This is Day 27 of 28 Days of Building Fierce Loyalty. On Friday, the one and only Liz Strauss gave us 12 Ways to Connect With a Community of Fiercely Loyal Fans. If you haven’t starting put those into action, what’s your holdup?! Today, Barry Moltz and Becky McCray, co- authors of the soon-to-be-released book Small Town Rules, show us how building fierce loyalty can be as simple as focusing on our local roots.
Build Loyalty by Being Local
It is almost useless for a small business owner these days to compete by having the best product. There is always a larger, better funded, or more innovative company somewhere in the world that will beat you to it. Actually, the key to your success is to forget about having the best product. (with apologies to Steve Jobs) Instead compete for your customer’s loyalty. Most people are lazy consumers and would rather not switch to a new company. The customer may feel frustrated with their cable company, but the switching costs of inconvenience are too high to typically make a change.
Successful small businesses compete by rewarding their customers’ loyalty. This became famous when American Express put a date on their charge card which said “Member since 1981”. Wow… Not just a customer, but a valued member for all these years. One easy way to win the loyalty battle is to offer great customer service. In a world with no real boundaries for commerce, customer service becomes the only real sustainable advantage.
There is another way to gain customer loyalty by focusing on your business’ local roots. Studies show that consumers would much rather buy local, than from some anonymous company in another part of the world. Every small business has some local connections to work with. Manufacturers can “be local” by using local materials, buying from local suppliers, and incorporating local characteristics into products. Retailers can not only carry local products, but also reflect local tastes and tailor the shopping experience to local people.
Struggling to define local (urban and rural)? Small businesses get help from the “Eight Elements of Rural Culture” developed by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. http://www.kansassampler.org/rce Any product or promotion can be developed with local characteristics built in from the beginning.
A competitor may beat you on price or on innovation, but no one can be “more local” to your customers than you can.
What can you do right now to add more “local” to your business?
Barry Moltz helps small business owners get unstuck. His latest book is called, Small Town Rules, coauthored with Becky McCray which how small businesses and big brands can prosper in a connected economy. http://www.barrymoltz.com
Becky McCray is a business owner and speaker from Alva, Oklahoma, who focuses on small town business issues. Together. Together with Barry Moltz, she co-wrote Small Town Rules (smalltownrules.com) about how the whole business world is like a small town and what we can learn from rural business successes. The book is due out from Que Publishing in early April.
P.P.S. Just in case you missed my announcement about my only live coaching retreat in 2012, you can catch up on the details (like there are only going to be 10 people there) and grab your seat here: http://escaping-mediocrity.com/entrepreneur-expedition-live-retreat/