Why Small Towns Need to Change
The way small towns conduct business needs to change. It is no longer acceptable to hang the “Gone Fishing” sign out, especially when your store has posted hours.
How To Improve Customer Loyalty
Small town business owners need to market their businesses to a new generation of consumers. The new consumer needs instant gratification. If those needs are not being met, the customer will leave and seek out the product or products elsewhere. When a potential client requests an item that the business does not carry, the store should still help the customer find it. The customer and store have now entered a working relationship and the likelihood of a return visit is high.
Businesses need to increase customer satisfaction to increase customer loyalty. There is a big difference when walking into a store and being genuinely greeted and walking into a store and being ignored. When a potential customer is ignored, the likelihood of a return visit has decreased significantly.
Ideas to Generate New Customers
Businesses in small towns may never have had to market their business. They used word of mouth as their sole advertising strategy. Those days are over. A business needs to be marketing to reach new consumers. They need to be able to survive in a failing economy or the business will be forced to close.
One marketing tool would be to run a small ad in the local newspaper. The ad should have a sale listed, or a coupon to bring to the store. Both would generate additional foot traffic, which could lead to increased sales.
Use the internet to set up a website marketing the business. The website should include the normal information such as name, address, phone number, hours, and a basic idea of the product or service the business provides.
Invest in an answering machine. Nothing is more frustrating than calling a business and no one answers. Is the business busy, or are they just not answering the phone to avoid questions? The caller can then leave a message and the business can call back at a more convenient time. An answering machine, along with a callback, is a key tool for small businesses to connect with potential clients, therefore, having the opportunity to gain another loyal customer.
Small Towns and Their Business
Businesses in smaller towns need to step it up. They cannot compete with the world-wide-web. If a customer does not receive exceptional customer service, is unable to contact the company (through a walk in or phone call), and does not feel the store wants their business, then the customer is more likely to turn to another business or the internet to fulfill their needs.