Local businesses – Your Customer’s Decision Journey

For large brands, a customer’s decision journey (from McKinsey Quarterly) looks like this:

Tradition brands - Customer Decision Journey
Tradition brands - Customer Decision Journey

To get in the initial consideration set, businesses have to spend money on TV/Newpaper/Radio advertising, coupons or search engine campaigns. Most of these options do not work for local businesses because:

  1. Local businesses get customers from a 2-mile radius.
  2. Groupon and other coupons etc. might drive customers from a little farther but these customers will typically not come back (expand the 2 mile radius to 5 miles).
  3. Traditional TV/Radio advertising is expensive to produce, hard to target and impossible to measure. Given the huge upfront investment and wasteful targeting, its not really an option for most business.
  4. Local newspapers used to work but with the advent of the internet their circulation and effectiveness is declining.
  5. Search engine marketing is interesting but most customers do not discover restaurants via search engines. (When was the last time you searched for and clicked on an ad for a local restaurant)? In addition, because of the time and expertise it takes to get your campaigns right, its not a viable option for most customers.
  6. Search engine optimization is an interesting approach that can work but customers need a content strategy and SEO expertise to leverage this approach. Search engine optimization based on fresh content from user reviews is how Yelp! gets so much traffic and influence.
  7. Facebook campaigns is another approach that is available to businesses but again it takes time and effort. In addition nobody really knows how to measure the ROI from these expensive campaigns.

The only thing that has worked for local businesses has been word-of-mouth marketing. Good restaurant owners know the value of spending table-time with the customers as it drives repeat and referral traffic. For local businesses the customer decision journey looks like the following:

Restaurants: Loyal customers drive referrals
Restaurants: Loyal customers drive referrals

Since referrals are the main way to acquire customers for local businesses, encouraging and engaging loyal customers is more important than ever. Punchh’s social loyalty program enables the EEARS™ (engage, empower, amplify, refer and sustain) process for businesses to:

  1. Engage: Businesses can engage their customers with a mobile-phone based loyalty program. Forget about complex points schemes that most users have no idea about, Punchh’s simple punchh card approach makes sure that customers always know the score and are fully engaged.
  2. Empower: Loyal customers to local businesses are interested in having a conversation. These customers think of a local restaurant as an important part of their life. This means that with Punchh, when you empower customers to review your locations and ask for feedback, you hear a lot of voices. Punchh enables users to post these reviews directly on their facebook walls and allows businesses to directly address any service issues with customers before they become bigger problems.
  3. Amplify: Loyal customer reviews provide a business with an important and valuable content source. Businesses can use this content to repost it to their facebook wall or twitter feed or even on their website to drive engagement in the community. After all, there is no better way to market your business than to show real customer testimonials. In addition, by using customer reviews and posting them on their website, businesses can drive organic search ranking for great SEO rankings.
  4. Refer: Your loyal customers already like your business. With Punchh businesses can now reward these customers who drive referrals with extra punchhs or free food. This finally provides local businesses a way to incentivize real referrals in a natural way. In addition, by using Punchh businesses can enable social campaigns like gifting, invitations, group rewards and charity campaigns to really drive new and repeat business, all in a fully measurable fashion.
  5. Sustain: Once customers are signed up with Punchh, businesses can re-engage these customers by sending them context specific email campaigns like “Hey haven’t seen you for 2 months, come back and earn an extra punchh” etc. Businesses can also bring customers back with automatic location sensitive alerts such as “Hey, Looks like you are in the neighborhood, you already have 3 punchhs… Come in and get more punchhs towards your free food”. For special occasions and during slow times, businesses can deliver coupons to their loyal customers all either automatically or from a easy to use web interface. All these approaches ensure that local businesses are sustaining their engagement with their customers.
Punchh Social marketing drives ROI

Punchh’s EEARS™ process encapsulates the best marketing processes for your local business and requires no special training as it works on auto-pilot. Try out our service to see how we deliver great results by mapping your marketing to your customer decision cycle realities.