Finding new customers
The weather is finally starting to get warmer, which means that Vermont will once again be a destination for vacationers and tourists looking to spend those perfect New England summer days in our towns and by our lakes. As a business owner, you should be looking for ways to interact with and attract these tourists before they arrive through websites and social media.
Facebook and Twitter are great to continue engaging the customers who already know you exist and believe in your brand. The continued use of these social platforms keep your customers engaged and can create return customers. But what about the potential customers that don’t know you exist?
In 2012, potential customers do not simply open up a bound phone book to see what businesses are in town. Today’s consumer is not only looking for businesses through traditional advertising, but also in modern searchable and interactive ways. There are many different websites and social apps to help travelers sift through their options and read recommendations from friends and current customers.
Although there are various social apps and websites for different businesses, I want to recommend some for the business owner to help grow their current business. These sites may also help those traveling to research and plan their trips.
I have mentioned this in the past, but Yelp.com is the first website you should focus on. Yelp is a popular social review site where customers can post their personal reviews and experiences at your business, as well as rate you accordingly. The website allows business owners to create an account and manage the information on their business’ page. Yelp also allows visitors to search for businesses in a certain area. Therefore, if a traveler is planning a trip and does not know where to eat, shop, stay, etc., while in your area, this is a great place for them to search.
TripAdvisor.com, although aimed specifically at hotels, restaurants, flights, and rentals, is also one of the top go-to sites for planning your trip. If you fall into these categories, look into this site to make sure your business’ information is correct. For travelers, TripAdvisor is a great place to start planning your vacation and you may be able to find some great offers for your destination.
Groupon and LivingSocial are additional services to check out. Businesses can create special offers and deals for customers. Search for deals before visiting, which not only benefits you, but also the businesses around you. Tourists aren’t the only potential new customers that you could have, either. There may be locals from your town or the town over who have not been exposed to your business yet.
If you are a wedding vendor, sites like theknot.com and weddingwire.com are great places to advertise your business. These sites also allow users to recommend vendors of all kinds to other brides and grooms. Our area is a prime destination wedding area and engaged couples, both local and not, refer to these sites to find the perfect vendor. Tip: Make sure to specify how far from your home location you are willing to deliver to or travel.
No matter what business you are in, make sure that you are searching for the platforms that are specific to your business. Keep up with your current customers, as well as attempt to attract new ones. A good mix of traditional advertising and interactive platforms keeps your business fresh and moving forward.
Katye Robare Munger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.