‘Buy Local’ and ‘Support Small Business’ are values that GetAssist highly regard, but what about the entrepreneur whose geographical community can not sustain his venture and whose services are not constrained by locality?
Business to business services such as website design, online marketing, finance, insurance, and consulting are all examples of offerings that can be executed remotely in today’s technological world. Video conferences and screen sharing services like Zoom, are FREE ministrations found easily on the Web that facilitate professional interaction not requiring travel. This is all well and good, but customer requests from far and wide don’t just fill your in-box like magic. A remote business has hurdles to clear to gain clients from a distance:
WHO IS OUT THERE?
Not able to walk down Main St., thumb through local directories, or go to local networking events? A little research is required to find the kind of customers who need you far and wide. Business Social Networks like LinkedIn can be helpful. Searching for business clients who may benefit from your services by keyword searches, joining target industry groups and offering solutions, and requesting connections is a good way to introduce your business. GetAssist’s Business Community encourages interaction and mutual support between members. Not only that, when someone Makes A GetAssist Request for the services you offer, you are notified of a potential new customer.
WHO KNOWS YOU ARE THERE?
Once the decision is made to offer services remotely, how will other businesses requiring your kind of help be able to find you?
– A Search Engine Optimized website is a must.
– Business Directory Listings online can be helpful, but they generally work on a location-based schema.
– Engaging on your brand’s public social network business pages, such as on Facebook and LinkedIn, can present a borderless presence. You can also reach many people given frequent activity on your part, and continual advertising dollars spent for visibility.
– Make sure that your website and any brand profiles communicate what provinces, states, and countries that you service.
On GetAssist, you pay once a year for the level of Business Membership features that you want – there are no ads. Engage other business members as often as you like in Communities that you join containing your target customers or ones that you create about your own industry to show your expertise.
The largest hurdle for an outlying business to overcome is the trust factor, which heavily influences a consumer’s decision to buy. Most of us have been raised not to talk to strangers, so parting with one’s money without face-to-face interaction is a big ask.
To build trust, everything about your online presence needs to encourage it:
– Keep your website up-to-date with warm pictures of you and your staff that are easily found.
– Your bio should be inviting and clearly prove you are uniquely qualified to do what you do, whether that be education, experience or both.
– All of your Directory Listings and Social Media Profiles should be complete, don’t let it look like you are leaving anything out to hide something.
– On social media, try not to be abrasive or talk harshly about or to others. Be approachable in your comments, so people are not afraid to push back or ask for more information.
– When email communications do start about your services, respond right away. Make potential clients feel like they can always get a hold of you, even though they can’t walk into your office, or may not be in the same time zone. If you are unable to address something right away, at least acknowledge receipt of the communication.
Recent data collected from Zendesk shows that customer service is the most important factor affecting trust in a company:
1. Participants ranked customer service as the #1 factor impacting vendor trust.
2. 62% of B2B and 42% of B2C customers purchased more after a good customer service experience.
WORD OF MOUTH
An honest Marketing professional will tell you that a new small business needs both traditional marketing and word-of-mouth marketing. Contemporary statistics prove Word-of-mouth marketing, which also influences trust, is one of the largest driving factors for purchases. WOM can happen face-to-face and online, especially with the rise of social media networks and review sites. But, WOM has been found to be most effective when it is someone the purchaser personally knows that is making the recommendation.
According to information put together by Data Charts:
1. An in-person recommendation increases the consumer’s perceived value of products by an average of 10.6% over a neutral in-person recommendation.
2. The lift in purchase incidence was found to be 9.3% from online shares via email or social media.
Find an Ambassador – A little online research can reveal a target location with many of the kinds of businesses that may need your services. Make contact with a proprietor or two and offer a deep discount to try your service in return for testimonials and recommendations.
You can energize ambassadors is to ask them to partner with you, whereby they will be paid a percentage of the first payment for services by someone they recommend. This is often referred to as a Joint Venture Agreement. Put it in writing to build and cement trust between you and your ambassador.
Oftentimes, if you have an embedded ambassador, that is just like being local yourself. One Marketing Design Solopreneur we interviewed gave an example of a client who lived in another province. Her client was trying to decide where to print the new material and said, “If you trust your local printer, I trust them. I like to use local small businesses, but I don’t know anyone in my area, it might as well benefit your community.” The remote service provider had built enough trust with her cross-border customer that they felt like they were part of the same community. In the end, both communities benefited from the relationship.
Get Assist provides a way for the entrepreneur, whose business does not require them to provide a B2B service in person, and whereabouts do not support their growth, to build their own community of patrons. Call the staff at GetAssist for help setting up a business membership, and direction how to connect with like-minded professionals to grow trust, create purposeful relationships and get the Word-of-mouth rolling.