Without customers, your business won’t grow. Promoting a local business is just as vital as promoting a big brand looking to serve a global client base, you just have to go about it in a slightly different way. Typically, local businesses target an audience in a specific radius, no more than 50 miles, and conversely to the larger brands, this targeting can be done on or offline. Here are some of the best on and offline methods you can use to market your local business.
Get out in the community and engage with community members
Arguably, this is one of the most important things you can do as a local business owner. If you want to attract local customers they need to know you are there. You need to get out in the community to get yourself heard. Word of mouth can be one of the best forms of marketing for local businesses. Particularly if your local community is a small and close one. Ways in which you can get your business name known in the community could be sponsoring a local sports team, attending school fairs, or offering your goods or services as raffle prizes. Where possible it is always best practice to attend these events in person, giving you the chance to network and maximize your exposure and company message. It will also do wonders for establishing local goodwill and favor amongst the community. If you are attending these events be sure to take a physical representation of your company with you. Something that you can hand out and that stands out. Whether it is colorful branded merchandise, a garish flyer, or perhaps unique printed silver foil business cards, as long as it is something that people can take away with them to serve as a reminder and keep for a later date.
Photo credit Kaique Roche from Pexels
Create and verify your online business profile
In times gone by you might have listed your business in the local paper or the telephone directory. Today’s answer to this is verifying your business on Google. Google is considered to be the most powerful search engine; If somebody wants to find something out inevitably they ask Google. The same applies when they need information on your business, chances are they will look to Google for the answer. Your local business could be one of the top search results provided by Google if you have created your business profile. Google enables you to create a business profile detailing your business name, phone number, opening hours, address, and link to your website. Creating your business profile or claiming a profile that may already exist is vital to local marketing, and the best part about it is that it is free. You can also use this facility to add enticing photos of your products or services and customers are able to leave reviews of your business.
Target local audiences with the power of Facebook
While the power of your physical presence in the community is unrivaled it doesn’t mean you can overlook the power yielded by Facebook. You can be forgiven for thinking that Facebook advertising is too far-reaching for your small local business, and in Facebook’s infancy you might have been right. Today, however, Facebook’s advertising stream has become so sophisticated that it serves as the ideal marketing platform for business regardless of size and location. Your local customer base will be on Facebook, they will use it daily, it is where they spend their time so why shouldn’t you be on there too? By utilizing the paid advertising streams available on Facebook you can target your audience to a very specified niche. You can target your Facebook ad to be shown in front of a particular gender, age range, location, income bracket, religion, shopping styles. Facebook has made it possible for you to select the audience you want your advert to be in front of.
Another key area in which advertising is emerging as successful on Facebook is to join or create a Facebook group. Search Facebook for local relevant groups to your business and ask to join, as your business. If you can’t find one, create your own. A word of warning, however, do not use these groups to sell and promote your business constantly. They are designed to be a sociable place and the purpose of these groups is to connect with others. You may turn off potential customers if you come across too self-invested in business promotion.
While on the subject of social media, don’t be afraid to use any social media platform to market your business and to engage with your local community, and get yourself in front of them that way. Comment on their posts, like their photos, and strike up conversations. Get yourself noticed, but remember to be relevant and not spam them with unwanted comments or attention. Of course, you also want to be using social media to advertise your business locally and further afield. The more brand awareness you can generate the better it will serve you.
Join forces with local businesses
Teaming up with other established, but non-competing, businesses is another great way of getting your business name out into the community. It allows you to tap into an already existing local client base. It is also a great way to network and unearth potential customers, for example, you may run a local social media management company and by getting out and talking with other businesses you may find a business interested in your services.
Consider loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are a common marketing technique used for local businesses. They are simple and effective. You can produce a card that encourages customers to buy a certain product or take a certain action. For example, a local baby and toddler group may encourage parents to buy four sessions and get the fifth one for free, or a local coffee shop awards ten purchased coffees with a free coffee. Loyalty programs are a proven success when it comes to encouraging repeat custom.
Incentivize customer referrals
Encourage your pre-existing customers to do the marketing on your behalf. Start a generous referral program by offering a special discount or irresistible freebie for every new customer existingg customers refer. These methods are often very popular in local communities as people feel as though they are doing their friends or community members a favor or passing on goodwill.