My wife and I recently had dinner out with close friends. After a delicious meal, we got into a conversation about Bizyhood. Our friend Ira has a dental practice and I was impressed with the amount of work he had done on his own websites. I was also impressed that, with the help of a web-savvy friend, he made an investment in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He noted that he has gained new customers recently who “found” him by doing a Google Search for terms like “emergency dentistry”. SEO was working for him!
(1) Blogging – Ira didn’t understand blogging or how it could help him. After I described what we do here at Bizyhood with this blog, he replied “I don’t think I have the time or expertise to blog regularly. What are my options?” We then discussed one of the main purposes of blogging – to create current, compelling and meaningful content about your brand. This positions you as an “expert” in your field, and also gives Google great content that will likely enhance your ability to be found in organic searches.
The challenge is most small business owners like Ira do not have the time or expertise to blog regularly. You do have an alternative that is easy and effective: having your customers create content for you. This can be via feedback or questions that you can respond to. The great thing about this is that your customers come up with the topics that are most important to them. You answer or reply to this information, and Google sees all of it as fresh, compelling and relevant content. Having sold him on this idea, we moved on.
(2) Social Presence – Ira mentioned that he really needed to get his customers to Like him on Facebook, and we talked about other social networks and how/where they fit in. I suggested that it’s very tough to get customers to go to multiple social sites to communicate with a small business – but yet there are a lot of social sites that people go to discover – so how do you prioritize?
I explained that Bizyhood is shortly coming out with a social sharing feature – information that is created/posted on Bizyhood can be quickly and easily shared on multiple social networks so you don’t have to make your customers decide where to go. Have them come to Bizyhood, and then have them (and/or you) share relevant content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social sites.
(3) Referrals – Ira wants to be able to reward customers that refer new business to him. However, he doesn’t do it formally now, and he doesn’t know how to “institutionalize” such a program. Again, Bizyhood can help: we are working on a Referral/Loyalty management program for small businesses so he could manage this also on Bizyhood.
After hearing how Bizyhood can easily become his own personal way to communicate and network with his customers, Ira compared Bizyhood to LinkedIn specifically for his business. A business network, but for customers, not just colleagues, I added that Bizyhood also includes Customer Relationship Management (CRM) features, such as proactively reaching out to customers and getting feedback from them – all managed and measured by Bizyhood. Ira was pleasantly surprised when I showed him on my cell phone that his business was already listed on Bizyhood.
I enjoy talking to small business owners and getting their perspective on what they want and need to establish a strong and successful online presence. Even better when they are personal friends! I hope we have the opportunity to help Ira (and many others!) increase their online engagement with customers and provide a seamless online channel for their business.
Oh, and we told the owner of the restaurant about Bizyhood too, and gave her feedback on the spot!! 🙂