Signpost Local Marketing Blog

Category: Online Presence (page 1 of 18)

Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Promotion Ideas for Florists

The big day is finally here! For floral professionals, Valentine’s Day can be responsible for a bulk of revenue in the first quarter of the year. With over 110 million roses being purchased, and $18.2 billion projected to be spent this year, it’s to position your business for optimal success during this lucrative time. And although that sum seems overwhelming, it is 7.6% less than was spent for Valentine’s Day in 2016, proving how vital it is to understand evolving customer behaviors in order to drive more returns.

2017 Valentine’s Day Cheatsheet for Florists

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2017 Trends #1: Evolving Customer Lifecycle

As emerging innovations continue to change the way brands engage with and build relationships with their customers, it’s critical to stay  at the forefront of these trends. Early adoption and application can be a differentiator for brands looking to gain the competitive advantage.

As we head further into 2017, many businesses are evaluating which new technologies will be the best investments and aid in attaining their goals for the year. Whether you’re marketing one local business, or hundreds, you’ll be able to adapt some of these trends in a way that adds value to both your customers and your bottom line.

Download the Full Report: 2017 Trends Playbook

2017 Trend #1: Evolving Customer Lifecycle

The first of the five biggest trends we’re expecting this year for local marketing is understanding and finding new opportunities in the evolving customer lifecycle. In the digital age, the marketing funnel is expanding across multiple touchpoints to move prospects to a transaction.

With a majority prospective customers conducting online research and reading reviews on artificial intelligence trendspopular sites like Yelp, HomeAdvisor, and Google, due diligence is being performed more frequently prior to purchasing than in the past. Utilizing a comprehensive digital marketing strategy is the key to keeping leads engaged across these necessary touchpoints via email, text messages, social media, direct mail, review sites, directories and more.

And the task of ensuring they remain engaged and your business is top-of-mind continues, even after you’ve converted a new customer. Consumers have become disenchanted with traditional loyalty programs as well. While this (in tandem with other consumer trends, such as showrooming) have caused some alarmists to declare the death of customer loyalty, altogether, we maintain that the approach to such initiatives must also be reconfigured for the modern consumer.

Instead of tired punch cards and small rewards, customers are in search of a brand who will make them feel like a VIP. From added convenience and an increase in perceived value, getting creative in your loyalty program will yield great returns. Remember that it costs more to acquire a new customer than to sell to an existing, and that a bulk of your revenue comes from an existing customer base. Additionally, 87% of consumers report wanting a loyalty program, and still others refuse to be loyal to a brand if they lack a program to reward them. With Starbucks and Sephora as popular examples of bar raisers, use these innovative models as templates when leveling up in 2017.

For the full playbook, including data on customer acquisition, engagement and retention, as well as ideas for businesses of any size to put these trends into action, download the free playbook, now!


The Future of Commerce: The Impact of Location-Based Reviews on Revenue

In 2017, there’s no denying the integral role that reviews play in the evolving customer journey. Still, brands struggle to centralize their data collection around reviews and understand the impact that online ratings have on their bottom line. Creating a comprehensive digital reputation management strategy is a tall order for any single The Future of Commercebusiness, but the complexity grows exponentially for brands  with multiple locations.

These multilocation businesses stand to lose the most when there is a large degree of variance or volatility in ratings between different locations. This can create a sort of “split-personality” effect, which undermines the inherent trust or brand equity that consumers associate with the business.

As popular, third-party review sites continue to influence consumer purchasing decisions, more data is surfacing on the revenue impact of these ratings. According to an HBS study, a one star increase in rating can boost a business’s annual revenue by anywhere from 5-9%. Centralizing review management is essential to operationalizing the processes for leveraging this feedback, both internally and publicly.

Our latest report takes a look at this vital starting point in the customer journey, and how this seismic shift in consumer behavior and mindset is shaping the future of commerce.

Revenue Impact of Reviews Download

Using a Data-Driven Holiday Strategy to Unlock Full Revenue Potential

As a business owner, you know that the holiday season is more like a marathon than a sprint. And if you’re like most local businesses, you might even depend on these two final months to account for up to 30% of your annual sales.  So, it’s critical that you not lose focus as we enter the few remaining weeks of the season. However, once the frenzy using data to get more customersof Thanksgiving weekend fades, it can be difficult to know which tricks to pull out of your hat next, or to even what has had the most impact for tactics you’ve already employed.

And with customer shopping behaviors changing every day, it’s hard to stay on top of evolving best practices. Luckily, your data tells no lies, and can be utilized to provide just the right amount of direction, or to deliver a unique, personalized experience for your customers in order to gain a competitive edge throughout the rest of the season, and into the new year!

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Grow Your Grooming Business By Focusing on These Top Retention Tactics

October is Pet Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your veterinary practice, grooming, training and boarding businesses while driving more new and repeat customers. 

Not a pet care professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

Promoting Your Pet Business

When it comes to pet care, owners can be as sensitive and worrisome as any doting parent. Once you accept this, it then makes sense that they’re especially picky and maintain high standards when it comes to selecting a grooming specialist for their beloved pets. Therefore, it’s essential to create a strong first impression and use all your soft skills to cultivate the care and affection for your animal customers, so that it becomes a tangible element central to your business that exudes trust. We’re laying out tips to establish this crucial first step, as well as others that will ensure you maintain a healthy pipeline of repeat customers.

Continue Reading: Making a strong, first (digital) impression…

Making a strong, first (digital) impression

You might be surprised to find out that when a new customer walks through the door, they’ve most likely already made up their mind about your business. Or, they’ve at least drawn conclusions that have informed a memorable first impression before they even got out of the car. Few consumers decide to do business with anyone without conducting at least a cursory amount of online research. And not only are 88% of them trusting the reviews and comments that strangers post online, but an increasing majority is vetting even those recommendations that they are receiving from trusted family and friends with an online spot check.

Even with such solid referrals, chances are potential customers will take a look at your site and be typing your business’s name into their favorite search engine. They’re on the lookout for any issues or problems that may have evaded their friend. The decision often comes down to three factors: Your website, Third-party review sites, and any press or local articles that may have been published about your business. While it’s always great to have positive press, and difficult to outrun any perceived scandals or unfavorable press, that’s a subject that would require its own very long and dedicated post (for another time!). The other two, however, are prerequisites to the success of all businesses, as well as the key to sustainable growth.

Your business website

If you’re reading this and thinking, “But this doesn’t apply to me. Our business doesn’t even HAVE a site!” then it’s even more necessary for you to read on. Not having a site can hurt your just as much (or even more). When potential customers are performing this digital due diligence, oftentimes what they’re looking for is to build a sense of credibility and trust with your business. They want to make sure there are no surprises and that the services will be performed, as expected. They’re looking to avoid risk and uncertainty. Your site creates a strong, first impression for them; it reassures and defines these expectations. When you have no website, your business remains one giant question mark, and they’ll be unlikely to take such a risk, especially when it comes to their precious pets.

Now, for those of you who already have sites or are building one out soon, it’s important to put your best foot forward. It can be difficult to tackle this on your own, so it may mean making an investment in people and services who are experts (website platforms, like Weebly, offer free tools to help you here). A really great website should be a balance of information and a less tangible reflection of who you are as a business, why you exist, and what your mission or promise is.

As far as information, you should include your business hours, address, contact info including email and phone number, directions, services offered and even pricing (as long as it’s up to date. There’s nothing worse than having old pricing details when a customer comes in and feels as though they’ve been tricked). Take care to convey this in a way that makes sense, without simply dumping it all on your home page. Think about sites that you frequent and the way they’re architected. Learn from their best practices and try to organize your site in a similar manner. Avoid busy sites, or too many strong, assaulting colors, which will prompt visitors to bounce from your site sooner rather than later and potentially before getting the info they were looking for. Check out this Forbes article on the psychology of color for brands for some further explanation and tips.

So much of our impression of a particular brand or business is driven by visual imagery. So again, a site that feels clunky, outdated, or disorganized can lead to similar (albeit unfair) impressions about how your business is run or operates as well. Try using this visual aspect to your advantage by showcasing some of your best looking and adorable clients! Think about adding a gallery, or linking visual, social pages (Instagram or Pinterest is usually best here!), to display some of your latest posts, automatically, so you won’t need to worry about maintaining this element.

Online Review Sites

This has become increasingly more important for businesses, especially as it pertains to digital relationship management. If you’ve ever consulted Yelp, Facebook, or even Google before selecting a restaurant, then you’re already familiar with how much influence they have over the customer journey and purchasing decisions. Being an impartial source, people tend to place an overwhelming amount of stock in these reviews, requiring constant diligence for every local business.

There is no shortage of data to convey the impact these reviews have on your bottom line. Our favorite of which, is that Harvard Business School found that a change in rating of just one star can boost your revenue anywhere from 5-9%.

 Free Seminar: Tips to get started with creating and implementing a comprehensive Online Relationship Management strategy!

When you do receive 5-star reviews, be sure to share them in newsletters, on your site, or across your social pages. This prompts others to also leave reviews after they see how much you read and care about them. It may also serve as a good reminder for those who intended to leave you a review and forgot or got distracted. Provide links to your business profile across these sites, on your website, social pages and even in your email signature. Try to make it as easy as possible for clients who wish to sing your praises!

Similarly, be sure to reach out to those who have had negative experiences to see how you can improve in the future and how you might be able to find a resolution. Signpost’s Mia does this for you automatically, and “intercepts” negative reviews before they’re even posted! Find out how she can help you safeguard your digital reputation, today!

Ensuring success during first meeting

Again in this line of work, it’s important to make sure you’re broadcasting the right sensory signals. When customers walk through the door, they shouldn’t be accosted by the stench of wet dog, or lay eyes on an unsightly scene that appears disorganized, messy, dirty, or dangerous. Customers will be hasty to interpret first impressions and jump immediately to unfavorable conclusions that will often prove impossible to mend. You might think that surely, customers understand that a place that shampoos dozens of dogs a day might have an eau de canine in the air, but sadly that is often not the case. People will still hold it to high standards, and expect some pleasing odor which evokes cleanliness, or tranquility.

Again, these “intangibles” are important factors in creating a winning experience for customers. Staff friendliness and “warmth” needs to be conveyed, to position them as people who will love and treat their pets carefully and with TLC. Be as congenial as possible and let them know that their pup is in good hands! If you have time, offer to give a tour to new customers, allow them to voice any concerns, and be sure to ask them about anything you should know about their pet or their pet’s personality. Being thorough here will speak volumes of your attention to detail and commitment to delivering a high quality service.

Loyalty is about the entire experience

The days of punchcards and cookie-cutter loyalty programs have passed for most businesses outside of retail. It’s important to think about the entire experience for both the pets and their people. Think of ways to make this experience more enjoyable or convenient for both and you’ll find great success. You can do this with a combination of exclusive events, rewards, and communication.

Events: Maybe an introductory event for new customers where you offer owners free manicures while you’re busy beautifying their pets. Equal parts pampering might be just the thing they need to become an advocate. Plus, it helps the more nervous, “helicopter parents” by easing their anxiety over leaving their furry companion in a strange place for the first time. You can also offer this every so often as a reward for loyalty. Consider monthly contests, such as “best Halloween costume” throughout the month of October where owners tag your business in their social posts with the contest hashtag. This allows you to show off the entrants, and showcase your customers pets, which they’ll love!

Rewards: Think about what makes sense for your business, based on your pricing structure and customer data. It’s important to do the math here, and calculate the value of your customers, so that you don’t end up paying more in rewards than you receive in customer value. You can create a program that is governed by tiers or points, or completely create your own. If you’re looking to get started, we’ve put together an entire series dedicated to loyalty programs, you can check out here!

Communication: Try naming a “Pet of the Week” or month and award them a free service.  Additionally, try encouraging owners to post pics of their pooches in their post-groom glow with specific hashtags and tags so that others will want to become customers or sign up for your loyalty program. Give some sort of “upgrade” or reward for pet, owner, or both anytime they share on social. (Maybe consider getting a pup-sized step-and-repeat that they can use to make their furry friend feel like a celebrity, while including your business’s branding. It’s a win-win!)

Social: Again, we’d recommend sticking with a visual platform that already has a large network of pet lovers, like Instagram. You’re more likely to be discovered by users and potential customers if you use applicable hashtags. You can test this frequently, and see what works best, but don’t be afraid to have fun with it! This will be conveyed to your audience and make them want to follow your business.


Veterinary Marketing 101: Gaining Exposure To More Pet Owners and Keeping Them Engaged

October is Pet Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your veterinary practice, grooming, training and boarding businesses while driving more new and repeat customers. 

Not a pet care professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

Promoting Your Pet Business

Like anything in the medical field, it can often seem unpalatable to consider the important work that a veterinary practice does to be reduced to a “business”. Unfortunately, every practice needs patients in order to be sustainable and fuel the vital work you and your team does every day. So although marketing your services, technical expertise and care may seem distasteful, it’s imperative to the future of your efforts.

As you already know, trust is unparalleled when it comes time to decide who we feel comfortable treating our beloved pets to in their time of need. Many clients treat their pets as their furbabies, and as such, do not take this due diligence lightly. It’s important that your marketing messaging and efforts speak to your qualifications, technical expertise and experience, and embody trust and credibility. Beyond that, empathy and bedside manner are the other driving force behind putting them at ease and feeling secure in your abilities.

Continue Reading: Position yourself as an expert by providing educational resources

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Auto Glass Businesses: Ensure Customers Find You When They Need You With A Fortified Online Presence

September is Automotive Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your auto service and driving more new and repeat business. 

Not an auto professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

more customers for auto service

The automobile glass industry has come a long way since  the first laminated windshields were assembled in the 1920’s. The problem is that most of your customers aren’t looking for your solution until they have an accident, or an unfortunate meeting with a rogue rock on the highway. It’s a reactionary business, and (sadly) usually seen as an inconvenience. Something that’s necessary to get them back on the road, and on with their lives. So, how are your marketing efforts best spent in such a specific scenario? You don’t want to waste them on customers who aren’t receptive (those with a healthy, in-tact windshields or sidelites, for example). Where should you start?

To stay competitive and ensure that these customers find you when the need arises, you need to invest in your business’s online presence. In 2016, this is the first stop on any buyer’s journey. They might have a vague, subconscious remembrance of the catch SafeLight jingle, but chances are they’re turning to Google, or other search engines, to find out what their local options are. This search is followed by a reputation check on various online reviews sites, such as Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, among others. Read on, we’ll be reviewing the key components to setting up your auto glass business for success.

Get started off on the right foot: Invest in a professional website

For most of your future customers, your website will be the first impression they get of your business, so it’s important that it sets the right tone. There are a variety of website creation tools and platforms, such as Weebly, which even has a free offering that you can use to make a current and sleek site. Many auto glass professionals didn’t get into this line of work because their love of building websites though, and that’s ok. If you fall into that category, then there are plenty of professionals who you can enlist to help you in this task. Either way, be sure that you are involved in this process and that the new site being built is:

  • Accurate
  • Up-to-date
  • Easy to navigate and understand
  • Conveys all the information they might need: Hours, Services, Pricing, Phone Number, Address, Email
  • Fast load times on desktop and mobile
  • Responsive (layout looks good and is easy to access from both desktop computers and various mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets)
  • Reassure customers’ doubts and reinforce your professionalism (through testimonials)

And that the look and feel is:

  • Professional
  • Modern
  • Intuitive
  • Representative of your business and expertise

Think of your new site as a home base for all your customer acquisition and engagement efforts. Everything you do, should be either driving potential customers back to your site, or at least leaving a trail of breadcrumbs to help them quickly be able to access the information when they need it, or are ready to transact. It’s especially important to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile devices, with fast load times and responsive rendering and doesn’t look weird when viewing on a smartphone or tablet (for example, ensure isn’t super zoomed-in on just your header, or require lots of scrolling and links that are hard to find). With 53% of all mobile searches having local intent, it’s important that you provide a good user experience, if you expect them to convert.

Set yourself up for success by collecting contact information

If you don’t already do this, you should make it a priority, moving forward. Contact information, whether email address or cell phone number, or even address is an opportunity to keep the conversation going, keep your business on their mind and ultimately increase the odds that they’ll eventually become a customer. Email marketing has been proven to yield 4300% return on investment, so the sooner you can start collecting addresses, the more impact it will have on your bottom line.

windshieldIt’s much easier to manage this process, digitally. Hand-written signup lists, while better than none at all, leave a lot of room for error, and rely on time-consuming, manual data entry. It might make sense to invest in CRM (customer relationship management) software that helps you keep all this data organized and easily accessible. As a reminder, Signpost’s Mia does this automatically for you, by keeping a perfect customer record for anyone who calls, emails or transacts at your business

The easiest way to do this on your website, is to add forms wherever possible. Whether asking them to subscribe to your email list for promotions and special offers, a blog for industry insights, or a free estimate, be sure to add a few different opportunities and “hooks” to prompt more of your audience to fork over their contact info. You can test different approaches, and see which performs the best in terms of completed form submissions. Being diligent in your customer data collection, moving forward, will amplify your marketing efforts, and drive more conversions.

Content and Directories

Now that you have set up a professional website, it’s time to start directing more traffic back to it. For organic (read: unpaid) traffic, this is done primarily through inclusion in directories, SEO strategy, social media, and review sites. All of this is done in order to give your business exposure to new audiences that have the potential to become paying customers at some point.

The more links back to your page, the more likely your site will appear in one of the coveted top spots, or ranks on search engine results pages. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If  you were looking for a good chiropractor in your area, you might ask around and see if any family members or friends had a good recommendation. But, at the same time you’d probably start researching your own by searching on Google, Yahoo or Bing. Your potential customers are following a similar process to find the best auto glass experts.

Sharing your expertise through content, such as a company blog or FAQ, can be a great way to establish  your reputation as a knowledgable industry vet, as well as help with discoverability. Sharing tips for maintenance, preventing windshield cracks and damage, or safety precautions people should take following a crack, and more can help provide value to consumers who might need your services.

Similarly, potential customers who are conducting research might come across directories for businesses in the area, so you want to make sure that yours is one of them, and that it has as much info as possible, to convince them to call or come in. Here is a list of free directories to get you started.

Online Review Sites

The final step is to claim and create robust profiles on popular review sites, such as Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, and Angie’s List. These not only help with SEO efforts (especially when it comes to Google My Business), but more and more consumers are beginning their research on these sites. It’s important that you have reviews that are positive, plentiful and recent. This shows that the great experiences customers are reporting are not just flukes, but your usual dedication to delivering quality results.

Today, a majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as friends and family when looking for a recommendation. It’s unsurprising then, that online reviews have a tangible effect on your bottom line. Additionally, Yelp claims that just by claiming a free business profile on their site, owners can expect to see an additionally $7,000 in annual revenue.

Make it as easy as possible for current customers to leave a positive review by using buttons or links from your website to your specific profile on a few of the sites that matter most (remember, Yelp and Google My Business should most likely be top two!). You can also include in your email signature, to subtly remind whomever you’re corresponding with to leave you a review. You can also put signage in your garage or office.

Once you have profiles on these sites, you’ll have to be diligent with your online reputation management strategy. You should respond to any critical reviews and attempt to find a resolution. This can not only help to win back a customer that you might have lost otherwise, but will also prove to potential clients that you value customer satisfaction, and are committed to finding a solution.

Whether you’re just getting started with online reputation management, or already have a plan in place, we’ve distilled some of our best practices in this short video presentation

Online Reputation Management

So there you have it! If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a powerful online presence that will help you get the attention of customers when the time is right. Be sure to allot time for maintenance and upkeep, as with anything else, this is an ongoing endeavor, and some extra time and resources can help sustain and continue to grow your customer base. Now that you’ve have a quality presence, you can start focusing on a communications plan. Check out some of our other resources to discover how you can start building better email marketing campaigns!


Promotion Guide For Your Automotive Service Business

September is Automotive Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your auto service and driving more new and repeat business. 

Not an auto professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

more customers for auto service

September is here, and as we say goodbye to summer, we start celebrating the businesses that may have helped fuel our summer roadtrips: automotive services! These businesses help consumers get wherever we’re going and keep us mobile! However, even though so many of these services are often viewed as additional, purely maintenance, or reactionary, it’s vital you stay on top of your marketing and promotion efforts so that you can continue to attract a steady stream of new and repeat business. Auto services are not often on the top of consumers’ minds, so it’s important you keep them engaged, so we put together this easy list that combines some of our favorite tried-and-true promotional tactics with current marketing best practices for an unstoppable, and comprehensive plan of attack!

Your promotion efforts start with your website

Your website should be the hub for all your marketing efforts, both on and offline.

Your site should:

  • Be professional and up-to-date
  • Make a good first impression: Provide a initial introduction to your business
  • Include complete contact information: Including address, phone number, email address, directions, business hours, pricing
  • Offer functionality to make an appointment online. This leads to:
    • 40% more appointments
    • As much as 75% time save on managing appointments
    • An 80% reduction in no-shows, and the elimination of double-bookings.
  • Have forms to optimize the collection of contact information
  • Proudly display testimonials from happy customers
  • Provide links to your business profile across social channels and review sites

Show off your areas of expertise

Once you’ve invested in a professional website, you should develop a strategy to drive more potential customers to it.

One of the best ways to do this is through content creation. Share your expertise on both themes specific to your business’s specializations, as well as universal topics that all consumers are familiar with, such as traffic, commuting, safety and traveling. For example, you could post a blog about the best ways to beat traffic on holiday weekends, which can recommend the best time to depart, come home, routes to popular weekend getaways, or alternatives, and more.

Similarly, you could write a byline or routinely contribute to local magazines and periodicals with practical auto advice, which can help you position yourself as a community leader and authority on the subject. Creating short how-to videos are also a great way to boost exposure to new audiences in search of a solution to a pain point or issue your business can solve.

Determine what specializations or approaches differentiate your business from others, and be sure to advertise that everywhere you promote your business. From your site and social pages, to flyers, posters, online directory listings, reviews sites, business cards, and more. Don’t forget to recruit your work vehicles to help with advertising. Put your business name, logo, phone number and website, along with a tagline that states your specialization on your work trucks, cars, vans, tow truck, etc.

Invest in your community, and they’ll invest in you

Get involved in your community. Join local groups and organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, as well as any local trade organizations that have a presence in your area. Consider paying to become a partner of any group that commands influence, or is part of your consumers’ usual research. The more entrenched in the community you become, the more local customers will find out about you and your services, and want to give you their business. Try sponsoring little league, or donate gift certificates to charity events and fundraisers. Always be on the look out for ways to lend a helping hand.

And don’t forget to seek out potential partners in various places. Speak at schools and universities in the area and volunteer your time to teach a workshop, whether in driver’s ed classes, universities, local libraries, and more.  Encourage them to come to you with any specific questions afterward, and hand out special “Student Discount” coupons. Direct them to your website and social pages for more tips and videos to help them troubleshoot issues, or perform routine maintenance.

But don’t stop there, try to work in some networking with the different vendors you use. If you visit them in person, ask if you can hang a flyer on their bulletin board, leave a stack of business cards, or become a trusted partner/member of their directory for customers. Do the same with complementary businesses, including dealerships, auto supplies stores, car washes, and more. Develop relationships with local realtors and real estate brokerages, and offer their clients a special rate or “welcome to the neighborhood” discount.

Finally, partner with insurance companies. It can seem like you’ll be jumping through a bunch of unnecessary hoops, but when you become a preferred partner, people treat that as good as “pre-vetted” and do less research. Your business will gain an inherent trust with more customers. Some do not stray outside of the recommendations of insurance, since they’re worried about being held accountable for the bill, so it may be worth investing the time and effort to make this happen.

Promotion: Social, Email and SMS Marketing Campaigns

The first rule when it comes to approaching your social media strategy should be: don’t bite off more than you can chew. Only invest in building out pages that you can commit to maintaining regularly. So often business owners are pressured to be on every possible network, and later struggle to keep content fresh and updated. Each channel is slightly different, and should have it’s own unique approach. It is so much better to select the platforms that make the most sense to your business and focus your full effort and attention on only those.

For auto services, it might make the most sense to start your own YouTube Channel to share tips on how to perform routine checks and tasks and repairs. Create short how-to’s on platforms like Instagram, where there is a great built-in community of car enthusiasts. Appeal to underserved demographics in the industry (like women and younger drivers!) who may regularly feel alienated by your competition.

People respond to stories, so brainstorm ways to tell them by starting a series. If you’re a dealership, a performance shop or detailer, then you can start profiling newly-licensed drivers and their first cars! Jump on the bandwagon for social trends by showing off you and your employees first cars, and using the appropriate hashtag (#tbt #fbf). And encourage other customers to share photos of first or favorite cars. Finally, while you’re tapping your creativity, try to come up with some good ideas for contests. These can be a great way to increase awareness in your business, get you a larger following that you can continue to market to after the contest has ended (try to also collect emails!), until the time is right for them to convert into a paying customer.

Make sure your site is set up to collect customer contact information. Make it as easy as possible for customers to join your email and SMS lists with forms online and instructions in-store. You can check out this post for more surefire ways to grow your email lists. Email marketing has a proven return on investment of 4300%, and SMS marketing can yield up to 8 times more engagement, so implementing a consistent communications strategy can work wonders for keeping your business on your customers’ mind and generating more revenue.

Don’t just provide quality service — Go the extra yard

Of course delivering quality is the first priority for any customer-facing business. However, going above and beyond is always a great way to set yourself apart from the crowd and turn customers into advocates. Whether you offer free pick ups and drop offs for customers having their vehicles serviced, or extra amenities in your waiting area, think of small things you can do to provide more convenience and comfort to your customers.

You can return their car with a free, branded gift, such as a license plate cover, air freshener, bobble head, dice, stickers, floor mats, or more. This not only helps you spread awareness of your business, but is also practical and ensures they’ll have your name and number with them if they should get into a fender bender or break down.  It might even fan the word-of-mouth flame with passengers in their vehicle, who might notice and ask about their experience.

Perform safety checks, and complimentary inspections even if you’re not a state-sanctioned “inspection station”, so they will know if there’s any issue that will need to be addressed in the coming weeks or months. This will help them prepare and get things on their radar long before they’re rushing to renew. When you’re looking out for them, they’ll take notice.

Lots of people offer free estimates on their sites, so try position the offer as a free consultation, where you educate them on issue and preventative measures. This may prove especially successful in underserved groups, as long as you keep your tone friendly, helpful and not condescending. Nothing wins over loyalty like transparency and proactive outreach and assistance of an expert.

Be sure to check back next week, or join our email list to continue to hone your auto marketing skills!

Infographic: Online Reviews and Revenue Potential

When it comes to your business, it’s hard not to get caught up in the drama of online reviews. And for good reason; each glowing, five-star review that comes in can be the closest thing to an acknowledgement of a job well done for business owners. Similarly, the sting that comes with a critical review, is not one that’s easily forgotten. Beyond the hurt feelings and pats on the back, have you ever wondered what the actual, tangible impact that such reviews (for better and worse) have on your bottom line?

We’ve put together some data from our recent, local business survey, along with others, to create this snapshot of the effect online reviews can have:

the value of online reviews


Creating a Stronger Online Presence for Your Dry Cleaning Business To Attract More New Customers

August is Cleaning Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing insights and strategies specifically for marketing your cleaning service and driving more new and repeat business. 

Not a cleaning professional? Don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing insights that will help you to promote  your local business, acquire new customers, and encourage loyalty. Want your industry to be the next featured month? Drop us a line, and let us know!

ways to market cleaning business

With new technology,  equipment, chemicals, and approaches challenging you to keep current, running a dry cleaning and laundry business is no easy task. Tougher still is having to consistently generating new business and retaining the loyalty of your existing customer base, with so many competitors attempting to lure them away. It’s essential to remain diligent in your promotion efforts, which in today’s world translates into having a fortified online presence in order to capture more customers looking for dry cleaners or laundry services in your community.

There are more than 825,000 tons of clothes dry-cleaned, annually. It’s a need that most consumers have, though the capacity or specifics may vary. Traditionally, dry cleaners and laundry businesses have been able to stick to phonebooks and yellow pages to be discovered by new customers, but with those days long gone it’s time to get online. Luckily, there isn’t yet as much saturation as in other industries, so there’s great opportunity to maintain the competitive advantage by investing in your online presence.

It all starts with your website: What is your ideal target?

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