One of the things that small business owners often forget is the fact that customers come to a small business often for the experience, not just for the products or services that are offered.
Yet many small businesses don’t capitalize on that fact.
Instead, they try to act like large sterile non-personal corporations.
Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about.
I was recently in Park City, Utah with my wife and family.
We had made the one hour drive from home specifically to walk Main Street.
For those of you unfamiliar with the place . . .
Park City is a high-end ski resort town that caters to upscale lifestyles and wealthy vacationers.
Like Vail, Aspen, or Breckenridge, it offers quaint shops, $15 hamburgers, beautiful vistas and visitor friendly walking paths.
For my wife and daughters, Main Street in Park City offers the ultimate chance to explore unique shops, trendy boutiques, and little “hole in the wall” stores that offer very pricey but “fun to browse” items.
The girls always come away with a few little trinkets and goodies from their Park City shopping, but that’s not the purpose for walking Main Street.
They can always buy better value products closer to home.
They go to Park City because they like to see how others live. They want a “taste” of the environment of the rich and famous.
They like to wander through the shops for the experience, “the feel,” and the chance to see a movie star, or have a picture taken at a famous landmark.
So it is with potential customers visiting a unique, “funky” little small business web site.
Many come initially for the experience as they explore fun spots to hang out rather than looking for certain products to buy.
Maybe they’ve heard about this cool little web site that caters to one of their interests or passions and they want to stop by for a leisurely visit – to see what’s there.
They’ll come through your front door, have a look around, browse through your bargain bin (free valuable offers) and probably leave without buying on the first visit. But that’s OK, right?
The questions I pose to the business owner are these:
1. Were you prepared to welcome this type of guest? Is your web site customer-friendly? Easily navigated? A fun place to hang out?
2. Did you somehow capture the name and email address of the visitor so you can follow up at a later time?
3. Did you offer something of value to your guest and some type of incentive or reason to return again?
4. Did you show off your personality, your human side, and did you offer to be a new-found friend?
Since you operate in a small niche, you can assume that your new prospect has some level of interest in your subject and chances are pretty good that she will join in your community if she finds the experience useful, fun, or of some type of value.
5. Did you provide a way for the prospect to interact with your site or the members of your community? If they feel like they can become part of your group (an insider) they will be sure to return again.
6. Did you do anything to make it easy for this visitor to tell her friends about your web site and business?
Viral marketing, or even referral marketing (if it doesn’t go viral) can often be the lifeblood of small niche businesses that are deeply focused and cater to passionate and dedicated customers.
7. Did you follow up with a personal note to thank the visitor for stopping by and invite her back for a special opportunity coming in the near future?
There are lots of creative ways to “hook” and keep dedicated niche customers.
But if you don’t prepare your business to receive them and cater to their wants, you may miss out on the only visit they ever make.
What do you think?
To your online business success!