1. Make sure you are providing high-quality products and services – this is the key to getting positive word-of-mouth referrals. If your products and services provide great value, your facilities are clean, your staff exceptional, and the overall experience is pleasurable, then people will talk about you positively online and in person. The more you can provide something about and beyond what your competitors are providing, the more likely the talk.
2. Get involved in your local community. This is a tool you have in your arsenal as an independently owned business that the corporate chains don’t have. Serve on committees, volunteer for local charities, employ local students, put floats in the parades, support local teams, and get involved in community events. When people see that you’re active in your community, they’ll be more likely to trust you and recommend your products or services.
3. Use local media to promote your business. Contact your local newspaper or radio station, tell them about your business, and send them a free lunch. Offer to do interviews or write guest articles. When people see you featured in the local media, they’ll be more likely to check out your business.
4. Collaborate with relevant Influencers – those who focus on your local community or post about your business type frequently. Think about people that your target market might be following.
5. Collect the written versions of positive comments to use in your marketing. Highlight the positive experiences that customers have had with your business on your website, in social media, in print marketing, and in customer emails or newsletters.
6. Make use of a constant stream of positive online reviews flowing to all relevant review sites.