from the Blog

Are You Feeding Your Customers?


WP_20160424_006I am sitting on the front porch gazing out at the bird feeder that hangs from a sweet gum tree in the yard.  It is swaying with the breeze – No visitors for hours – I mean birds.  I saunter out to the feeder and – Duh – the feeder is empty.

When I fill the bird feeder it takes several days before we start seeing our little winged visitors again. It seems like that once they find it full again it’s a lot like a red tag sale at (you choose your favorite outlet). The visitors quickly outnumber the available space at the feeder. I am not sure whether it is word of mouth or just the flurry of activity at the feeder. I wonder what the bird equivalent of instagram or snapchat is?

And although you are probably pretty impressed with my bird feeder, where is the value in this story for me?

Let’s talk about your business for a minute. Do days go by that you don’t have near the customers that you want. Is there limited or no activity?

  • Are you feeding them? Not literally of course, unless of course that fits your business and then, don’t forget the invite.
  • Do people know about your business?
  • Do they know your physical location or online location?
  • Are you creating opportunities for people to find you and stay engaged?
  • Are you providing new products, maybe repackaging old products or services in a unique and novel way to pique their interest?
  • Do you provide a product or service that is a staple that brings them back regularly?
  • Are your customers referring others to your business?

Here are just a few ideas on how you might feed your customers:

  • Have an open house. My favorite – call the local Chamber of Commerce and schedule a ribbon cutting to celebrate ‘something’ (talk to the membership rep and they can probably help you with ideas).  It’s not about the ribbon, it’s about the opportunity to make the pitch about your business. It’s about the opportunity to expose new people, prospective customers, to your business. It’s about the opportunity to promote your open house or ribbon cutting on social media before and after the event. It’s an opportunity to make a personal connection with a number of people in a short 15-30 minute window.
  • Feed your customers on social media with free content, advice and education tied directly or indirectly to your product or service. The gardening center that provides tips on pruning my fruit trees becomes my ‘go to’ place.
  • Send out a Press Release. I bet you have newsworthy things going on in your business – new hires, a team member wins an award, new products or service.
  • Provide opportunities for customers to talk about you – invite them to be part of your success. Actively ask for reviews. I had a friend ask me the other day for a review on a product we purchased from his business. His business is extremely successful and I think I found one of the reasons.
  • Differentiate yourself from your competition. What are you or your business the absolute best at? Brainstorm ways to capitalize on it (fyi – I love helping businesses with this).
  • Create a tradition in or around you business that is unique and perhaps makes it a destination. What about Taco Tuesdays? I remember a donut shop in my college days that did its best business from 1-3 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night. Thirty some odd years later and I still remember this as an event.
  • Hold events at your place of business. Pet stores are awesome at this. Every week (or so it seems) we are checking the local pet stores website or FB page to see if the Humane Society is there trimming doggie nails. We get a needed service, the dogs get to go for a ride, the Humane Society gets a donation, we are talking about it on FB (because that is what we do), AND the pet store probably makes a sale. At the very least they are now on our radar if we (or any of our friends) need pet supplies.

As I finish typing there is a pileated woodpecker in the tree suggesting that I stock up on some bird seed so that we can once again have a flurry of activity around my bird feeder.

This week consider some additional ways to feed your customers and prospective customers to create a buzz, and a flurry of visitors, around your business.

. . . . go have an Awesome Week!

Tom Trabue