I am interested in how local businesses build and manage their reputations? Specifically service based businesses like home contractors, physicians and realtors.
You want to focus on positioning yourself as the expert in your local market. I suggest building a local community of influencers in your market and engaging with them often - making connections for them, sharing your knowledge and your expertise and following up with with them.
I would also suggest writing articles in your local papers or trade journals and contacting the press for interviews so you become very visible in your area and lastly, I teach my clients to build their business by sharing their gifts, giving away their best stuff often to attract new clients. For example, if you are a home contractor, you could publish tips on home improvement projects or how to hire a contractor ect.... If you are a realtor, you could publish a weekly newsletter on what is going on in your local community or partner with area businesses to offer coupons or specials and if you are a physician, you could publish health related articles. etc..
My last tip would be to build strong referral programs and incentivize everyone you know to bring you business. So in short,
2. Expert Positioning
Kellie D'Andrea, The Guru of Positioning http://www.kelliedandrea.com