Signpost Local Marketing Blog

Category: Reviews (page 1 of 3)

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

The 2016 Holiday Planning Toolkit for Salons

Have you heard? The holiday season isn’t reserved just for retail anymore! As consumers seek out creative gift ideas for those on their holiday lists, they’re turning more often to options that can provide an experience over possessions.  All sorts of service businesses can stand to gain an extra boost during these vital last few months of the year, but perhaps none so much as salons, who help us look and feel our best all year long, especially during the many celebrations and family events the season brings.

With company or community holiday parties, family photo shoots for greeting cardssalon holiday guide, seasonal recitals, concerts, plays and many more, there’s no shortage of important life events taking place during this time. We all want to make sure that we’re in fine form for these (and the countless photos and videos that will be circulating for years to come!).

And don’t forget about gift cards! In fact, 41% of clients trying out a new salon for the first time, did so because of gift cards! For the customers who may be apprehensive to go this route, for fear of it feeling too transactional with a concrete dollar amount, instead promote it as being for a specific service or treatment. The gift giver can pay the full amount of the treatment, but only mark it as “Green tea spa pedicure” on the actual gift card. This will also provide good suggestions for those who may not have thought of it on their own. Create bundles with these gift cards and a few favorite products and advertise them as the perfect host or hostess gift at holiday parties.

Finally, remind your clients to treat themselves this holiday season. It can be a stressful time for consumers everywhere, so encourage them to indulge in some pampering, or offer specials to those proactive shoppers who finish their shopping early!

You might not be in retail, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a productive and successful holiday season. The key is to plan head and set clear goals that will keep you on track, and ensure that you finish the year strong!

Download the free 2016 Holiday Planning Toolkit for Salons now!

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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Improving Your Online Presence to Acquire More New Patients for Your Chiropractic Business

July is Health and Medical Services Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! We’ll be surfacing best practices and strategies specifically for marketing your practice and driving more new and repeat business. 

Not a medical 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!

Health Services Marketing

Online presence is the hub for all your digital word-of-mouth marketing. Oftentimes, practices can make the mistake of assuming that patients will find them, based on referrals from existing patients and their reputation, alone. However, even the best practices need to devote some time and effort to establishing and maintaining a strong online presence, in order to drive more new and repeat business. Make sure that your digital marketing is in perfect alignment by incorporating these tips to fortify your online presence.

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Gym and Fitness Businesses: How To Build A Stronger Online Presence

June is Gym and Fitness Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for gym owners, trainers, and fitness professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to whip your marketing into shape by getting the most out of these high-ROI techniques. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!

marketing your gym or fitness business

As warmer weather rolls around the annual challenge to keep members focused on fitness begins. With summer around the corner, dreams of self-improvement and a beach-ready-body have either been achieved or dashed at this point. The change in seasons also brings more options for fun ways to stay active outdoors, which means more competition for your members’ engagement. Getting found by new customers and retaining current ones starts with your online presence. We’ll walk you through the best optimizations for your site and beyond, depending on the type of fitness business you run.

Download The Complete Gym & Fitness Marketing Cheatsheet

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The Complete Salon Marketing Checklist

promoting my salon

May is Salon Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for local salon professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to polish up on these proven promotion techniques. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!

Download The Complete Salon Marketing Checklist

Attracting new clients while retaining current ones is no easy task for busy salon owners facing steep competition. One study found that, “The profitability of individual companies depends on technical expertise and marketing skills.” Few salon owners gethow to get more clients in your salon into this industry due to a love of marketing, but it’s become integral to the success and growth of your business, regardless. But with so many responsibilities already, it can be a constant struggle to stay up-to-date on marketing tasks.

So, we’ve aggregated the most valuable tips and even included data on the efficacy of various tactics, so that you can make the most out of your marketing.

Download our free checklist to:

Fortify Your Online Presence

  • Optimizing your website, and what to include
  • Online Directory Listings
  • Social Pages
  • Tips on Online Reputation Management

Getting New Clients For Your Salon

  • Strategic CTA Button Placement
  • Promotion Ideas
  • Event Marketing Ideas
  • Contest Ideas
  • Setting Up A Referral Strategy

Driving Repeat Visits for Clients

  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • SMS Marketing
  • Content Marketing
  • Creating a Loyalty Program That Works

…and more!

Download the checklist and keep your salon’s marketing on track!

Meet Mia: A New Way To Connect With Customers

Mia automated marketing

Last month Mia was born. You might have read about it in some leading media outlets, but now that she’s arrived, we wanted to introduce you to her ourselves. Drum roll, please…

Mia is the world’s first artificially intelligent marketing assistant, and she enables you to connect with customers in a new way. Collecting emails, phone numbers and purchase information for your previous, current and future customers,  Mia creates robust profiles that allow her to keep track of their activity, preferences and behaviors.

Best of all, this data empowers Mia to automatically send the perfect messages to the right customers at the right time to keep them engaged and your business top-of-mind. These targeted emails and text messages drive feedback, testimonials, 5-star reviews, customer loyalty and referrals. All without having to lift a finger!

With data on more than 16 million US consumers across more than 6,000 Signpost customers, Mia is continuously learning and identifying new patterns that allow her to optimize your marketing efforts. She bridges a particularly tricky gap for all those without an advanced degree in data science or the budget for exorbitant analytical tools, but who still want to reap the benefits of a data-driven approach to customer acquisition and retention. Mia is constantly honing her skills and reporting the results, so you can rest assured that she’s working hard to deliver the best outcomes for your business’s bottom line.

Find out how Mia can drive outcomes for your business, today! 

Hair Salons: Creating a Powerful Online Presence

May is Salon Month here on the Signpost Local Marketing Blog! This means that in addition to our usual posts with tips on connecting with customers, marketing strategy, and growing your business, we’ll be sharing insights specifically for local salon professionals. If that includes you, it’s time to polish up on these proven promotion techniques. If not, don’t worry, we’ll still be sharing our usual resources that can help you effectively market your local business. And keep your eyes peeled, your industry might be the one we feature next month!

Check out our recent post to find out how to position your salon for success. Want your industry to be featured? Let us know!

Download The Complete Salon Marketing Checklist

promoting my salon

Finding new clients can be a constant battle for stylists. However, with all the time you already invest honing your craft and staying a cut above the latest trends and styles, there’s not much left to spend worrying about keeping your chair occupied. Getting your salon found by potential customers starts with your online presence. Following these steps when setting up your salon’s web presence can help ensure you get the most out of your efforts and drive more business.

It all starts with your business’s website:

Your salon’s website is its home base. While it’s important to have a presence on other places around the web (and more on that point in a bit!), you need to have an online asset that you own and control. That’s where your website comes in. Social pages, directories and review sites should be directing traffic back to your site. We recently partnered with Weebly for a webinar on online reputation management, where they emphasized the idea of your business’s site as a hub. Think of it in this way, and you can cultivate a community around your styling expertise.

This starts on a basic level in selecting your domain name. Make sure it represents what how salons can attract new customersyou do, as specifically as possible. When creating the various pages, be sure to emphasize these differentiators — what makes your business special, as well as the location. This helps your site get discovered when potential customers start searching for salon options in their area. Think of this process of identifying and focusing on these differentiators as the beginning of building your brand.

Include forms to capture customer data wherever possible on your site. This can be a form requesting more info on a particular service, an online appointment booking, or just a simple email form that promises to keep them updated on all the latest news. These will help you grow your email subscriber lists, and drive repeat business. And don’t forget to link to your social pages, and third-party review sites (like Yelp, Google My Business, Allure, etc.) to encourage them to engage with your salon there and check out your favorable reviews.

All of your salon’s most important information should be easily accessible on the homepage. This includes hours, address, directions (and parking info, when applicable), as well as an up-to-date list of services as well as pricing. Keep this structure in mind when building a mobile-optimized version of your site. With so many people searching for businesses on their smartphones, watches and tablets, it has become important to ensure they have a great user experience across all devices. This means fast load times as well as pages that are responsive. Make sure all this vital info is as close to the top of the page as possible, so they can easily call once they find your site. Also putting appointment forms on the homepage allows them to convert without any friction in the process.

Finally, don’t be afraid to show off a little. Including testimonials on your site can increase your conversions by 34%. Be sure to place them prominently in the upper 1/3 of the page, for the best results. This exposes potential customers to the phenomenal experience others have had at your salon and reduces any uncertainty or fears they might have over trying out a new stylist.

Keep content fresh

It’s essential to the success of your salon that you keep your business information updated. Nothing is worse than a customer coming in expecting to pay one price for a service, and finding out that the price has been increased. Even when this is unintentional (we get it, it’s normal for costs to fluctuate!), it breaks the trust or the promise that your business made when it reported on pricing on your site. Oftentimes, this new customer’s impression will be affected negatively. They’ll feel scammed and will be unlikely to return.

Similarly, you should make an effort to keep other aspects fresh for frequent visitors to your site. If you start a blog, be sure you don’t neglect it. Try to post at least once a week, and on a consistent cadence, so that your audience will know what to expect and continue to return each week looking for new tips or other insights based on your experience. And if you have special seasonal offers, make sure you change the regularly (at least once a season!). Nothing looks worse than summer specials promoted in November!

List your salon on online directories and create social profiles

Make sure that your address is formatted in the same manner in as many directories as possible. You never know which one a prospective customer might come across in their search for a new salon, so you want to be wherever your customers are! This includes review sites, so make sure you claim your profile on Yelp and Google My Business, and set them up on Allure and any other salon review sites. Yelp estimates that just by having a profile on the platform, the average business see an additional $8000 in revenue a year!

Online directories can also help with SEO efforts, which allow your website to be found by search engines. This list is a great place to start and has many free directories that you can list your business on. Again, keep your info formatted consistently throughout (as slight variations can hurt your SEO work). For example, make sure that if your salon is located at 1247 Lost Tree Lane, Suite 700, that all of your listings look the same, and none say 1247 Lost Tree Ln., Ste. 700.

Similarly, you’ll want to set up profiles on various social networks, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope, etc. While it’s important to be where your audience is, some businesses overcommit when it comes to their social pages. Remember, each page you set up needs to be maintained on a daily (or at least weekly) basis. Rather than having many pages with little engagement and interaction, try focusing on one or two that a majority of your existing clients are on. Or, start polling them during appointments to determine which you should concentrate on.

Familiarize yourself with the nuances of each, and be sure to interact with other users accordingly. Instagram is a great way to share before and after photos of clients (always ask for their permission before sharing anywhere publicly!). But make sure that’s not all that’s represented. Post photos of you with other stylists, different events you have and attend and any other fun, “behind the scenes” glimpses you want to give into your business. This creates a deeper connection with existing clients.

Managing Online Reputation

If you’ve followed along this far, then your salon now has an online presence! While this is great news, it also means you now need to develop a strategy for safeguarding the online reputation of your business. While review sites and social pages are great ways to expose your work to new clients, they should always be monitored in case you need to get involved. If a customer posts a negative review, be sure to reach out to them privately to see if you can find a resolution.

This is your chance to not only win them back, but also demonstrate your dedication to client satisfaction. Afterwards, you can respond to the original comment stating that you’re happy you were able to find a way to fix it, and stand by your work. Bear in mind that these are your paying clients, so do your best to keep your cool and be respectful even if they’re being unreasonable. You might not be able to win every one back, but avoid aggravating the situation at all costs. Messy public arguments have an unfortunate knack of going viral, and continue to damage businesses long after the review has been posted.

Similarly, you should do your best to seek out positive reviews from your biggest advocates. Regularly ask for feedback, and remind them how important online reviews are for your business. Add in-store signage to remind customers to check out your profiles on these sites and hopefully leave positive reviews. Don’t be afraid to email or text customers you know well and ask (politely) for them to take a minute to review you or your salon. Make it as easy as possible for them to do so by sending them the link. If you don’t get the review or a response, don’t push the same people too hard on this, but send a gentle nudge, sparingly. Always make sure to thank them when they do, and check out this full list of ideas for driving more positive reviews, and responding to negative reviews.

Communications: Email and SMS marketing strategy

Now that you’ve set up the hub of your digital presence, use SMS and email to drive traffic back to it. Include a link to your site in your email signature, as well as any links to social pages and review sites. This way no matter what type of email you send out, whether a promotion or a simple appointment confirmation, you can direct clients to check out these pages, follow your salon or even leave a positive review!

Send out emails and text messages that keep your business top-of-mind with clients between visits, and remind others that they’re due for an appointment. You can keep them informed of promotions, exclusive events, and the latest news. Between high engagement rates, and most being read almost instantaneously, SMS marketing is a great way to drum up business on a slow day. Send out a text blast offering a discount on any appointments made for that day. Or, try out any of these creative sms campaigns. Send out emails and texts that drive repeat business, reviews and referrals. As a reminder, Signpost’s Mia automates all of these initiatives so that you don’t have to manage them manually, all while protecting your reputation by intercepting negative reviews and prompting new customers to make an appointment.


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