Business retention is important in any community, and it is an endeavor where your EDO should make a continuous effort. In order to have a successful retention strategy, it’s crucial to have the right tools at hand so that your businesses can find continued success in your community and know that they have an EDO dedicated to assisting their efforts and invested in their future. In this blog, we will discuss tools and strategies you can apply during the retention stage of the marketing funnel.
Use Social Media as a Primary Tool
Social media is a powerful tool that your organization can use to its advantage. Posting regularly about your organization and local businesses increases your online presence, provides opportunities for post likes and shares, more likes and follows to your page, and helps you promote your businesses and community. It also shows that you care about your businesses and are invested in them.
Try posting a variety of content—and utilize your different platforms. Facebook and Instagram may be more effective for retail and restaurants, while LinkedIn can work better for industries such as manufacturing and technology. Content should be engaging and relevant and include features such as business of the month, events, contests/giveaways, and news (including expansions, sales/promotions, and new products and employees), seasonal promotions (AC specialist or creamery during the summer), and more.
Post content can vary and include graphic and video content such as tours, interviews, and product/service demonstrations. Additionally, you can share your businesses’ posts with some positive commentary! Be sure to include a captivating call to action to drive further interest in their business and its products and services, tag the business page you are mentioning, and direct your audience to visit their social profile, website, and place of business.
Promoting local businesses on social media can also aid in your attraction efforts. Posting to your channels opens a line of communication and expands your marketing reach far outside your city and county, allowing prospects from all over to see the types of businesses and products your community offers.
Cross-Promote Your Local Businesses
Like social media, cross-promotion can be a key strategy when it comes to promoting and retaining your local businesses. It can help you attract new target audiences, create partnerships, increase local business sales, and show support. Cross-promotion can help grow your (and your businesses’) audiences on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube and your website or blog.
You can also serve as a liaison to facilitate partnerships between complementary businesses (businesses whose non-competing services or products relate to and serve the same target audiences). For example, a health and wellness store that sells supplements or an athletic clothing supplier would benefit from a partnership with a local gym, and a local brewery could benefit from a partnership with a restaurant that serves craft beer.
Again, you want to ensure that you are utilizing the proper channels to reach target audiences effectively and post quality content that is relevant and engaging to the business’s followers. For example, video content can be beneficial for Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, while longer, text-focused content could work well for your website, blog, or LinkedIn article. Utilize your content to strategically promote across multiple platforms, with content adjusted specifically for each platform, reaching larger, more diverse audiences.
Web Highlights and Business Listings
Success stories, case studies, and business listings are another effective way to align your organization with local businesses and draw attention to your community. Try posting a highlight or a short, engaging post with an eye-catching graphic or video to your social platforms, which you can link to your website so your audience can learn more. By promoting your businesses and their successes, you are marketing the advantages of doing business in your community.
Business listings are another cost-effective way to give your local businesses online visibility, greater opportunities, and promote your community as a whole. It can drive traffic to your website and your businesses' websites and create a platform for reviews and referrals. Additionally, featuring your local businesses can help boost SEO rankings. This can be as simple as adding a listing to your EDO, city, or chamber website.
Marketing Training for Local Businesses
Assisting your businesses in their marketing efforts through training is another key retention strategy. Training can be executed in a variety of ways, like hosting a class or workshop, including webinars or in-person classes, and creating informational videos to post on social, YouTube, or your website. Hiring an influencer or marketing professional to speak at your event is another way to educate your businesses and provide a stimulating experience. Make sure any event you host is active and engaging by incorporating a Q&A and enabling chat and record your webinars or courses so you can update and repurpose them. Recording your sessions also ensures that your content and information are accessible when your businesses need them.
Topics your organization can cover during your training session could include marketing strategy, digital and paid advertising, content creation (both visual and copywriting) for social media, website, print, and videography, branding/brand positioning, customer service, current marketing trends, and best practices for online reviews. You can also reach out to your businesses and see if there is anything they specifically need help with.
Having a well-developed retention strategy and the right tools at hand will help you establish and foster positive, long-term relationships with your local businesses, providing them with the opportunity to thrive in your community. Lifting up and promoting the businesses you already have doesn’t just benefit them—it also benefits you as it lets prospects know that you are dedicated to your community’s success.
Need help with social media strategy and content? EDSuite can help you plan a strategic campaign and create content and assets such as copywriting, graphics, photography, and videography.