Hey there! I'm so excited for you as you start thinking about building a business to solve a problem that people have. This is such a great opportunity to make a real difference in your community while also creating something meaningful and financially rewarding for yourself.
The key to building a sustainable, successful business is having a strong foundation. This starts with clearly defining your mission, vision and values. Your mission statement explains your purpose and main objective. It's the reason why your business exists. Your vision statement is where you describe your big, audacious dream for the future of your company. And your values are the core principles and beliefs that will guide each decision you make.
Some examples of important values in a business are things like integrity, transparency, customer service, innovation, and community. Take the time to really think through and articulate your mission, vision and values, as these will drive everything else you do.
Once you have that foundation established, it's time to start executing on your actual business model. One of the most critical components of growing a local business today is authority marketing. Authority marketing is all about positioning yourself and your business as a leading expert authority in your field.
The main way to build authority is by creating helpful, educational content and distributing it online through things like blogging, videos, podcasts, and social media. Becoming a reliable authority figure allows you to attract and convert high quality leads without needing large advertising budgets.
Some specific benefits of authority marketing include:
- Building trust and credibility for your brand
- Improving your search engine rankings so you get found more easily
- Developing a loyal audience that knows, likes and trusts you
- Generating referrals and word-of-mouth promotion
- Cementing yourself as an industry leader
Basically, you want to be putting out regular, helpful content through as many channels as possible. This content should provide value to your audience by solving problems, answering questions, providing tips, and educating them on topics related to your business.
For example, if you were starting a new landscaping company, you could create YouTube videos with tips for how homeowners can do their own landscaping. Or you could start an email newsletter with seasonal advice and special offers. Anything that demonstrates your expertise and establishes trust builds authority.
In your interactions online, make sure to always be thoughtful, respectful and helpful. Avoid being pushy or salesy. Building relationships and nurturing your community is what matters most.
Another element of authority marketing is getting positive reviews and testimonials. Encourage happy customers to leave you glowing reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook. Testimonials can also go on your website. This social proof is incredibly powerful for convincing new customers that you're reliable.
Also focus on being as discoverable as possible online. Optimize your website and content with relevant keywords so people can find you when they search for terms related to your business. Claim and optimize profiles on review sites, directories and any relevant industry forums. The more consistently visible you are online, the better.
Done right, authority marketing truly is one of the most affordable and effective ways for a local business to gain credibility and trust in their market. And it has the added benefit of being great for your customers too, since they get to enjoy all the helpful information you put out.
Some quick tips to get started with authority marketing:
- Identify your ideal customer avatar so you can provide the most relevant content for them
- Research keywords and topics that your audience cares about
- Create a consistent blogging schedule (i.e. 1 blog post per week)
- Produce helpful explainer and “how to” style videos
- Claim profiles and create optimized listings on all relevant directories
- Engage thoughtfully on social media channels like Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn
- Send regular educational emails to convert readers into customers
- Encourage reviews and testimonials
- Track your metrics to see what content resonates best
By committing to authority marketing from the start, you'll be amazed at how much faster your business can gain traction. You get to help people, build community and see your influence grow at the same time.
I'm excited to see where you take this! Stay focused on truly serving your customers, stick to your important values, and keep nurturing your reputation as a trusted local authority.
Once you've built authority through marketing and partnerships, the next critical component is crafting a remarkable customer experience. At the end of the day, your business success comes down to how well you meet and exceed customer expectations.
Start by looking at your business through the eyes of your ideal customer. Identify any areas along their journey that could be smoother, more enjoyable, or deliver greater value. The goal is to wow customers with thoughtful touches that make them feel special.
Some areas to enhance the customer experience may include:
- Providing extensive product information on your website so buyers can self-educate
- Having friendly, knowledgeable salespeople to offer personalized advice
- Sending follow up "thank you" emails after purchases
- Offering unexpected free gifts or samples with purchases
- Following up proactively when they receive their product to ensure satisfaction
- Rewarding loyalty with special discounts or access to an inner circle of your best customers
- Seeking customer feedback about how you can improve
Delivering "above and beyond" customer service breeds incredible word of mouth. One blown away customer will go tell many friends about their awesome experience. This then attracts more great customers organically.
To deliver great service, education and training for yourself and staff is critical. Role play different scenarios to ensure everyone knows how to expertly interact with diverse customers. Invest time upfront here and it will pay off exponentially.
Another consideration is your physical location and atmosphere. What vibe do people feel when they walk in your door? Is it organized and inviting? Do customers get your undivided attention or are you distracted?
Even small upgrades like playing relaxing music, prominently displaying reviews, providing refreshments, and ensuring cleanliness greatly enhance mood. People make gut instinct judgments within seconds, so make sure the vibes are on point.
Online, having an easy to navigate, visually appealing website is equally important. Clear menus, professional graphics, mobile optimization, readable fonts, great photos, and videos raise perceptions of your brand. Don't cut corners here - have a web professional design you a custom site.
Consistency across your digital presences like social channels also matters. Make sure branding and messaging aligns everywhere. Consistency breeds familiarity and mental availability.
Obsess over each touchpoint during transactions to minimize friction and create "a-ha" moments people remember. Surprises, delighters, personalization, and randomness spark joy. Keep innovating ways to wow.
To maintain high standards, constantly gather customer feedback through surveys, reviews, and conversations. Ask what you could improve and implement the ideas. This joint evolution ensures you never stagnate.
Also tap into the power of data. Track metrics like customer lifetime value, retention, referral rates, social shares, repeat purchase frequency, satisfaction, and more. Analytics steer your efforts toward what works.
By focusing manically on delivering five star experiences, you create raving fans. These fans become your best salespeople. Pay whatever it takes to make customers smile, because their love propels exponential growth.
One final tip is to make corporate social responsibility a pillar of your brand. Supporting charitable causes provides a sense of meaning. It also attracts passionate talent, customers and partners seeking to make a difference.
Integrating social impact into your mission - like donating a % of each sale or volunteering time to give back - makes your business admirable on a deeper level. People crave supporting brands with soul.
Well there you have it - an overview of some best practices for bringing a business to life in the local market! Feel free to use any helpful bits that resonate. Wishing you tremendous success as you embark on your entrepreneurial journey. Believe in yourself. You've so got this!