For many small businesses, the summer season can be slow, as customers spend their time out of the store and on vacation. What you may lose in regular customers, though, you can earn in vacationers, if you know how to reach them. Fortunately, travelers are often actively searching for local businesses through online searches or word-of-mouth recommendations. With a few, simple tactics, you can turn the summer slump into the summer surge.
Get on the Map
When navigating a new city or looking for nearby attractions in an unfamiliar place, many travelers will head to Google Maps or Apple Maps from their mobile device. To make sure your business location appears in their searches, create or update your business’s profile through Google My Business or Apple Maps Connect. These services allow businesses with a physical address to claim or update their listings on the mobile maps. You can also provide important information for potential customers, like your business hours or reviews.
Keep the Reviews Coming
Positive reviews are crucial to connecting with travelers. Some of the most popular review sites and apps include Yelp and TripAdvisor. These databases list attractions, restaurants and stores based on a user’s search terms and business ratings. Encourage your customers to review your business on these sites so that your listing will appear near the top. Also, keep an eye on the reviews submitted for your business so you know what your customers like and don’t like. If you come across a negative review, use the app or website to respond to the unhappy customer, showing that you take customer service seriously and welcome the feedback.
Travelers need more than just your business when they come to town. Build a partnership with other traveler-friendly businesses, such as hotels, restaurants or tour companies, then work to cross-promote each other’s businesses. That way, travelers can learn about your business through a credible recommendation. You can sweeten the partnership by offering reciprocal discounts or incentives for customers. When you partner with other small businesses in this way, you generate word-of-mouth marketing for your business and you spread the buy-local cause throughout the community.
Many modern travelers, particularly millennials, love to share their vacation photos and stories on social media throughout the trip. For small businesses, there is no shortage of ways to connect with these travelers on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms. Be sure to have a robust Facebook and Instagram presence, such as a regularly updated business page, so that travelers can “check in” at your business when they post. This will create clickable content for their friends and followers to see, and it will help boost your business’s credibility on the site. If you advertise on Facebook and Instagram, make sure to use location-based targeting that allows you to reach people in the area of your business. This will help to capture traveling, as well as local, audiences.
Finally, Snapchat allows businesses and users to create filters, or artistic frames that users can add to their photos. You can create a filter easily by using Snapchat’s pre-made designs and selecting a radius around your business location. When you create a filter, Snapchat users in or near your business can opt to add the filter to their photos, allowing them to discover or share your business with their friends.
Independent We Stand is dedicated to helping independent businesses across the country engage their communities and encouraging customers to buy local. If you’re a business owner, get buy local resources, tips and news by registering for a business membership. Your business will also be included in our ‘locals only’ search engine and mobile app. If you’re a consumer, take the pledge to buy local to join the movement.