From Suburban to Returning Customers

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Downtown businesses need business from suburban customers in order to thrive. How can they attract those customers and turn them into regulars? …

Downtown businesses need business from suburban customers in order to thrive. How can they attract those customers and turn them into regulars?

This presentation was (partially) delivered at CenPhoCamp 2010 and attempts to answer that question. Primarily, social media can be used as a low cost way to reach a wide audience and maintain a connection with customers, thereby encouraging them to return often.

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  • There's not enough people in CenPho yet to support local biz without support from further away Increased density will help this, but we're not there yet Economy isn't great, higher dollar housing isn't selling (44 Monroe) Things will pick up with the economy Positive: there's still great things and good growth happening, despite the poor financial conditions Not a zero-sum game: Derek Neighbors derekneighbors.com
  • Social media is a great way to reach customers It's low to no cost, although it does require time. Yeah, you're a small biz and you spend a lot of time running your biz, you don't have a lot of time to spend on social media. You're also a small biz who doesn't have a ton of money to throw at advertising. Yelp is important (Inc article: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20100201/youve-been-yelped.html )
  • Social media sphere of awareness – the topics people are aware of within the social media sphere. You want people to see your name discussed on Facebook and Twitter. Foursquare helps with this if you encourage people to check in and send the update to Facebook and Twitter. Yelp – don't advertise by talking about yourself in discussion threads. Just participate in the discussion as yourself, not your biz. Do respond to positive and negative reviews as the biz, however. ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL! Advertise on Yelp and offer deals. Yelp is a way better place to offer deals than by Facebook status updates or tweets.
  • Social media is very fluid. Calling Facebook updates and tweets a “stream” is very accurate. But, people miss updates if they're not looking. All of the info people would want at any time should be available on the website. Also, don't forget that your website is a public-facing part of your biz. It should look good and work well. Hire a website designer just as you would an interior designer.
  • Have a link to an interactive map (Google, etc) or embed one in your site.
  • Pay attention to tweets and FB updates from nearby venues and attractions. Help them out by mentioning or retweeting, then mentioning that you'll be open before or after Offer discounts to attendees (duh) Plan events like a pub crawl, light rail food tasting, etc. Work with other businesses to build each other up. END OF GET EM TO YOU SECTION
  • Pay attention to social media users (active twitterers and yelpers) when you know they're there If you have an established social media connection to a first-time customer, you're way ahead in terms of establishing a repeat-customer relationship Liberty Market and Joe
  • Follow Liberty Market/Joe Johnston's example. Pay attention to what people say about you in social media and respond. Continue the conversation. Ray Oldenburg's “The Great Good Place” from the late 80's – your business is a third place and so is social media. You can extend customer's third place experience with you beyond your brick & mortar. Create a weekly discount event to bring people back – Maizie’s and FEZ $3 burger Monday night, Postino bruschetta and wine for $20 on Tuesday Also, Petite Maison’s staff dinner discounts from 10pm to midnight
  • Brand X does a great job of this. As a result, they're the tshirt vendor of choice for anyone who is active in social media Also, Joe's restaurant do this. Events are times when people from all over the valley get together physically, so this is one of the few times that spending money on physical advertising makes sense.
  • Support them in promoting your business. Host a tweetup to give them an opportunity to bring in new suburban customers, or encourage them to host a tweetup.

Transcript

  • 1. From Suburban to Returning Customers Matthew Petro http://matthewpetro.name Twitter: @matthewpetro Delivered at CenPhoCamp January 23, 2010 Sponsored by
  • 2. My take
    • Great things are happening in CenPho
    • Many Valley residents don't realize this
    • Businesses need to get more suburban residents into CenPho
    • This is not a zero sum game
  • 3. Three steps to returning customers
    • Use social media to attract suburban residents
    • Engage with them when they're at your business
    • Maintain the relationship via social media
  • 4. Use social media to create knowledge of your business
    • Generate a reasonable level of communication
    • Use multiple channels (Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp)
    • Penetrate people's social media sphere of awareness
  • 5. Use your website
    • Yes, you still need one
    • It needs to be up to date (hours, location, menu or services)
    • It needs to have all the static info people want on demand
  • 6. Tell people how to get to you
    • Many downtown businesses don't have access and parking like suburban strip malls
    • Use your website to tell people best routes to you, where to park and costs
    • Emphasize light rail if you're close enough to it
  • 7. Event tie-ins and complimentary businesses
    • Take advantage of events at downtown venues and at other businesses nearby
    • Plan events in conjunction with other businesses
    • You need to have some awareness within social media for this to work
  • 8. BE AWESOME!
    • Once you have suburban customers in your business, you need to be awesome
    • People can get “good enough” close to their home
    • You need to give customers a reason to come back to you
  • 9. Stay in touch and interact
    • Keep communicating with customers once they've visited you
    • Respond to what customers say about you in social media
    • Continue the conversation
    • Give customers a reason to return
  • 10. Sponsorships
    • Sponsor social media related events
    • The cost is low and it keeps your business within customers social media sphere of awareness
  • 11. Leverage brand evangelists
    • Pay attention to the customers who talk about you most
    • Help them help you