BBB On Wright Stuff Radio: Maintaining Customer Relations

Better Business Bureau’s Chief Innovation Officer Dale Dixon joins Brandon Wright on his show Wright Stuff Radio to discuss how to get the most out of your business affiliations.

Other topics include: working with difficult customers and maintaining business relationships.

Wright Stuff Radio connects small businesses through education, business stories, and controversial topics. You can listen every Saturday at 2 p.m. MT on KIDO. BBB is a sponsor of this segment.

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Podcast: 7 Ways to Research a Business Before Hiring Them

In today’s BBB serving the Northwest podcast we discuss seven ways to research a business before hiring them. Listen below to learn how to avoid fake businesses looking to scam you out of your money.

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Podcast: How to Market Your Restaurant Online

In this month’s podcast David Quinlan, Vice President of Marketing, talks about the best way for restaurants to market themselves online.

Marketing your restaurant online may require a new approach to make your business stand out from the crowd, but the right combination of methods can be extremely beneficial.

Subscribe to our blog to get updates on future podcasts!

How Small Businesses Can Run Local Events to Build Awareness and Sales

By David Quinlan, Vice President of Marketing at BBB Northwest

In today’s BBB Northwest podcast, we take a look at how small businesses can build brand awareness and sales by simply giving back to the community. Listen below or continue reading for a full look at how to utilize these partnerships.

As more small businesses turn to social media and digital marketing to build their customer base, the need for sponsored local events seems to disappear into the background. Many fail to realize that every small business has a huge advantage in marketing and sales at their feet: community. Community can be developed in a number of different ways, from solid branding and word of mouth to great product and dedicated customers, and is becoming one of the biggest influences in inbound marketing today. But while building an expansive online community is important, it should never be done at the expense of cultivating the most important community available: the locals.

Local customers are often the most loyal, and they respond positively to community presence. Presenting a name and face to the locals shows that a small business is dedicated to their customers and actively cares about what those customers want and need from the business. This community isn’t easy to build, and it won’t happen overnight, but with some commitment, creativity, and a few awesome events, it can prove to be the most effective form of marketing available by turning even the smallest business into a local landmark.

Small Business Events Blog & Podcast 3.31.16

The What and Where

First it’s important to decide what kind of event to sponsor and what the desired outcome will be. The event should be relevant to the anticipated audience of the company and should never leave anyone questioning “Why is this guy here?” like Captain Morgan sponsoring a kid’s soccer team. Think about what type of message to deliver to the local community and then how to get that message out there. This could be an investment banker giving a seminar at the community center on long term investments, a cooking class for single parents at a restaurant, a city wide chili cook off sponsored by a grocery store, or even a classic car show put on by the local mechanic and an insurance agent. The key is being creative and taking the time to really question the needs of the community as well as the business. If selling products is the goal, host the event in house or at a relevant event. If it’s about thanking the regulars, then maybe host a dinner at a local restaurant. Be smart, be creative.

The When and Why

To make an event effective it needs to be held at the right time and for the right reasons. Hosting an event during the day when everyone is at work or on a busy holiday when they’re tied up with family is not the smartest way to maximize an audience. Consider other events in the area to avoid any conflicts or use them to your advantage. Also keep in mind the purpose for the event. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of hosting a business mixer at a bar, but don’t forget the purpose of being there in the first place: exposure. Work the room, make introductions, and let everyone know who the face of the business really is.

The How

Once a location and time have been set, it’s important to think through any red tape that may arise. Does the location you chose require a permit? How many people are likely to attend and will RSVP’s be necessary? Are there enough products on hand? What kind of budget is available? Will extra staffing be required? The more logistical issues that are dealt with before they come up, the smoother the event will run.

Once Murphy’s Law is taken care of, start promoting. Reach out to the community with flyers, social media, word of mouth, store signs, online ads, local bloggers and media outlets, etc.

Reach Out, Follow Through, and Read the Results

It’s important to capture as much potential customer information as possible both before and during the event. Have a clip board handy for guests to sign in on or drop everyone’s business card into a hat or fish bowl. Hand out flyers asking about guest experience or with a coupon code for joining the mailing list. But be sure to follow up. Make the calls, send the emails, and get in touch with future customers again after all is said and done. Then take a moment to sit back and understand the results. Was the event successful? Why or why not? What can be changed for next time?

Putting in the Time

Supporting the community doesn’t always produce immediate money, but the long term benefits far outweigh the costs. A Saturday here and there may need to be sacrificed, and there may be the occasional late night, but once people in the community start to recognize you by name and start asking how business is, it’s easy to see that every event was all worth it in the end.

 

Utilizing Business Partnerships for Growth

Handshake - Business deal concept

By David Quinlan, Vice President of Marketing at BBB Northwest

In today’s BBB Northwest podcast, we takes a look at how small businesses can leverage the power of partnerships to foster growth initiatives. Listen below or continue reading for a full look at how to utilize those partnerships.

Before you jump in and get too excited about the opportunities that partnerships can present you and your business, you also have to think about the following:

  • What are you trying to accomplish with this partnership? More specifically, how will it help you market and sell your offerings?
  • What type of partnership would be the best fit? You want to make sure that the partnership is mutually beneficial. You also want to make sure that you both share a similar vision when it comes to growing your businesses.

So here are some quick tips on why utilizing partnerships will help with business growth:

Tip #1: Increase Company Awareness

Partnerships can help you expand into different markets, establish new distribution channels, and grow new revenue streams while helping to increase your company’s awareness. This will help you gain exposure with new customers who haven’t heard about your company. What does this all mean? Well, by working with another business that is aligned with what you have to sell, you can both expand your reach and promote your products/services without having to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on advertising.

Tip #2: Co-Marketing Opportunities

No longer are you on your own when it comes to running a local event, an educational webinar and even a contest or giveaway. You’re now in a position to market your company faster than you’d be able to by going through the traditional advertising route. As such, you will then reach potential customers faster, in untapped markets that would otherwise take more time and money to penetrate.

Tip #3: Build Credibility

It’s a no brainer that the partnerships you build will surely be with businesses who are credible. Doing so will help increase your own credibility and in turn, build trust among your customers as well as your potential customers. Therefore, creating that “great first impression” is already a hurdle you’ve jumped over and can focus on initiatives that will drive more sales.

Tip #4: Cost Savings

Aside from just utilizing partnerships to gain awareness and grow sales, partnerships can also serve as a major cost savings. These cost savings could be around the following items:

  • Office supplies.
  • HR specific functions like payroll and employee engagement.
  • Technology discounts on things like Internet, marketing and CRM software, IT help, and much more.

Tip #5: Gain Competitive Edge

Understand where your strengths and weaknesses are compared to the competition. From there, push to build partnerships with companies that make up for your weaknesses and can fill in the gaps to help you gain a competitive edge. Here’s a simple example, let’s say you run a roofing business and you know how to do your job well, but one of the gaps within your ability to grow faster is the fact that you may not have an automated process for people to schedule consultations, which is causing you to miss new opportunities and even calls. As such, you can partner with a technology company that can automate this process for you so that you aren’t losing any sales. And in turn, you can pay this partner a percentage of the sale that comes through.

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Now to wrap it up, I want to share how we’ve leveraged partnerships here at BBB Northwest. One of our biggest partnerships is with the Portland Trailblazers. As you can imagine, nailing down an NBA sponsorship is extremely pricey – unless you co-op. Cooperative advertising is a cost-effective way for manufacturers, retailers or distributors to reach their target markets. At BBB we were able to leverage a three-year partnership with the Blazers with the help of our BBB Accredited Businesses. Collectively – we have been able to expand our brand and message on a larger platform at a fraction of the cost. CLICK HERE to read more about BBB’s partnership with the Blazers.

Remember, aligning your business with the right partnership can improve your reputation, help evolve your products/services and allow you to tap into new markets at a minimal cost.

Want more info? Subscribe to our blog to read more on how to leverage partnerships, execute goals that are better for business and for upcoming podcasts.

Podcast: Five Money Saving Tax Tips for Small Businesses

We are excited to bring you our first podcast, featuring our Vice President of Marketing, David Quinlan!

The tax season is a difficult sea to navigate for any company, but it can be an especially unique challenge for small businesses. While you may have until April to file your taxes, tax preparation should be a yearlong process. Follow these five tips to give your small business a simpler tax season with less stress.