Thursday, March 26, 2015

Reaching out

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     Managing your business means you must reach out to the community. Stay in touch with those you serve, and tap into new streams of clients and customers. 

     Today, reaching out has changed. Newspaper and phone book ads are no longer as effective as they once were. Ads in specialty publications, however--especially those that are locally directed--can reach out into those new communities you want to serve. 

     But social media has provided a quantum shift in how you reach out. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and others get you in front of eyeballs that no longer read newspapers and phone book ads. These are easy to use and, for the most part, free.

     A Facebook page is a very effective way to reach out and keep in touch. You should be posting pictures frequently of your creations--artists and artisans, bakers and chefs, landscapers and more. Shop owners can post pictures of racks of clothing, cases of jewelry, newly arrived goods, cones of yogurt and squares of chocolate. And anyone can post photos of street scenes, parades, car shows, flea markets, and your newly decorated window. 

     There's more--think selfies and apps. Selfies can be fun. Pictures of yourself can be entertaining and remind clients and customers who you are and that you are there for them. Setting up your own app can make it easy for hungry customers to order ahead and have their meals ready when they arrive at your restaurant. 

     Emails sent to your regulars can be effective in announcing upcoming sales--and other events. Too many emails can be a turn-off, however. Emails should be about your client's and customer's interests, not yours. Keep it brief. 

     Blogs and newsletters can be effective in certain markets. Blogs can be informative and descriptive. They can announce new developments in your industry. A health food store owner can discuss natural foods and the nutritional value of eating fresh. A wellness expert can explain how pain can be managed, how to lose weight, and the value of exercise on body systems. 

     A blog or newsletter is not a personal diary for you. It is feeding the thirst out there for the knowledge you have. Blogs and newsletters posted on your website are marketing tools, and they concentrate on subjects the reader is interested in. Attorneys, accountants, consultants, medical experts and others can explain in depth the ways in which they can help clients. And this attracts referrals.

     Keep in touch, but do it smart. You don't want to come across as a nuisance. Keeping in touch with short reminders, colorful and fun pictures, and clear explanations of some aspect of your business can go a long way to get you growing.

     Done right, your clients and customers will appreciate being reminded of who you are and what you can do for them. And they will refer others to you. 

     To grow, you want to extend your reach in the communities you want to serve. Keeping in touch using social media is a valuable method to have in your toolbox.    


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