It’s a hard, competitive marketplace and the social media world hasn’t made it any easier. You used to be able to offer your customers an incredible LSM value and it might take a week for the competition to learn about it, much less match it. But today, social media makes your offer known in a matter of minutes. Obviously, this can help your business, but it also makes it really easy for your competition to take the wind out of your Local Store Marketing sails and “better the offer”.
In order to brunt competitive pressures, you are going to have to rely on Local Customer Engagement that truly connects with your customers. Something that makes a difference to your customers personally. Here are five key ways to win on the competitive front.
#1 Put Your Best Foot Forward and Keep It!
Your employees are your best product ambassadors. They represent your brand in the local community. Train them. Teach them your “business story”. Motivate them. Offer them discounts and free items. And make sure you pay your best employees more than what the competition is offering. If you don’t, you might soon see them working at the competitor’s location.
#2 Have Fun!
Show that you love what you do and that you enjoy coming to work. Encourage your managers to do the same. Have some fun and let your employees put a smile on their customers’ faces. I remember managing a team during a particularly stressful period—we were incredibly busy and it was tough to have fun enjoying what we did. We decided to lighten up the mood a bit with a “Crazy Hat Day”. Well, the hats that appeared rivalled the Kentucky Derby… on its worst day—-they were hilarious! Everyone had fun and it helped make our business the most fun place to work. Our customers loved it too—some even came back with friends, just to see the crazy hats.
#3 Use Loyalty Offers
Give your customers a reason to come back to you again and again. It might be a loyalty offer on your mobile app, a punch card that tracks purchases or Buy a Certain Number and Get One Free—whatever you can think of that will keep your customers coming back. When you are facing tough competition, you’ll want to encourage customer loyalty and rewarding customers for that loyalty is key.
#4 Empower Random Acts of Kindness
A few weeks ago, I heard a story about a McDonald’s drive-thru that maintained a “Pay it forward” chain of good deeds for 167 cars. At one point, one of the customers was going to break the chain, so the employees chipped in to pay for the next order and kept the chain going. These random acts of kindness motivated the employees and I’m sure the customers felt that McDonald’s was just a little more special because their customers and their employees are obviously special if they are going to do something like that. Empower your managers to convey random acts of kindness, when the opportunity presents itself. Whether it’s to start a “Pay it Forward” chain of good deeds. Buy flowers to give your customers. Or help a customer to their car when they have a child and a full shopping cart. These acts will help your business stand out to your customers.
#5 Support Your Community
It takes a village….and your business is part of that village. Show your support of the community by offering your meeting room as a place that organizations can meet. Sponsor the local little team. Host a fundraiser for the local elementary school computer lab. Let the high school cheerleaders hold a car wash in your parking lot. Pay your employees to volunteer during the local clean-up the environment event. Make sure that your customers know that this is your community, as well as theirs, and that you are proud to be a part of it.
Interested in learning more about creating LSM plans for your franchise or multi-unit business? Check out Steps to Creating a Local Store Marketing Plan. #LSM #LocalCustomerEngagement #SalesBuildingIdeas
One thought on “5 Key Ways to Win with Local Customer Engagement: Differentiating Yourself from the Competition”
So smart. And so human. Very refreshing and valuable advice from a really smart woman who knows of what she speaks.