If you practice marketing, you have probably become familiar with Seth Godin’s work. In his book, Permission Marketing, Godin introduced us to the “5 Steps to Dating Your Customer,” providing marketers a new way to look at their interactions with customers. Much like in dating, customers will research a brand online before the first encounter. A brand marketers’ job is to make the customer feel like they are getting into a relationship built on trust.
The way we see it, there have been different eras of marketing over the years. First, there was the traditional era, with several avenues including print advertising and outreach. Then as Digital creeped into daily life, an era of social emergence on the internet, where brands learned to target and personalize to users based on their habits and social communities. And now with 90% of American adults owning a mobile device, we have reached the age of location-based marketing. Now more than ever, there is an opportunity to use these hyperlocal user habits to personalize, resonate and connect with consumers on the path to purchase. In this journey, courting the customer takes time, effort and scaleable technologies.
We have revamped Godin’s 5 Steps to Dating a Customer into 5 steps of courting your local customers. Unlike dating, courting implies that you can gain and retain lifetime customers.
Give them a reason to pay attention to you
When a customer is searching online for a brand’s products or services, they have a high intent to buy. Marketers should power their data to satisfy this intent and begin the process of courtship. Stand out on SERPs (search engine results pages) by boosting SEO with your local pages and business locators. Use Schema.org markup to highlight sales and promotions and enrich your local real estate. Additionally, make sure all of your location data is current, accurate and consistently updated on your local properties - including online listings. The more listings your brand has claimed its location data on, the more opportunities consumers will have to find store locations on their path to purchase.
Don’t play games-- give customers a sense of your brand culture
With tens, hundreds or even thousands of locations, brands can often seem cold, quick and unapproachable to local customers. This can speak volumes about a brand’s culture and translate into bigger conversation online. When other customers search you through social media or review channels and see that people had trouble engaging with employees or the brand itself, it deters them and ultimately limits a brand’s ability to acquire the maximum number of customers.
Show customers some love online and offline. Include them within your local landing pages and social channels. On these properties branded properties, display your commitment to each local community with photos, events, and local-specific facts that will compel users to engage with you. With social media and reviews, have a strong review management and moderation strategy in place so that users are aware that you are responsive across all locations. Finally, bring those suggestions and comments full circle by using them as a reference point to modify your store locations and customer service tactics.
Open Up With Advertising
Help customers understand your focus on local satisfaction
When your brand is courting a customer, you have to go the extra mile to ensure it is visible. Aside from using organic search for data peacocking, you can also use your small data to make your advertising more actionable and insightful for searchers. Using search advertising, you have the ability to capitalize on user intent and provide customers with the exact information they are hoping to find on your brand. Regardless of what vertical you market to, you can include actionable buttons like clicks to call, directions or even localized content that satisfies the intent of the consumer.
Give customers a reason to keep coming back
Using display advertising, you have the opportunity to retarget using a custom tailored approach. Treat them right and reward them for their commitment to your brand. You can get even more granular and targeted using visuals on display advertising. In contrast to national ads, display advertising can offer localized coupons or loyal customers nearby. These ads are built off of localized keywords that can redirect users to your landing pages and locators for the latest updates on your nearest location.
Leverage customer interest by getting social
Just because we are past the hype of social media, doesn’t mean that its penetration should be overlooked. Keep the conversation going after a purchase on social media with local contests and giveaways that encourage your local customers to check-in to your locations.Building a strong base of checkins, star ratings and reviews. 88% of customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Show customers some love and don’t let them feel ignored when they express their frustrations. This courtship is a 2-way street: consider dashboard like Review Management that help you better listen to customer sentiment and use these conversations to better resonate at the local level. Monitor customer feedback to improve customer service, tailor your engagement strategy and tweak your brand messaging at the local level.
Courtship isn’t easy---but with clean data and the right technology, it’s a proven way to create lifetime local customers and drive your bottom line. Benchmark your efforts throughout the courtship with a free trial of Brandify.