!

Until then, here’s what you need to do to take advantage of all those kind words about your local business or small town.

1. Find out what is being said about you, your local business, your competitors and your small town.

Set up a Google Alerts for your local business and your community.  Here is a past post to help you:  Set Up Google Alerts to Track Online Comments About Your Business.

Another way to keep track of what’s being said in social media sites is SocialMention.com, a free tool similar to Google Alerts that combs social sites.

This is important because Google Alerts only monitors content indexed by Google. At this time, that doesn’t include Facebook.

You can also go to http://www.facebook.com/search, click on “Mentions by everybody” in the left sidebar, enter the keyword phrase or your business name in the search field and see what’s being said about you on Facebook.

Backtype another cool little tool that has just been acquired by Twitter.

2. Use what you find to extend the benefit of all the love and loyalty.

When I saw Mary’s blog post about Dunsmuir, I immediately posted a link at the Dunsmuir Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

We’ll pick out some sentences from Mary’s blog to use as testimonials on the website (with a link to the full post and credit, of course).

The testimonials you uncover can be used in all your marketing materials.

And, of course, I publicly thanked Mary profusely for her wonderful post.

3. What happens when listening uncovers negative comments?

Every negative comment needs to be responded to. Period.

If you let a negative comment stand without a response, readers have only one perspective on a problem – a negative perspective. By responding, you are showing that you are paying attention, and are sensitive to your customers’ input. It can be as powerfully positive as glowing favorable reviews.

If the negative comment is something you can do something about, apologize and tell how you have corrected the problem.

If the negative comment is personal judgment complaint, you again need to apologize and express hopes that you can serve them better in the future by doing (something).

If the negative comment is suspicious – a spammy slam, you need to immediately take up the issue with the site. There have been many instances of small businesses being negatively spammed by competitors (multiple unfounded negative comments with no basis), and sites are interested in hearing about these.

Sites will not, however, delete legitimately posted negative comments. Those are your responsibility to handle.

You are being talked about all over the web, and you can benefit from all that positive chatter. All you need to do to get started is to listen.

One more past post to refer to:

Google Alerts Can Help Small Rural Tourism Businesses Become More Profitable



1 Herb Lawrence August 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm

Good post Joanne…will share with our network. I am not sure why so few businesses aren’t using the “industrial espionage” potential of Google Alerts and other free tools to monitor what’s going on out there. We are going to work on getting a Google Tools workshop together to introduce them to some of the free uses and may be able to throw in a Google Plus portion if we wait a few more months.

Thanks again

2 Joanne Steele August 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Watch for the rollout of “Take Control of Your Internet Marketing.” I think I will be able to help you help your businesses build their confidence with some of those great free tools and support all your wonderful trainers.

3 Sheila Scarborough August 10, 2011 at 11:29 am

Smart, sensible and simple advice, Joanne – I like the way you explain things so clearly! Thanks for the link to our newsletter and thanks for being out there “on point” helping folks. You’re a champ.

4 Joanne Steele August 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Thanks Sheila. I felt like the post wrote itself, with the link appearing at the Dunsmuir Strolling Galleries within hours of receiving your newsletter!

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