Local Marketing: The Positive Power of B2B Referrals
Building a successful local marketing strategy isn’t just about connecting and engaging with customers who buy your stuff. It’s also about tapping into the positive energy of a prime source of referrals that can help you increase sales and growth:
Your fellow small business owners.
Sometimes we get so caught up in marketing to customers it’s easy to overlook how other local SMBs help keep our businesses running with their products and services. We also forget that these vital connections are often willing and able to participate in one of the best word-of-mouth marketing strategies on our behalf: B2B referrals.
Think about SMBs in complementary occupations – the ones that your business couldn’t succeed without.
For example, consider real estate agents. The number of local business owners they rely on is often quite deep. They know carpet cleaning companies, housekeeping services, staging companies, event planners, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Or consider the local connections a wedding planner has with caterers, florists, graphic artists, and specialty boutiques. Now there’s a digital contact list that’s bursting at the seams.
Every small business owner in your community, including you, has a contact list of other local business owners. People whose expertise they rely on. And what’s the key ingredient that makes these B2B connections long-lasting?
Trust is a key component in the majority of these ongoing relationships. Trust that the other business owner always provides exceptional service in a timely manner. Trust that the other business owner has a vested interest in your success.
In local marketing, trust is everything. When you build trust by delivering reliable, honest, and exceptional service, you are building word-of-mouth marketing opportunities for everyone who buys from you.
Everyone loves to share a great experience, right? You tell your friends about the housekeeping service that makes your rental properties shine, the baker who supplies your café with fresh pastries every morning, and the website designer who built a landing page that actually grows your email list.
Now put those stories to work in your local marketing strategy. Tell other business owners about your great experience with that baker or website designer. Your referrals carry the weight of that trust. And they reap the benefits of greater brand recognition, increased sales, and additional business opportunities. For everyone involved.
Now is a great time to start promoting other businesses to your fellow SMBs as part of your local marketing strategy. And you don’t even have to walk the length of Main Street to get started.
We’ve gathered a list of spaces where you can find other small business owners connecting – online and offline – where the power of positive referrals can create the kind of engagement that leads to new opportunities.
This platform’s focus is on local business owners making connections right in their neighborhoods. Not everyone has time to walk the streets of their city and make face-to-face connections. Alignable offers the convenience of letting you make multiple connections in one space. Once you create your profile you can post referrals about fellow business owners for others to see.
Chamber of Commerce
If you have the time to go to regular meetings. They can be a great place to sing the praises of fellow SMBs. When you voice support for other business owners, it creates an atmosphere of reciprocity. This makes it easy for other members to seek you out for business opportunities or to refer you to their clients needing your specific services.
Sure, everyone wants to make top-level connections on LinkedIn – but those might not be the best marketing fit for your pet bakery in Tulsa, Oklahoma or your bookkeeping service in Tewkesbury, Massachusetts. Use LinkedIn to make contacts with fellow business owners right in your area. Recognize them for their accomplishments, like their articles, and comment about their positive impact on your business so your connections can get excited about them, too.
Setting up a Facebook Group for SMBs in your community is a great way to stay engaged with one another. (Or do a search to discover if there is an existing one that you can join.) It’s easy to recommend each other for opportunities in a group setting without it feeling like advertising. And group dynamics encourage lots of questions and answers that spark fresh ideas for local marketing.
If you use Twitter’s search function you can scout out other SMBs you know in your area and then follow them on Twitter. Retweet their useful posts. Rave about their services or products. When business owners start creating a sense of shared community online, it can foster more engagement out on Main Street.
Start (or join) a mastermind group for local business owners in your area. With today’s technology, you can schedule online monthly meetups via Zoom or Skype. This is a fun way to brainstorm marketing ideas and recommend each other’s services. Or get creative. Host a monthly breakfast or dinner meetup at one of your locations. This gives everyone an opportunity to experience each other’s business firsthand.
Invite other SMBs to join a campaign to give back to a local non-profit. Working together to achieve a singular goal like a sizeable donation, repairing rundown homes, or building a playground creates a positive team-building effect. Minus the need for rope climbing and sunblock. Afterward, your businesses have a higher profile in the community which acts as a referral source.
Touch base with your fellow SMBs and find out how you can help them with referrals. Do they have a new product launch coming up? Are they hosting an event? Are they offering some type of incentive for new customers? Is there a way for you to contribute that would benefit both of you?
Think outside the box.
Its second nature for us to refer fellow trusted business owners to friends, family, and customers who ask where they can find a great realtor, dentist, or tax preparer. But sometimes we forget to rave to each other about one another.
The more we find ways to work together, the stronger the foundations of our businesses and communities get. Local marketing isn’t always about the customer at the counter; it’s also about a lot of people like you, getting out of bed before sunrise, to go make the doughnuts.
Don’t overlook the positive power of B2B referrals. They make a difference.