The 4 R’s of Marketing for Local Businesses

focus your marketing on these 4 R's

Marketing for local business? You need to plan for these for marketing R’s:

#1 Reputation – The Foundation

In this world we live in it is so easy for anybody to write some sort of comment or review online about your business. That review can be positive or negative, or even true or false.

In fact, that little device you carry around in your pocket that makes you more (or less) productive, keeps the world at your fingertips and keeps you entertained can also be your greatest enemy.


Because anybody can use their phone the moment they have a bad experience with your business to share the news with the world.


Just check out this real candid review of a restaurant…made from their rest room.

Do Reviews Really Count?

Do you know what over 50% of consumers say is the first thing they do BEFORE they consider doing business with you?

Google my Business?


They are researching your reputation and what other people are saying about you. And this is often the case even if they got a referral for your business from a friend or family member!

An Example of How Important Online Reviews Are

Let me share a quick example with you of how important online reviews are … and how they can cause you to lose business if they are bad.

A friend of mine told the story of how she was looking for a new place to get her nails done. She had just moved to a new home and didn’t want to drive 20 minutes to get to her old nail salon.

She asked around to friends at work and church and got the same name from a couple of different people.

Then, she did what MOST people do … and “Googled” the business. But, instead of having a great online reputation, which would have made her feel confident about the referrals … they had a BAD online reputation!

She did not like what she saw at all. While they had several 5 star reviews, they also had more than a half dozen 1 and 2 star reviews mainly complaining of concerns about cleanliness. So instead of trusting the referrals of her friends and co-workers … she trusted reviews of complete strangers.

She ended up looking up a couple of the other names that she’d been given (but that only came up once) … and selected the shop that had the best reviews. She took her business there and was very happy with the service.

Can you say “Ooops” on the part of the first nail salon? This shop was getting referrals that they couldn’t convert because they did’t make their online reputation a priority!

This is just one illustration of how important online reviews and having a great online reputation is.  That’s why being proactive about your online reputation is a FOUNDATIONAL step to all your marketing efforts.

I do recommend that before you start anything, you build at least a basic brand presence including:

  1. A business name
  2. A business phone number and address that will be used for all listings
  3. A business website. Yeah, I know that many people will tell you that you don’t need one, but come on people…I just showed you how common it is for people to search for your business online. I don’t care if your first website is only 1 page, get one created that looks nice on both desktops and mobile phones and has your contact information and basic products or services listed and then upgrade as your business takes off. You don’t want to establish your whole business presence on social media which you don’t own…it can be taken out from under you too easily.
  4. Set up the most common business profiles including industry specific profiles. This includes setting up your Google Business listing, a Facebook business page and Yelp profile. These are the 3 most common sites where people will leave reviews across all industries.

What’s Your Online Reputation?

When was the last time you Google’d your business name…or even your own name? Any surprises?

#2 Reach – Get More People In the Pipeline

The basic idea with Reach is that more people know about your business today than yesterday.

This is where I find most businesses are focusing their marketing efforts. The mistake is that your reach efforts will struggle to gain traction if you don’t build them on a solid reputation so first establish your brand presence and build a solid reputation.

Then start adding on methods to grow your business. These can range from digital methods like social media (and yes, LinkedIn is a great way to meet prospective clients), video, pay per click, email and content marketing to direct mail and attending networking events and trade shows.

Focus on 1-3 strategies at a time and once you have an ROI, scale and tweak those strategies until you are getting diminishing returns, then add additional strategies as your budget and resources allow.

Bottom line: you must be sure you are doing something every day to reach new prospective customers, clients or patients!

#3 Resell – Make More Money From Each Customer

Once you’ve made all this effort to build a good reputation and reach out to more and more potential customers to grow your business, you want to increase the lifetime revenue that you get from each customer by up-selling, cross-selling, and reselling.

In other words, make it easy to buy from you again and be proactive about it. The classic example here is “Do you want fries with that?”

Other classic resell methods include keeping your latest offers in front of customers through email, print advertising, and loyalty programs. Modern outreach also includes ad re-targeting online, apps with push notifications, text messaging and chatbots.

What is your most successful resell strategy?

#4 Referral – The Holy Grail of New Business!

If you do the first 3 steps (reputation, reach and resell) right and do a great job taking care of your customers, you will have the opportunity to create more buzz about your company and generate more referrals than ever.

If you want positive word of mouth marketing to take off for your business, you’ll want to have referral systems in place that make it easy for your raving fans to spread the word about you.

Referral marketing is the most effective form of marketing that there is. Conversions on referrals tend to be 30% higher [R&G Technologies] and have a 16% higher lifetime value [Journal of Marketing] than customers brought in through other reach methods.

Be sure you ASK your customers to give you referrals.

  • Ask directly, “Do you know anyone else who is in the market for X?”
  • Ask in your email.
  • Ask in your print marketing.
  • Ask in your videos.
  • Ask on social media.

You don’t want to be annoying about it, but the truth is that while people have the best of intentions, they often forget!

And, if you have a reward program in place for referrals be sure to tell your customers and remind them fairly frequently.

Shoot for at least 25% of your business to come from referrals, but don’t focus all your efforts here. Referrals are amazing sources of new business, but the volume tends to ebb and flow so it can be difficult to count on it.

What referral strategies have worked best for your business?

Credit goes to Mike Cooch for sharing this Marketing pyramid in his R4 sales training.


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