How To Get More Online Bookings | #4 Community
According to recent research by Ultimate Finance, 73% of SME owners in the UK admit to feeling lonely and isolated. Since running your own business takes much time and effort, there’s often no leftover to spare on engaging with others, be it your very own customers or like-minded entrepreneurs.
Only a very small percentage of business owners are connected with others, even though networking and partnerships are pivotal, not only for local businesses but for companies operating worldwide or working in the digital space too.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to get more online bookings by building a community. We’ll briefly look at the benefits of having a community that gathers your customers, but the focus will be on how getting together with other SME owners can get you more business.
What are the benefits of building a community of customers?
Organizing a group of your customers has great benefits, such as more engagement around your product or service, brand advocacy and even better retention and customer loyalty.
The most important benefit, however, is probably getting to know and understand your customers better. Having a good understanding of who your customers are, why they chose your brand, what problem you are solving for them is something you can utilize to achieve perfect product-market fit.
Thanks to modern technology, you have more tools than ever at your fingertips to understand your customers. From satisfaction surveys, through customer interview scheduling software to review platforms, it has never been this easy to find out more about the relationship between your business and customers.
Building an online community, I believe, is the most insightful of all, though the most time-consuming too, as it requires constant looking after and engaging. You can gather your customers in an online forum, Twitter account, Facebook community or LinkedIn group depending on which one fits you best.
How to get more online bookings by building a community?
Your online customer community can increase loyalty and so the number of bookings one customer places. You can also raise brand ambassadors who will spread the word about your brand. But a customer community is just part of the puzzle.
Building a community of business owners in your area, physical or thematic, can actually help you get more online bookings and business.
How? Teaming up with fellow business owners will help reduce the isolation you all feel, and you can become more powerful together.
How to build and utilize your business community?
1. Invite your network
Regardless of how small or big your network of business owners is, invite them to your community if you can imagine any kind of benefit of having them around you.
Think about what is your relationship with these professionals and how you complement each other and how your products and services can be integrated to add up to wholesome customer experience.
Keep growing this network and gathering more and more partners.
2. Cater to your ideal customers
Stop competing and trying to win all the customers. In your business community, each business should have a very clear idea of their ideal customer’s profile and believe it or not, it won’t be exactly the same as yours.
Serve your “perfect customer” and send the other to a business community partner who can do this better. This will be a much better experience for the customer too and you’ll get the favor back.
For example, let’s say that you are a wedding photographer who usually does romantic settings, secession and Braque style weddings and a couple who’s planning a modern wedding with industrial elements approaches you. You might be better off referring them to another colleague, who can provide them with better service. The couple will be delighted to find the right fit, surely they will send their friends to you when they are looking for a romantic style wedding and your colleague will do the same for you.’
3. Serve your peers
Let’s stay at the photographer example. As a wedding photographer, your peers might be wedding venues, flower shops, makeup artists, hairdressers, cake shops, etc. Make sure to build a good relationship with these peers, include them in your business community and refer clients to each other.
Make sure to give them a shoutout every now and then on social media, tag them in in your posts, so their customers can get to know your work too.
Building a business community can be a great way to get more online bookings and acquire new customers, once you realize that you don’t need to compete for the same customers and one customer can be associated with more businesses.
Did you know that this article is the second part of the ‘How to get more online bookings’ series? If you don’t want to miss out on new episodes, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter. Also, check out the other episodes…
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Anna, whose middle name is Hashtag, is an enthusiastic Digital Marketing Executive. She drinks her coffee with cream and Instagram, retweets (almost) every fun fact about koalas and never misses an interesting Facebook webinar about exciting new features. She aims to collect and share the utmost interesting content. And she's also the one, who jumps up and down if we have a new follower on social media.
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