Having a physical space is nice, but only if you can attract enough customers to make it worthwhile. In this post, we are going to break down five things you can do to reach more local customers. Some of these techniques are simple, while others take time to implement. Using a combination of these five activities will help you build a loyal local customer base.
5 Ways to Reach More Local Customers
1. Network Locally
The first step you should take when you want to reach more customers is networking with local people. Here are a few steps you can take to start networking today.
Attend Local Events
Get out of your store and attend events happening in your area. If you can set up a booth at any local events, farmer’s markets, etc. you should do it. For example, if you have a college local to you, see if they have any events that allow the local community to get to know new students. This is a great way to get your name known quickly to a ton of college students.
Sponsor Local Events
There are likely a ton of awesome local events happening in your town, and sometimes these events need sponsors. A great place to look for sponsorship opportunities is local sports teams and marathons. You can likely get your logo on a shirt that will be worn for a long time to come, plus you can set up a booth at the event. Reach out to your local radio or television station and newspaper. They may have more specific local events your business can sponsor.
Team Up With More Established Stores
Once you start making a few waves in your community, reach out to other local businesses. If your business isn’t too competitive with theirs, see if you can create a working partnership with them. You never know what type of collaboration could form when you work with another local business on a project. No matter what you decide to do, creating a partnership will be beneficial to both stores.
Always Have A Business Card Ready
You never know when the opportunity will strike for you to share your business card. If you are great at starting a conversation, this can happen anywhere—in the line at the grocery store, while walking your dog, or even picking your kid up from school. Having a few business cards in your wallet will help you be ready at a moments notice to promote your business.
2. Coupons & Deals
Another quick way to reach more local customers is through the use of coupons and deals. There are many sites out there that will help you reach local customers through serving coupons and deals. Websites like Groupon, LivingSocial, and even Facebook, through their Facebook Offers program, can help you reach out to locals and serve them easy to use coupons. Utilizing Groupon and LivingSocial is a great way to build your local customer base.
3. Step Up Your Local SEO
Local search engine optimization takes a long time to build, but putting one foot forward and starting the local SEO process will help you out. You want to use services like Google My Business and Google Search Console to make sure that Google knows about your business and your website.
Google is one of the most used search engines, but you want to get listed on Bing and Yahoo as well. Pick out a few local keywords you want to be known for by doing some keyword research. Inject those phrases into the pages of your website. Here’s where you’ll want to put them:
- Page titles
- Page headers
- Page descriptions
- Body content
- Image alt text
These are the places on your website that Google scans. Don’t stuff keywords, make natural mentions to them.
Next, you should be building up your local listings on sites like Yelp, Foursquare, and more. These listings need to be consistent with your content on other websites so that customers have the best information to find your business.
Related eBook: SEO Pocket Guide
4. Target Local Customers With Ads
You can do so much in the way of targeting by using Google Adwords or Facebook Ads. These sites have built up so much information about their customers, which you can use to find your perfect local customers.
The great thing about these ad platforms is their powerful targeting capabilities. You can target locally or nationally with these platforms if you know what you are doing with their settings and you are creating ads that evoke emotion.
5. Build Great Relationships With Current Customers
Word of mouth can impact your local establishment significantly. This form of marketing works! In fact, in a Nielson poll, 83% of their online respondents said they trust the recommendations of their friends and family (Source: Nielson).
If you can tap into this as a small business, you can pull in more local customers. However, your customer experience needs to be great. People are more likely to share horrible experiences and remarkable experiences. You need to be able to put your customer first and give them an experience they will want to tell their friends and family about.
Building a local customer base takes time. You can’t expect to plant your store in a new neighborhood and get customers right away. Get out of your comfort zone and get out into the community. Get to know your new neighbors at networking events, and don’t be afraid to use the power of a good deal. While you are doing the day-to-day pavement work, get creative with your online presence. Customers will start rolling in before you know it, and you will become a part of the fabric of your community.
If you’re looking to further enhance your marketing through local listings, download our free eBook below: