If you own a small business, whether it’s a bricks-and-mortar or online company, you rely on the local market for their support. In fact, the majority of your business comes from the community in which you live and work. That means your audience is somewhat limited so you have to make the most of your marketing efforts in order to maximize the chance of attracting new customers. Small businesses often don’t have the financial and technical resources to embark on a high-tech, far-reaching marketing campaign, but that’s not really necessary. In fact, there are nine local marketing ideas that can produce big results.
- Create a Website for Your Business
Even if you don’t intend to sell anything online, a website is a great way to attract local customers. Ideally, you’ll purchase your own domain name, generally the name of your business, or something that explains what you do. You don’t have to have a huge site with all the bells and whistles, in fact, it can be very simple. A home page that explains what you do and how your services benefit them, a contact page, and a page about your company are all you really need.
2. Get Your Business Listed on Google
The majority of people do a quick Google search whenever they need information or recommendations for local businesses. In fact, about half of 18 to 35-year-old people search for local businesses on a daily basis, and more than 80% search weekly. A Google “My Business Account” listing is a fast, easy way to get the word out online about your business. You don’t just get a business listing though, it also allows customers to find your company location and hours through a Google search and your company shows up on Google maps as well.
3. Verify and Update Your Yelp Information
Online review sites are an incredibly popular and useful tool for customers. According to a Nielson study commissioned by Yelp, 74% of people searching for a business online turn to online reviews before making a purchase. The study also showed that 92% of consumers chose to make a purchase after they read reviews of a company’s products or services. Make sure that your business address, telephone number, and hours are accurate so that customers can find you without hassle.
4. Work On Your Local SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the primary way that business websites achieve a high ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). This allows people to find the business’s listing when they’re actively searching. Crafting blogs and other content that use the locality, services offered, photos and other pertinent information are key activities. Links from local newspapers and other authority sites along with customer reviews also improve the local SEO for a business.
5. Use Social Media to Reach Customers
It’s no secret that social media networks are popular, in fact, more than 2.7 billion people worldwide use social media. What many business owners don’t realize is that social media is also a great place to market themselves. Relevant, topical, timely posts, photos, and videos to networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are effective ways to do this. Customers and fans of your business will happily share your posts and spread the word for you. You can also pay for advertisements that target specific groups of people on social media, often for an extremely low cost.
6. Join and Participate in Local Business Groups
The Chamber of Commerce and other local professional groups and organizations are a great way to get attention for your business. Participating in events and networking with other local business owners will help you gain credibility and customers. In many cases, member businesses are more inclined to do business with fellow members than non-members. Keep in mind that you may have to pay a membership to join, but the cost is easily recovered by the new business that it creates.
7. Offer Rewards and Incentives to Customers
Everyone loves to get something for free or to get a discount for the things that they buy. Loyalty programs help increase the amount customers spend and encourage them to come back time and again. Rewards like discounts on your products or services, either through an online discount code or coupon are also great ways to encourage repeat business, especially for price-sensitive customers. Also, consider offering a reward to current customers who refer others to your business such as a free gift or big discount on their next purchase.
8. Traditional Marketing Techniques Still Work
Even though there’s a huge emphasis on digital marketing these days, it’s not the only way to reach your local target market. Business cards, flyers, postcards, coupons, and other printed materials are a very effective way to let people know about your company. Get the highest quality materials you can and make sure you include information about your services or products, hours, and your contact information. Hand out your paper materials to anyone who’s interested and update them whenever you make changes or additions.
9. Become a Sponsor for Local Events
Sponsoring and supporting local festivals, sporting events, and other community activities is an excellent way to show your community spirit. You may choose to contribute money to help facilitate the event, provide some service or product for the event, or help a local school fundraiser by donating your profits for a specific day. When people see your company’s name associated with a positive event, they’ll be more likely to visit your business and support you in return. No events in your area? Create one and become the main sponsor and driving force behind it.
Even if your business is located in a very small community, you can’t expect people to just know that you’re there. You have to put effort into marketing activities that promote your products and services or you’ll miss out. The nine suggestions mentioned in this article are powerful individually but when combined, they’re hard to beat. Remember, you don’t need a huge marketing budget or a lot of experience to make a major impact on current and potential customers.