As a small business owner, you can only accomplish so much marketing. Even if you hire a full-time marketing director for your business, one person can only do so much. What you can do to start growing your business exponentially is to develop a street team to promote your company and your services.
Street teams have traditionally been used by authors and musicians to create buzz for a book or a new album. Basically, the street team is the first to hear about new items and then goes out and shares the news with others who might be interested. Instead of only the artist promoting the item, he suddenly has a dozen or more people promoting on his behalf.
The Power of Word-of-Mouth
Most business owners know that word-of-mouth marketing is effective. People make decisions on who to hire based on what their family and friends tell them. A Nielson survey proved this by finding that around 84% of consumers trust the recommendations they receive from family, friends, and colleagues. 74% of people polled by Google stated that word-of-mouth was a key component in their decision to purchase or not.
It only makes sense for companies to encourage positive word-of-mouth promotional strategies. This can include asking your satisfied customers to refer you to others, but a street team goes a bit further. A street team might pass out brochures and talk your company up online.
Because your street team will represent your company, be careful and thoughtful about whom you choose. Ideally, your street team will be made up of loyal, long-time customers. These are people who are articulate, trustworthy themselves (pay bill on time, etc.), and able to converse easily with others.
Your field techs are your best source for choosing people for you street team. Explain the concept and ask them to recommend customers they think would be a good fit for your street team.
The Street Team Concept for Service Biz
Even though street teams have been used mainly for musicians and authors, there is no reason you can’t adapt this concept for a service business.
- Appoint a Street Team Manager to handle your street team.
- Distribute info to everyone on the team. This might mean having an in-person meeting where you explain strategy and hand out brochures or other promotional goodies.
- Choose events you will attend and which street team members will help, such as local art fairs and block parties.
- Develop a social media strategy. How will your street team help promote you online? Which social media networks are covered? Will you distribute a post and ask them to share?
- How will you reward your street team?
The world of advertising is definitely changing. Nearly every business owner you speak to will tell you how vital it is to have an online presence. This is even true for service businesses, where you can reach out to a local audience on social media.
To organize your online street time, keep these things in mind:
- Develop an editorial calendar. If everyone knows what you are promoting when, they can plan ahead. For example, if you want to push for spring HVAC tune-ups and inspections, choose a week on your calendar to promote these on social media.
- Train your online street team. They shouldn’t engage someone who says something negative for example, but leave it to the PR person in your company to handle any public complaints or negative comments.
- Separate your street team into specific social media groups. The way you promote on Pinterest is going to be vastly different than the way you promote on Twitter. If you try to put the same post up on every site, you won’t be nearly as effective as if you are more measured in how you target each platform.
- Create a central location for your online team to gather. A private Facebook group or a members only area on your website is ideal for this. On this page, street team members can ask questions, get the latest news and encourage one another. The street team manager can also keep an eye on any issues that crop up.
One of the biggest advantages of developing a street team to help promote your brand is the personal connection that your customers will feel when they know about you, your goals, and what you’re trying to accomplish as a company.
For someone to join your team, they already love your company and think you are doing a great job. You are just getting them to share that belief with others and rewarding them with promotional goodies and/or discounts on services. It really is a small investment of time and money for a lot of word-of-mouth marketing, which can be priceless in growing your business and your reputation.
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