Shopping locally is so important these days for the ever-growing socially conscious consumer. I know that as a business owner, advertising can get expensive, and quickly!
Not many of us even have a budget when we are just starting out, so I wanted to share some great tips on how you can promote your business locally.
Think because you only have an online store that this doesn’t apply to you? Spoiler, this marketing advice does and it is important, so keep on reading…
Once upon a time you could just take out an ad in your local paper and feel confident that you had done a great job of marketing and that people were seeing it.
However, those fairy-tale days are gone since platforms like Facebook came along and many small business owners are taking marketing into their own hands.
Readership is down worldwide for traditional print magazines and papers. people are opting to get their news online and on their phones instantly. While we all might miss those “simpler” days, it also has been very beneficial for business owners.
This article isn’t about paying to play. You can absolutely build your business locally, without paying a single penny.
Here are 10 helpful ideas to promote your business for free locally
1. Make Sure Your Website Adds Value and is Easy To Use!
Whether you’re targeting local or customers all over the world, your website should clearly explain what you do, be easy to find and navigate, and be attractive.
The job of your website is to make a conversion! Whether that is generating a new lead or a transactional customer, a conversion should be your goal!
Beyond that, anything further is a Bonus!
Let’s consider a few.
- Does your website communicate your brand identity well
- Is it friendly for mobile users?
- Are you utilizing SEO (search engine optimization)? A lot of business owners don’t understand how search engines work. They create a site and then are super confused because they are getting no traffic at all.
The great thing is a few small changes to website text can boost your rankings on search engines.
For example, simply adding locations to your keywords can make a substantial difference and improve your rankings! If someone is searching for “restaurants” or “Italian Restaurants” you would have millions of hits come up around the world. However, by adding some location tags such as “Italian Restaurants Near Me” or better yet, “Italian Restaurants – Philadelphia” your competition remarkably diminishes.
2. Make Blogging and Guest Posting a Priority!
If you want to be seen, you need to be creating new content pretty regularly. This is why it is a good idea to add a blog to your website. Adding a blog and blogging regularly increases your chances of being noticed, it also helps with that SEO again, as you can use your keywords and phrases in your blog posts. Websites get crawled quite regularly so it’s always beneficial to have new, quality content.
Writing a blog also gives your customers an opportunity to get to know more about you and your company.
You can also repurpose these blog posts into email newsletters or lead magnets and into various social media posts. Write a few blog posts every month and you could start attracting more readers or customers to your business because you are adding value and insight around your subject matter which is important to your audience!
Adding social sharing buttons to your blog posts is a smart idea! Doing so enables readers the opportunity to easily share your posts, whereby more people discover you and your business!
Blogging for someone else’s site is also a great way to gain more exposure for your business, and get a reputation as an expert – especially if they’re well known in your local area. It’s almost like an amazing and secret hack to build your affluence on the efforts of other’s audiences!
Guest posting gives you an awesome opportunity to make new contacts with other businesses and hopefully attract some loyal readers. These readers could absolutely evolve into customers, plus you are supporting your local community, instead of competing against it.
3. Build an Email List
Everyone is so busy these days.
Customers may absolutely love your products, but they have short attention spans. If you don’t stay in contact, people move on to more engaging companies. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask customers to subscribe to an email list. Further, as many of us have come to realize, world events like Pandemics and Shut-Downs can dramatically impact how you do business, communicate or not communicate easily with your customers!
Sending an email is like calling someone at home and it is the best way to let customers know about new products, services, or deals.
Less than 5% of your customers may be seeing your latest Facebook post so it is absolutely imperative to be in their inbox.
Not sure what to write about? We got you!
Aside from monthly happenings and events, you can also spotlight a new product or include a case study. Sharing small stories about some of your top customers shows others that you care about more than money.
Need help with this? We would be elated to you!
4. Be In Touch With Your Local Press!
It’s important to keep in touch with your local newspaper/blog/radio etc and submit press releases that have the potential opportunity to get you in print for free.
These could be about anything from taking on new staff to winning a new client – it doesn’t have to be big news, just something to let locals know you are there.
If you have an event happening that coincides with a national holiday or an important headline, this is especially relative, share that with your local press!
Not sure how to contact them? Take a look at their websites and look for their contact forms or community editor. Make sure your subject line is catchy so it makes them want to open up that email!
If you start to build relationships with editors and journalists this can help ensure that your press release is read and hopefully published.
5. Offer In-Store Rewards!
Giving loyal customers reasons to keep saying good things about you is a smart strategy!
Offering a discounted product sparks word-of-mouth marketing!
Customers trust friends and family to make good recommendations. It’s worth mentioning that one person with a big network can have a massive impact on your business.
6. Getting Your Business on Local Directories
Getting future customers to find out where you are is crucial, and one of the best ways local businesses can be found online is by adding their company to top online business directories.
The biggest one is Google. Creating and maintaining a Google Business Profile can yield incredible and nearly instantaneous results for your business!
It is also important to get your business verified on Google.
Not sure about how to do that? Reach out to me! I’d be glad to help!
Now, Google isn’t the only player in town! There are a number of popular online directories, including Trip Advisor, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Make sure you place your details on all of them, because if you are only posting on these top few, then you will be missing an opportunity to be found by customers and clients who are after your services.
Tip: Make sure your listing’s information is consistent across all directories!
And since most directories are purposeful for would be people looking for products and services you provide locally, it’s a really good idea to make certain you are in these directories.
7. Be Active on Social Media
It is imperative for any business to be on Social Media!
On social media, you can promote any news, events about your business or industry! You can interact with your audience as well as post your awesome blog content through the most common media channels, including TikTok, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter.
With Instagram, you can search local hashtags and engage with those posts!
You can literally see people who are nearby and build that connection by giving yourself a few minutes each day to do.
8. Go To Local Networking Events and Build Those Connections
The best way to meet new local contacts (and potential customers) is to get yourself out there at Local Networking Events!
Make it a point of attending local events and meet-ups. It’s a smart idea to participate in conversations by asking questions or volunteering to speak at an event.
Yes, it’s been challenging over the past few years with the pandemic and local shut-downs, but the world is opening back up and people are eager to get back in front of other people and businesses!
Don’t know where to find local events?
You can search for local events by region, county, town, or city on Facebook or use Eventbrite for a start. You can also look for networking events, workshops, seminars, and business shows.
9. Ask for Online Reviews!
Making sure your business presents an awesome first impression on people researching your business online is also a very smart consideration!
When you set up accounts with online directories like Yelp and TripAdvisor, having a consistent system in place to ask your customers and clients to write or leave reviews about you and your business should be part of your operating procedures!
Customers who rave about your products in person don’t always take the time to write reviews (but you better believe they will leave a negative one if they had a bad experience!).
Most of the time, asking is enough to motivate customers to write a glowing review. Include a call to action in the bottom of your email newsletters with an easy link for them to write a review!
With every customer interaction, it’s a good idea to encourage new customers to leave a review or recommendation. Asking for a review right after a purchase or an interaction with you keeps the experience fresh in their minds. If any of your customers have a large following on review sites, their praise can send lots of business your way.
10. Hosting Events, Classes, or Demos
Adding value to your prospects’ lives in advance often leads to more business!
You can do this easily and cheaply by hosting online or in-person events, classes, or demos!
Doing so frequently and consistently can be huge for raising awareness and promoting sales too!
A great way to do this is by talking to your customers about common obstacles or questions they have and then formulating a way to teach them how to overcome those common obstacles through your event(s).
As a local business, you are likely a subject matter expert and likely know the answers to most of your customers’ problems.
Whatever you know, use it to build trust with customers.
Focus on how you can help others with a short class demonstrating how to solve a problem. At the same time, you get a chance to show your expertise and showcase specific products.
Create a clear call to action for customers who attend. Set up a display with all the products used in the demo, and talk more about your business one on one whenever you can.
Oh, and don’t forget to get email addresses!
Doing so will allow you to continue to add value and communicate with your existing and future customers!
I hope these 10 tips have given you some great ideas to go forward and promote your local business.
If you need help implementing any of these ideas, please reach out to me. I’d be elated to help!