We went to a great local restaurant last night. Rigoletto’s Italian Bakery in Virginia Beach was absolutely great. Starting with a breathtaking dessert display, your family can enjoy a casual eating experience just like a cafe on the Amalfi Coast. I took an iPhone picture and tried to place it on Yelp but Verizon was squirrelly. Stray and irrelevant point, there. Anyway, I did wonder one thing.
What if they offered to take our picture and place it on their web page?
If you are reading this article, chances are high that you’ve taken and shared at least one picture from a place you enjoy. I’ve done this an unknown number of times on Instagram (until I dropped their service), Facebook (dropped theirs too over privacy concerns), Twitter, Foursquare, and Yelp. I don’t do this to just take grainy mobile phone pictures in bad light. I do this to share images of fun times with my extended network of friends. Those social media networks are not endpoint purposes. They are sharing enablers. I want to share and they help me do that. You often do the same for the same personal reason.
Given that I enjoy sharing fun experiences, what if our waitress offered to take a family photo and place it on their website home page? It’s likely we would have said yes! At a minimum, we would have taken the request as a compliment. “Wow, you want to have our picture on your home page?”
Such an offer accomplishes two things. First, it compliments your customers. Few things say “we appreciate your business” better than “we would like for you to be on our home page”. Second, it enables your social media loving customers an easy way to impulsively share YOUR home page.
Family photos go to family and friends
No advance in technology will ever diminish the need to share new pictures with friends. Mom, Grandmom, Dad, and Granddad want to see new pictures of the kids. We like seeing what our friends and their families are doing. Great pictures tell great stories.
So invest a few hundred dollars in a high quality camera! Pick a spot in or around your business and take the fun smiling photograph. It’s the ultimate win-win. You will enjoy taking the picture and the family will enjoy letting all their close contacts know exactly where they can see it.
Consider the example of this storefront. I don’t know where it is. A select few may feel that it is worth sharing. Most may not bother sharing it. Ask yourself this question. If your family had a great photo in front of this spot today, whom would you share it with? Without people, this is just a photo of a storefront. With your customers, it is a brand new story for them to share.
Store Front—anyjazz65 (Flickr.com)
Give every reason for customers to rapidly tell their family and close friends all about it
Your home page is your prime real estate. Your customers understand how important it is. Your home page is your principal location to attract, close, serve, and retain customers. Knowing all that, your home page is PRECISELY the place to show off your customers. Once you put a “/” after your “.com”, you make it harder to remember and find. When you put content deeper on your site, you decrease the fame that goes along with it. Placing your customers on your home page conveys the message that they are famous enough to represent your brand.
Don’t get cutesy with subdomains or those perplexing 2D bar codes. Nobody but a few of your employees and your most enthusiastic fans can memorize your Facebook page address. Use your home page. Remember that you are doing this to exercise referral marketing. Your top priority simply belongs on your home page.
Hand out some post cards with the link to your home page. Use the element of time to let your famous customer know that you update your home page photos each month, week, or day (depending on your customer volume). They will take care of the rest! They will tweet the link to their computer savvy grandparents, and spend an hour spelling out the website link over the phone to their parents. They will make sure that the people they care most about know exactly how to see their famous picture. Those grandparents will tell all their friends and all those cousins about it. “Robert’s family got featured on Rigoletto’s. Go take a look at how much their kids have grown!” (well, we’re not there so you won’t find it but you get the point ).
It’s all about placing your customers first
How can you make their day better? Answer that question and customers will spend money on your business. They will tell others to spend money your business. Your camera and creativity can make your customers locally famous and their friends instantly happy.
Give it a try to let us know how it works for you!