Like many in Australia, I live just far enough outside the urban sprawl that local and independent businesses are often preferred over the big retail chains. Generally, you’ll find these areas have a strong word of mouth network, and personal referrals are the main business driver.
With the rise of Facebook, Google+ Local and other social media and review based sites, the word of mouth network finds itself challenged, as it was when those retail chains first started their rise to popularity, and local businesses can again be easily overlooked:
“Hey, you hear there’s a new Target store opening 2 hours up the road? Wanna go?!”
Having read a bit of Marcus Sheriden’s blog lately, the idea of answering your clients’ questions as a content and lead generation strategy has been resonating strongly with me. The #1 objection I hear from businesses when I mention content marketing is “but what do I write about?”
Hmm, an idea forms…
Of course, this wouldn’t suit every business, and putting the idea into practice might not always be as easy as that. Unless you happen to be my local coffee shop – Kartel Espresso Bar.
While in the store recently, I heard the owner chatting and laughing with a regular about an idea they’ve had to promote the business.
I should explain first that Kartel isn’t your regular boring old coffee shop – it’s a quirky, hole in the wall, standing room only, hip-hop music playing, locals’ art gallery, home-made food serving slice of beachside sunshine. (Can you tell I like the place?)
Start a Blog!
The idea they were discussing was so simple, so easy to put into action, and suited the business so perfectly, I was having my own party of one just standing there in the queue.
Only problem was, they had no inkling that what they were talking about could be a gold mine for them.
Thinking about it later, I came to the conclusion that if even if you’ve only a small footprint in your local community, and for whatever reason haven’t yet started a blog, but think that you should (yes, you should!), it’s perfectly OK to look beyond whatever product you’re selling to build your profile.
It may seem a strange idea at first, but in those areas with strong word of mouth marketing, in today’s age of smartphones, it’s not hard to turn those local referrals into reviews. And more reviews gets you more exposure, and we know where that leads… ;)
Image Credit: A Tale of Design