Social Media Tips for Vending Businesses
Emily / October 12, 2022
Vending operators often ask us how social media can help their company. Our answer? Social media makes your vending business stand out from the competition and attracts quality leads. It lets you connect with customers and prospects in ways that influence their decisions. It is a powerful tool for increasing sales. Did you know that more than 50% of customers say they learn about new brands and products specifically from social media platforms? That means your vending business needs to be there.
Keep reading for tips on creating social media posts that engage your existing customers and make new prospects want to do business with your vending company.
Showcase Your Expertise
Social media is a great place to display your industry knowledge. Use it to inform your customers about new products and equipment. For example, post about the latest single-cup brewer you installed and the features you love about it. Don’t forget to tag the manufacturer to get more exposure.
Another great way to show your expertise is by sharing the latest breakroom news and trends. It will show customers that your company stays on top of what is hot in the industry. Showcase your latest installs too. Make sure to mention how your breakroom upgrades improve the workplace and tag any clients who give you permission.
Keep it Consistent
Posting regularly on social media is key to building a relationship with your audience. That is because frequent posts help grow your online reputation. They also increase trust in your brand. But don’t worry. Social media posts don’t have to be long. In fact, short to-the-point posts are best. Bite-sized content is easier to scan and retain.
In addition, it’s a good idea to regularly ask questions or take polls in your social media posts. This will spark conversation. That means your audience will be better engaged. And, it will help you learn more about your audience too.
Remember the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words? Well, it’s true. Great visuals attract attention. But it’s not just photos. You can use infographics and video content too. A statistic from Twitter Business puts it in perspective, Tweets with video get 10 times more engagement than those without. The takeaway? Add visuals to ensure greater impact.
Make it Genuine
When you post on social media, an authentic and honest approach works best. Why? Because 86% of Americans want transparency from a company, says SproutSocial. That means you should show the human element in your business whenever possible. Plus, be open, honest, and clear in your posts. It will help you develop a stronger connection with your vending customers.
Need more reason to be real? LinkedIn posts with personal images get two times higher engagement. So, get personal to ensure your posts are read and remembered.
Now that you know when and what to post, it’s time to boost engagement. Invite your clients and industry colleagues to follow your business. And do the same to theirs. The larger your audience, the more powerful your social media will be at attracting new customers and maintaining current ones.
If thinking about social media posts makes you feel stressed, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are digital marketing specialists just for the vending industry. That’s us. Reach out to VendCentral for help today.
Breakroom Operators: Ready to Email?
Renee King / December 10, 2021
If you are a breakroom operator who has yet to utilize email marketing, the new year is the perfect time to make the leap. Done right, email marketing is a valuable part of your overall marketing strategy – and can provide you with a high return on your digital marketing investment.
Here are some of the top reasons to try email marketing:
- 91% of US adults like receiving promotional emails from companies they do business with (MarketingSherpa)
- Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers. (McKinsey)
- According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. (eMarketer)
Getting Started with Email Marketing
Your email campaigns will only work if the right eyes are seeing them. Are your contacts located in a pile of business cards, in your personal email, or stored on your cell phone? It’s time to clean up, organize, and modernize. The process may seem daunting, but it’s worth it! Organize your contacts into one electronic file so they are easy to access, maintain, and transfer. Make sure each contact is complete with all relevant information included.
Add industry-specific columns to your electronic file to include custom tags for the refreshment services industry and your company in particular. Examples of custom tags may include current services (vending, micro-market, pantry, office coffee, etc.), company size, company industry, and contract end date. This will allow you to filter your campaigns for specific audiences.
Storing and Maintaining Email Contacts
The great news is there are online marketing tools like MailChimp and HubSpot that are available to you for free or low-cost. You can not only store and maintain your contacts here, but you can also create and send email campaigns on the same platform. Take a little time to decide which tool is right for you. Both MailChimp and HubSpot have resources and tutorials available to help you format your contact list properly for transfer (including proper setup for importing your custom tags). They also contain lots of useful information for creating and sending your emails.
Establishing a clean, complete contact database online is something worth celebrating! But we all know how quickly things change. Updating your contact list should become routine. If you have a sales team that contributed to your master list, empower them to take ownership of maintaining their own contacts on the platform after they are transferred.
Ready, Set, Engage
A great email begins with a well thought out plan of what you are going to communicate and to whom. For this article, we’ll assume your message is set and you’ve designed an eye-catching email (if you need help designing digital marketing content, we’ve got you covered).
Now that your list of contacts is uploaded to your platform of choice, you are ready to start sending emails. Some of your email campaigns will be suitable for everyone to receive but many will be targeted for specific audiences. Avoid sending emails that are irrelevant or don’t provide value to your customers. It may prompt them to unsubscribe from your email list. Instead, filter your email list to ensure the right people are seeing your message.
Want to promote your company’s micro-markets? Target this email exclusively for prospects or customers with vending services. Looking to upgrade customers to bean to cup or single-cup equipment? Send your email to customers with traditional coffee service. By understanding and targeting the proper audience, your emails will be more relevant, effective, and likely to convert to a sale.
There is no time like NOW to get those contacts ready for email. Email is a proven way to enhance your overall digital marketing strategy and boost your sales. And by creating and maintaining a detailed contact list online, you will be sure your audience is receiving content that is tailored specifically to them. Compliment your emails with a great website and engaging social media for a multifaceted way to grow your business in the new year.
VendCentral helps operators and manufacturers in the refreshment services industry develop online marketing strategies to grow their business. Contact us to learn more.
Thoughtful Ways to Thank Customers During the Holidays
Renee King / November 4, 2021
The holiday season is a special time of year for friends and family. It’s also the time to find a way to thank the clients and customers. When you find ways to give a meaningful gift, it makes your investment go even farther. Here are some thoughtful ways to say thank you at this special time of year.
Gift company branded swag
From high-end pens and stationery sets to shirts and jackets, company swag always makes a great gift. This gift rewards your customers, but it also serves as a valuable form of advertising. Another way to say thank you is to choose a quality whitelabel wine, and top it off with your own custom-printed labels.
Host a luncheon in your client’s breakroom
Save your top clients a trip and host a luncheon onsite at their location. This is a great way to showcase your commissary foods, and have them try new items that will be coming to their micro-market soon. Your client will appreciate the effort and may just discover a new favorite market item.
Create holiday gift baskets
Gift baskets are a staple for corporate holiday gifts, and a customized basket is even better. The more you know about your customers, the easier it will be to create a truly customized present. Ask your suppliers to provide certain products you know your client loves. You can also include new items coming to your menu in the coming year, or even slow sellers to boost interest.
Extend a party invitation
The holiday season is a time for celebration, so why not let your customers join in on the fun? If you are holding a holiday party, invite your customers to share in the festivities. If your party is onsite, include a tour of your facility. Take photos with your clients to share on social media. Prospective customers will love seeing how you engage with your clients, and they may remember this the next time you reach out.
Everyone likes some form of entertainment, so why not give your favorite customers an excuse to get out of the office? Tickets to an upcoming event or a gift card for a local theater are great ways to say thank you. Invite them to join you on a golf outing or spa visit. Plus, socializing outside a business setting creates a personal connection, which increases the likelihood of client retention.
Make a charitable donation
If you know your clients well, consider making a charitable donation in their name to a cause they care about. This is an excellent way to show your client you care about what is important to them, which makes a lasting impression well past the holiday season.
The holidays are the perfect time to thank the ones who helped your business thrive during a challenging year. Whether your business is brand new or well-established, thanking your customers is always appreciated. These holiday gift ideas can help you say thank you in a sophisticated and memorable way during the holiday season.
3 Reasons Your Website Needs a Blog
Renee King / October 3, 2021
Most businesses understand the importance of a digital presence, and many have a website and social media accounts. Your company may feel it is not necessary to have a blog if your business is not focused on content. But actually, all kinds of businesses can benefit greatly by keeping an active blog. Here are 3 ways a blog can help boost your business.
1. It helps gain more visibility for your business
If you build it, they will come, right? Not exactly. It’s crucial that potential customers are able to easily find your site. Starting a blog can help with that–the more outbound links that redirect to your website, the higher you’ll rank in search results.
Additionally, consumers want to know more about your business. You can use the blog to explain who you are, your company culture, and provide examples of your work. Highlight new and interesting things happening in your business and your industry. It’s absolutely true that prospects will be more inclined to buy your services the more they feel they know you and your business.
2. It drives traffic to your website
SEO and content go hand in hand, and many websites with high traffic have varying types of online content to attract users from different sources. If you are struggling to get users to your site, then adding a blog is a smart strategy. When your articles use the right keywords, they can be picked up by Google searches. As a result, they can bring new users to your website. These new users can be quickly converted to paying customers if the other parts of your website are well designed.
3. It compliments your social media and email campaigns
When it comes to digital marketing, everything works together. It is important not to view your website, blog, social media channels, and email marketing separately as they are all part of the same entity – your branding. If you want a successful social media presence, then your blog content is a vital part of that. Publishing blog content on social media can direct traffic from your social media platforms to your website. It’s also true with email marketing; the most effective email campaigns contain links to blog posts.
These days, a blog is an essential part of a solid marketing content strategy. There are so many benefits to having one, including the ability to increase sales and interest in your business. A blog can better inform consumers about your company, drive traffic to your website, and increase the effectiveness of your social media and email campaigns. Not sure where to start? Rely on VendCentral’s team of content writers to create engaging blogs on behalf of your business. Contact us to start the conversation!
How to Grow Your Following on Social Media
Renee King / July 7, 2021
You’ve created social media accounts for your business, but how do you actually get people to follow your page? Social media followers are potential loyal customers and advocates for your business. Ninety percent of shoppers say they buy from businesses and brands they follow on social media. A major focus of your social media marketing strategy should be growing your followers and cultivating your existing ones. This will help you increase your audience reach, boost engagement, and build a loyal following. We’ve outlined steps businesses should take to do just that.
You will attract new followers with content that engages and adds value. Consider content that is:
- Helpful Useful tips and tricks go a long way with followers, and they have high reach potential – meaning followers may send it to friends or reshare it by posting it to their Facebook page, Instagram stories, or retweeting.
- Thought-Provoking Anything that gets followers to leave a comment on your posts is well worth a shot, so ask questions. Does your company install micro-markets? Ask followers what their must-have snack is. Coffee service providers can ask “Do you prefer flavored or traditional roast coffees?” The options are endless.
- Exclusive Give followers the advantage of hearing exciting announcements first on your social media page. This can include sales, new product offerings, or exciting business updates. You don’t need one type of content to work for everyone; try experimenting to discover what works best for your audience.
- Visually Pleasing Some people just love a good aesthetic and seek that during their daily social media scroll-throughs. Remember each post is part of the same story!
- Entertaining You can’t go wrong with a good meme. They’re easy to create and easily editable so that you can make them relevant to your business’s offering.
Follow Relevant Businesses
Following the social media accounts of potential customers in your area can serve as a great discovery tool. They’ll most likely follow your business in return, and this will help your page get suggested to their followers too. However, there are likely other prospects not even on your radar. We suggest partnering with your local Chamber of Commerce to get access to the names of decision-makers and notified of new businesses coming to your area. Following community organizations, especially those you support can also serve as a discovery tool. By liking and commenting on their posts, you’ll catch the eye of potential customers – and stay top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase.
Partner With Your Suppliers
In addition to following relevant businesses, you should follow your suppliers and partner with them to curate your social media posts. Brands have a wealth of pre-made graphics they are willing to share. This will ensure you use high-quality content that’s engaging and consistent. It also makes it easy for brands to feature you in their own content, which can lead to more exposure and more followers for your business.
Another strategy is to encourage user-generated content. This popular tactic involves reposting content created by customers. User-generated content (UGC) can include photos, videos, and product reviews that speak to the quality of your business’ products or customer service.
By rewarding customers with the possibility of reposting, UGC encourages engagement and exposure. For you to see their content, make sure they tag your account or incorporate your branded hashtag in their posts. This simple process introduces you to their followers, who could soon become yours.
Try commenting on the posts of other businesses or individuals in your community. You can answer questions, leave a helpful tip, or just provide some kind words. When people see your comments, they may be inclined to check out your page and eventually follow you. You can search for people and places by location using Facebook and LinkedIn.
Include Your Social Media Links on Everything
If possible, make sure that non-social media touchpoints can be used to access your social media accounts. Website pages, email campaigns, and other digital assets should include direct, functioning links to your channels. Run a micro-market? Tangible items like receipts or shopping bags can include your social media handles, too.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Give users a way to find you based on their interests, because there’s usually an intention to follow with hashtag searches. Use the names of your products and services, as well as popular terminology among your target audience (think #coffeebreak) to boost your chance of catching a potential follower’s eye.
Use Location Tags
This is another quick and easy way for people to find your page. Many people search by location — specifically cities — to find new businesses in their area. Others may search by location to find additional content of interest. Using location tags can be a powerful tactic, requires minimal effort, and helps increase traffic to your business. To stand out among the competition, ramp up your strategy by adding a location to your posts and stories.
Contests and giveaways are great for boosting engagement and gaining followers. To enter a giveaway, one must follow you, “like” the giveaway post, and tag a friend (or several) in the comments. It’s possible that some of those tagged friends will be interested in your content and follow you. Running a contest after an install for VendBucks or micro-market credits is one idea that’s easy to conduct. It will help drive traffic to your social pages, as well as the potential to increase sales.
Some other techniques to incentivize new followers include offering freebies or perks for proof of a follow. One idea is to hold a coffee tasting event and offer a free danish or pack of donuts to any employee that follows your business on social media. Be sure to have signage that includes your social handles, so it will be easier for those on-site to find and follow you.
Now that you have some ideas for content to post, you need to make sure it’s posted on a consistent basis. A sporadic posting schedule can put people off, because how valuable can your content be if it’s only posted once every few weeks? On a more technical level, consistency plays a big role in how algorithms determine what content your followers will see. To put it simply, consistent posting leads to consistent engagement and new follower growth, which is the goal.
The Customer Journey Map
Renee King / June 9, 2021
You may have heard of a customer journey map, but are wondering what it is and how businesses can benefit from it. An effective customer journey map is a great tool to help you get inside the customer’s mind, understand their perspective, and learn how they interact with your company from start to finish. The better you understand your customer’s journey, the better you can improve their experience.
What Is a Customer Journey Map?
Your customer’s journey (sometimes called a user journey) is their experience from the moment they first learn about your business, to when they engage in purchasing your product or service, to when they receive after-sales communication. It is the entire lifecycle your customer goes through to convert from a prospect to a satisfied customer.
So, what is a customer journey map?
A customer journey map is the visual representation of your customers’ journey when engaging with your business. Customer journey mapping is used by many companies to understand every detail of their customers’ experience from discovery, to purchase, to long term customer service and retention.
Why Is a Customer Journey Map Important?
There are many reasons creating a customer journey map is beneficial for your business. Although no two customer journeys are alike, a customer journey map can help you ensure consistency in providing a great customer experience. It takes time and practice to create a customer journey map that is clear and effective, but it’s worth the effort.
An effective customer journey map can help you better understand and empathize with your customers. In other words, it will help you put yourself in your customer’s shoes. The customer’s experience should be illustrated at every touchpoint, until they achieve “satisfied customer” status. By doing this, your company can identify improvements to make the experience more efficient and rewarding.
Business leaders create customer journey maps that accomplish the following:
Result in a Desired Outcome
Whether it be contacting you for a free consultation or purchasing from a specific product line, your map should have a specific purpose and goal in mind. Are you creating a map to improve customer service, generate more sales, or eliminate specific pain points? Use your map as a tool to clearly identify obstacles on this journey, address them, and then eliminate them.
In mapping the customer journey, touchpoints refer to the platforms or locations where customers interact with your business. It can be an advertisement, a social media post, a website, or a Google Search results page.
Customers often go through multiple touchpoints on their journey. For instance, they might have heard of your business from a Yelp review before visiting your website. Identifying all potential touchpoints your customer may go through will help you better understand how you can impact them.
Create Customer Personas
Every customer is unique, comes from a different background, and may have varying expectations. For instance, a facility manager looking for a vending provider might not be looking for the same supplier as an HR manager shopping for an employee retention solution.
Your customer base can be made of multiple types of customers. Part of a compelling customer journey mapping session is identifying and differentiating between each one. Creating different maps tailored to different customer personas ensures your solutions are personalized to that customer type. Personas are powerful tools for predicting different behaviors by customer groups and tailoring your products or services to give them what they are looking for.
Along their journey, a buyer’s desire to purchase can weaken as doubts creep in. Is this really the right choice? Should I think about this for a few more months? When mapping, anticipate barriers to closing the sale and create plans to reduce or eliminate them.
Many sales are influenced by price, and they can be lost if a lower-cost alternative is available. Train (or re-train) your team on how to sell value over cost and the points of differentiation that make your offerings unique over the competition. Consider if it is OK to offer discounts or incentives to compete in tough situations and what concessions will make an impact without too much sacrifice to the bottom line.
Be sure your marketing and sales materials are in sync and proactively address the questions and concerns that come to mind along the customer journey. This can effectively remove small barriers before they become big obstacles to closing a sale.
Your existing customers are one of your most valuable assets so it’s important to invest in a plan to ensure their satisfaction and retention. How are you maintaining contact with them post-sale? Your map should address the content you will generate to market to and serve your customers. You should continually evaluate this content to ensure it is timely, relevant, and interesting.
Keep your customers up to date on news and promotions through regular social media posts, emails, newsletters, and website updates. Blogs, guides, and ‘how tos’ are also excellent ways to help customers without being overly sales-focused. Overall, digital marketing is the quickest and most efficient way to reach your customer base. It can also attract new prospects to your website to learn more about your offerings.
Listen to your customers’ feedback on your products and services to understand what you are doing well and how you can improve. Encourage them to share their thoughts and make it convenient for them to do it. Many companies check in with their customers through email surveys or good old-fashioned phone calls. Progressive companies are using apps to make it even easier for customers to share their feedback through a simple text message.
Mapping your customers’ journey will help you understand their experiences while engaging with your business. It will allow you to identify and better relate to the different types of customers you are serving (or hoping to serve). And it will help you develop strategies to improve the process from beginning to the end. Considering the factors in this article will help you make your map more comprehensive and effective. Examples of customer journey maps are readily available online. Consider using one from your industry as a reference to help you get started.
Personalized Marketing Content: Why it Matters
Renee King / April 28, 2021
Challenging times can provide companies with opportunities to prove to their customers and the rest of the world that they are there to help when it matters most. But, reaching your customers online with authentic and meaningful messaging often requires targeted, personalized content. This shows prospects you see and think beyond the obvious and connect with your customers creatively, and with empathy.
Show Customers You’re Listening
Personalized content is more important than ever in a world where people’s lives have changed so much due to COVID-19. Delivering the best personalized content requires strong marketing strategies and a seamless online experience to meet people where they are.
Think of it as a conversation. Imagine that someone is telling you about their day, and you’re either not fully listening or you don’t quite understand something they’ve said. You have a couple of options. 1) Respond with a generic “That’s nice” or a smile and head nod. 2) Guess what they’ve said and respond from that. For both options, the probability of success is low.
Your customers share their thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes, and their typical coffee order as data, and they know when you’re not listening. For example, industry-related topics are always beneficial when establishing your expertise in a particular field. But when you take it a step further and layer personalized content that speaks directly to a particular demographic–this is much more effective in grabbing their attention.
Adjust your messaging accordingly, and keep adjusting, because your customers are going to keep changing. You have to present the right message to the right customer on the right channel at the right time.
Deeper Connections Build Loyalty
Community and feeling connected are likely to remain important as we transition to a post COVID world. This will increase the value of customer relationships even further. Businesses that have taken steps to personally engage with customers during this difficult time will take customer loyalty to unprecedented levels, only seen before by the most iconic and most trusted brands. Over the years, those brands have built passionate customer loyalty. Difficult times call for creativity and new ideas. It is the perfect time to develop a personalized digital marketing strategy for retaining customers and gaining new ones.
VendCentral is a digital marketing agency solely focused on the refreshment services industry. Our team of digital marketing specialists can help deliver personalized, targeted messaging for your company. Interested to learn more about how we can help? Let’s chat! Contact us today to get started.
Boost Your Website’s SEO with Social Media
Jen / October 8, 2020
Great SEO ensures that beautiful website you’ve built is being viewed by potential new customers. Not a top search result? It’s time to use social media to improve your Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
SEO performance is driven by keywords and elements on your company’s website – as well as by additional content that promotes your business online. Strong SEO boosts your website’s search rankings, resulting in increased traffic and leads.
SEO is a critical part of a successful digital marketing strategy. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to develop a social media program that improves your SEO.
Utilize Multiple Social Media Platforms
There are all sorts of creative ways to attract customers to your website through social media. Platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram each boast unique strengths when it comes to capturing and engaging your audience.
- LinkedIn is the preferred platform for sharing professional content and acquiring new clients. 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. LinkedIn offers a wide variety of searchable content and, like a website, the SEO of your LinkedIn page plays a role in how easily potential customers can find you.
- Facebook is ideal for connecting with customers in a more casual and familiar way. While it isn’t the top platform for B2B marketers, Facebook is used by 77% of American adults, making it the most popular social media site overall. Be sure to include relevant keywords on your Facebook page and posts.
- Instagram offers the opportunity to inspire customers with photos (think micro-market installs or delicious new products you’ve added to your menu). It is a great way to build an additional base of followers and attracts a younger demographic that prefers to share ideas and information visually.
To increase exposure, encourage employees and business associates to share your posts. Tag clients in your posts, when appropriate, to reach their social media followers too. It’s also a great idea to embed hyperlinks in your posts to draw customers to your website for more information.
Create Unique Blogs
Blog articles give potential and existing customers a deeper look at what is going on in your company and industry. Plus, they go a long way in establishing your organization as a business leader. Posting blog articles across social media platforms will provide additional opportunities to connect with your audience and drive them to your website.
Custom blog articles written specifically about your organization are usually the most interesting. They are also the perfect way to thoroughly explain how you are differentiating yourself from the competition. However, don’t be afraid to share industry related blog articles as well. They show that your company is on top of industry news and trends.
Take Advantage of Free Exposure
The digital world thrives on content. So, if you have exciting news it is likely third parties are willing to share it. Press releases will give you free exposure in industry publications too. Take advantage of opportunities like these to increase the number of people you reach with your content.
The top benefit of a well-developed social media strategy is the traffic it draws to your website. The more traffic your website generates, the better its SEO, and the higher it ranks in customer search results. A great social media strategy takes time and attention to fully evolve and produce results, but it is well worth the investment.
Today’s World Is An Online-First Marketplace
aaron / September 10, 2018
Americans spend 9+ hours per day on electronic devices. To capture potential facility managers’ attention, it is important to meet them where they are — online. One of the tools available in your digital marketing tool box is online reviews and testimonials.
Online reviews and testimonials impact everything from consumer buying habits to your brand perception. Since potential customers progress more than 70% of the way through the decision-making process before engaging a sales representative, your potential vending customers may not be finding information about your vending services. The key to engaging them is to deliver easy-to-find, high-value, relevant, and timely content especially reviews and testimonials.
Online Reputations Seal the Deal
In 2018, performing in-depth research such as reading reviews and testimonials via social media and other platforms is easy to do. Potential customers look to reviews and testimonials to understand what kind of vending experience they might have. Positive reviews can entice facility managers to visit your website for the first time. The overall picture created by reading your reviews helps facility managers come to a conclusion when they don’t know much about your company.
- 67% of facility managers believe online reviews are important when choosing a break room provider
- 57% of customers will eventually buy from a vending service provider they researched online
- 85% of facility managers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 97% of customers read online reviews for local vending services
- 74% of facility managers say positive reviews make them trust a local vending provider more
The more reviews that exist about your business, the more credible those reviews are perceived to be, and the more likely a potential customer is to visit your website. In addition to the number of reviews and their content, potential vending service customers want to see how many stars your business has. Stars play an important role as they encourage other potential customers to visit your website. For example, if your website is the second one in the results of a micro-market provider search AND it has a star rating, that potential customer is 154% more likely to visit your website.
Why Google and Facebook
Google and Facebook are number one and number two, respectively, for online reviews. While Facebook is the leading source for customer reviews, Google is the most used search engine, and 63.6% of consumers check reviews on Google before visiting a business’s website. Mobile searches almost always contain one of the following four words or phrases: “best,” “to avoid,” “worst,” and “is ___ worth it.”
Google reviews and ratings also impact local search results, which are based on relevance, distance, and prominence. As Google explains it, “Google algorithms might decide that a business that’s farther away from your location is more likely to have what you’re looking for than a business that’s closer, and therefore rank it higher in local results.”
All Reviews and Testimonials Matter
Your customer reviews are integral to building trust. Bad reviews mixed with good reviews create an authentic online presence. For reviews to be perceived as authentic, they should vary by tone, and language, and grammatical and spelling errors. Reviews perform a specific function by answering questions for facility managers and creating personal connections to local vending services.
treat reviews and testimonials like precious assets
Star ratings and total number of reviews are important for attracting online searchers, BUT the content of your reviews has the power to influence purchase decisions. 82% of customers look for negative reviews to see if the flaws in your services are a one-time issue. Taking the time to respond to bad reviews is an opportunity to show responsiveness and empathy to current and future facility managers and their coworkers. When the reviews and comments are shorter, a higher quantity of reviews are necessary, while longer reviews mean fewer reviews are needed to build trust.
Plan of Action
Step 1: Build your Google and Facebook profiles (ex. pictures, contact information, and company overview).
Step 2: ASK — 68% of consumers left a local business review when they were asked. Let the facility managers and employees of your existing customers know why and how their reviews will help.
- integrate asking for reviews into the sales/customer retention process or marketing strategy
- ask for feedback about specific aspects of your business
- keep review and testimonial requests short and sweet
- make sure review and testimonial requests come from the same place you want your reviewer to leave a review
- include icons on your website to direct visitors to your Google business listing and Facebook page where they can leave reviews and testimonials
Example: Send the following message on a postcard with your business logo to a facilities manager. “Thanks for your business. If you have a few minutes, please visit any of the sites below and leave a comment or review about us”. Include a list of shortened URLs that led directly to your business’s profile on Google and Facebook.
Step 3: What to do with Reviews and Testimonials
- respond regularly and publicly using polite and helpful responses to all reviews
- develop a management response strategy to respond to negative reviews
- respond quickly with empathy and compassion
- set up Google Alerts to notify you when your company is mentioned
- track reviews especially poor ones; it allows you to see a pattern (if there is one)
- work with customers to find a reasonable resolution to a bad experience
- Share positive reviews and testimonials on your website and social media channels, and include them in email communications, etc.
Why Bother With Digital Marketing?
aaron / December 8, 2017
You have a great vending company, with a great reputation. You get good quality vending, office coffee service and even micro market customers through word of mouth and references. So why do you need online or digital marketing? Because that is where these interactions are happening more and more for facility and human resource managers, online and in social media channels.
Check out these stats! In a 2014 business to business (B2B) study, nearly all the participants reported doing online research when considering partnering with a new business.
- 77% do a Google search
- 3% check the business’ website
- 41% read user reviews
- Only 12% want to meet in person
The take-away? You need to be marketing your vending company where facility managers and human resource professionals are looking.
Digital marketing is powerful
The high rate of online research, use of reviews, and attitude about in-person meetings versus online purchasing mean that to be considered by the refreshment service decision makers of today, a strong digital marketing effort is needed. Even if your customers are referring you to other people offline, those prospects are researching your vending company on Google and LinkedIn and Facebook and your website. They need to be impressed with what they see, including how you will make their job creating a rewarding employee experience and providing on-site refreshment easier.
Digital marketing has benefits for your sales department as well. With the right search engine marketing and content, your online presence will get qualified leads, not just traffic. These are the facility managers, culture teams, and human resource professionals in your service area that match your ideal customer criteria. You can actively search for them and engage them on social media platforms. Bring them into your sales funnel to start converting them to your customers.
Finally, digital marketing builds long-term bonds with customers. Being seen and well-represented online ensures existing vending, office coffee service, and micro market customers continue to see you as a professional service provider. They can quickly discover your new product and service offerings or contact you in the way most convenient for them. Fostering these relationships turns your customers into brand advocates, who will not mind telling others about your company. They know that when those people go to find you online, they will like the refreshment service offerings and professionalism they see, thanks to digital marketing.