Locally owned businesses like the Coffee Tree in downtown Loveland, Colo., bring in the crowds as a big attraction point on Main Street, which in downtown is Fourth Street. Sarah Menzies, a barista at the coffee shop, greets a line of customers on a busy Friday.
By Shelley Widhalm
The restaurants, coffee shops, bars and retail outlets that outline any main street in any city have multiple stories to tell.
But do those stories get any traction? Are you as a business owner waiting for a newspaper to release your latest news?
You can act as the reporter and gather information to tell your unique story through blogs, articles, social media and other written content. Stories result in engagement, encouraging curiosity about what’s next. What is your latest deal? Do you have any new products or services? Are you hosting a special night out such as an open mic or comedy or musical entertainment? What got you started in the first place? When were you founded? Who are your owners? What sets you apart?
Branding Your Story
As you tell your story, keep it consistent and aligned with your brand and what you offer.
Blogging helps build Search Engine Optimization—ideal is twice a week to generate content but even weekly or monthly will suffice, especially if it is a regular and expected posting.
Blogging boosts your business platform, while also providing you with a free form of marketing. As you tell your story, you also demonstrate your expertise and authority in a niche. You develop a relationship with your readers and convert some of them to customers. They see why you are the best to offer what you offer.
Other social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest help you engage with existing and future customers in a shorter format. Blogs can be a couple hundred to a thousand words or more, while social media posts can be a few sentences or characters. Posting to social media doesn’t take as much of a time investment, but also can be a free or low-cost way to market but not actively sell your products.
Again, you can feature your back story, promotions, special events and any reviews. You can seek customer feedback on existing and new product offerings or gather ideas about customer preferences. Customers feel valued and that their opinions matter when you incorporate and promote their feedback.
Other things you can do include contests and online promotions to incentivize customers to view your pages, such as a happy hour or special of the month. Or give out a coupon, gift card or product for the winner of a photo contest doing something exciting with your product or in your shop.
Some additional advantages of blogging and social media include:
- Putting you in front of your customers, serving a similar purpose as an ad or marketing materials.
- Building a relationship with your audience through regular connection.
- Separating you from your competition.
By telling your story, you make your business look personal and inviting. Customers will want to come to your door, not just once but as your best regulars.
Note: I provide editing, writing and ghostwriting services and can help you perfect your project from a short story to a novel. I also offer consultations on writing and editing through #ShellsInkServices.