How to Build a Community Within Your Small Business

31 October 2022

According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), small business confidence unsurprisingly fell from -35.9 to -24.7 through September, with this unsurprising given the wider economic climate, rampant inflation, and the rising cost of borrowing.

Of course, there are measures that businesses can take to boost their performance in the current climate, with some smaller ventures (especially those that boast a corporeal retail presence) able to build a community around their model.

This may help to incentivise customers and drive improved loyalty over time, but what steps can you take to achieve this objective? Let’s find out!

#1. Don’t Force Things

Ultimately, any community is built on a sense of mutual understanding and shared objectives, so there’s little point in attempting to force your perspectives on others.
Instead, it’s important to plant the seeds of a community and develop this gradually, starting small and seeing how this develops over time.
Over time, you may be able to scale your efforts and introduce new elements to your community, but you should look for key triggers and maintain an organic approach over time.

#2. Listen to Your Customers

Ultimately, your customers should be front and centre of your people-centric community, just as they are to the products that you sell, your marketing efforts, and how you communicate with them.

So, listening to your customers and creating an engaging loyalty program that’s built on their precise wants and needs can help you to develop a mutually beneficial community where there remains a shared objective and sense of purpose.

This should transcend the products that you sell too, as you create rewards and a loyalty structure that reflects their lifestyle and takes into account precisely how they live their everyday lives.

You can also create an online loyalty program that starts to build your community online, while also leveraging relevant social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to engage customers on a deep and meaningful level.

#3. Use Email Marketing Strategically

According to statistics, email marketing delivers an impressive return on investment (ROI) of £42 for every £1 spent on average, with this highlighting the commercial appeal of the media and its ability to actively engage customers and elicit a response.

So, if your retail brand already has an established online presence, you can start to collect emails and templates to generate a master subscription list and build a campaign that reaches out to existing and potentially new customers.

From here, you can create immersive and community-themed emails that combine both brand and social messaging, as you look to engage with local customers and share in the passion that they have for their area and other small businesses.

The key here is also to send out regular emails that are rich in content, while ideally writing in a positive and active tense that reflects the brand well.

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