Chances are that your small business is primarily, if not entirely, dependent on the support and patronage of your community. That being the case, you need to pay special attention to its members, investing in marketing that will attract them. Do you need some local marketing ideas to get you started? Consider 10 things you can do to boost awareness of your business within your locale and get more customers through your doors.
1. Create a Google My Business Profile
Every year, Google improves its local search capabilities more and more. Consumers rely on this search engine to find businesses close to them. If you want to get found by customers in your local area, you need to make sure you’re showing up on Google Maps results as well as the local results section of Google Search. How do you do that? With a Google My Business profile.
This free listing will not only give you greater visibility in local search, but it will also help you to obtain more customers. This is because the listing contains everything a consumer needs in order to make a decision about and even engage with your business. The key is to complete every section of your profile, obtain reviews, and publish posts regularly. For more on this, head to How to Optimize Your Google My Business Profile.
Already have a GMB profile? See how effective it is with our free Google Grader!
2. Send Locally-Focused Emails
Email is an effective way to keep in touch with past customers and gain new ones, especially for local businesses. Think about how you can make your emails more attention-grabbing with local content. You might try a monthly newsletter that also includes relevant updates about the community. Or maybe deals and discounts creatively named based on location-specific themes, such as street names or other community mainstays. You could also write free guides or blog posts with a local focus and distribute those via email. For example, a nutritionist could share a blog post on “Best Health Food Stores in the Chelmsford Area”, while a real estate agent could share a guide such as “Best Resources for Boston Home Buyers”.
3. Encourage Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is also a highly effective local marketing tactic. The best thing you can do to promote word-of-mouth in your local area, of course, is to provide outstanding customer service. You should also be proactive by asking for reviews, in person, via email, or on social media. One last idea is to package a solid offer up in a shareable email or social media post. If your audience members feel that someone they know could benefit as well, they’ll be happy to forward along to family and friends, increasing your business’s local exposure.
4. Run Targeted Google and Facebook Ads
Both Google and Facebook, two of the foremost search engines in the world, allow you to target potential customers in your local area specifically. Make use of this invaluable tool with pay-per-click ads. Most likely, you will see some immediate results from your ad campaigns including increased inquiries and even more sales. For help with running ads, check out these posts:
5. Distribute Business Cards, Brochures & Flyers
Though we live in an online world, printed material is still widely successful with local marketing. Make sure your collateral is eye-catching, clearly explains briefly what you do or offer, and contains all necessary contact information. You can then set them out at your physical location, pass them out to potential customers and partners, or leave them in popular local go-to’s such as coffee shops.
These too will keep your business top of mind and may also end up in the hands of potential customers you previously hadn’t reached.
6. Do a Giveaway
A lot of things may change, but one remains the same: people love free stuff! Therefore, a great way to attract locals to your business is to run a contest or giveaway. You could advertise through social media, the local paper or a nearby radio station. To get people through your doors, you might even require in-store pickup or redemption. For example, you could use this model: “The first [number] customers to stop by today will get a free [product or service]!”
7. Offer Referral Incentives
Kill two birds with one stone by offering referral incentives such as discounts and other coveted perks. Not only do they keep past customers coming back to you, but they also reel in new ones. Need we mention that these new customers—the family, friends and professional connections of current buyers—may also refer you, increasing your reach even more? This is, without a doubt, one of the most rewarding local marketing tactics you could use!
8. Become a Local Sponsor
Could you sponsor a local sports team, hold a fundraiser for a local youth club or support some other project or organization? Doing so would put your business on the radars of people who are involved with (or at least aware of) those projects and organizations. This might just lead to more business for you.
9. Do Some Volunteer Work
What if you’re not quite in a position to become a sponsor? You can still do some volunteer work within your community. No matter where you’re based, there’s surely something helpful you can do. You might consider helping out at local non-profit or charity event. This will give you the opportunity to meet and interact with locals and may also move the organizations you help to promote your business in some way.
10. Form a Local Partnership
Make it a practice to network with local business owners. As you do you’ll learn about their products and services, as well as their core values, mission, and customer base. If you find that their businesses complement yours and you’re targeting a similar demographic, a partnership might be worth considering.
You can then think of creative ways to promote one another’s businesses. This can be an effective way to go because you’ll have the credibility and good reputation of your partners working in your favor. Plus, their “vote of confidence” will give consumers all the more reason to trust and do business with you.
10. Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
There are many resources available today for local business owners. Have you considered registering with your local chamber of commerce? A chamber of commerce is one of many a sort of business network with a focus on furthering the interests of local businesses.
Regardless of whether you’ve heard of or considered joining this type of organization before now, one fact remains. You should register as soon as possible so you don’t miss out on any opportunities available to you as a member.
Next Level Local Marketing
Chances are, you’re doing some form of local marketing already, perhaps without even realizing it. Yet, even if that’s the case, it never hurts to try other tactics and incorporate those that work for your business into your long-term marketing strategy. Why not try out some of the ideas and suggestions above and see if you can attract more local customers to your small business?