Building a successful local small business is not easy. You have a limited catchment area from which to attract customers, and reaching those customers can be challenging.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your business into a thriving success! It just means that you have to be very pro-active with the local marketing strategies that you employ, and this means using a mixture of both offline and online strategies.
So, if you want to put a new business on the map or take an existing business to the next level, this post will help you get the local marketing juices flowing.
#1. Sponsor a Local Event
Sponsoring a local event is not only a great way to give back to the community but its also an excellent way to build recognition for your brand and business.
In any month, there are probably tons of events taking place in your area, and the organizers’ will more than likely be looking for sponsors.
Get in touch with your local chamber of commerce, municipality, or council to find what events are coming up, and then contact the organizers about advertising opportunities.
#2. Sponsor a Local Sports Team
While sponsoring local events is an excellent way to build awareness of your business, such events are usually one-off. So, the exposure you gain is short-lived.
However, if you sponsor a local sports team, you get exposure on an on-going basis every time there is a game.
Sponsoring a local sports team might require more money than sponsoring a one-off event, but if you have the budget, it’s certainly worth considering.
#3. Get Listed in Google My Business
For local businesses, having a Google My Business profile is a must!
Google My Business is a free listing platform that Google provides to local business owners. When you create a profile, your business can appear in Google search results and Google maps.
You can populate your Google My Business listing with essential information about your business such as a description, opening hours, photographs, and of course your address. Your customers can also add reviews of your business which will show on your profile.
To learn more about how to create a Google My Business profile, I recommend reading this post from Ardentgrowth.com ‘The Definitive Guide to Google My Business in 2019.’
#4. Create a Website
Creating a website and getting it online is super-easy today. It’s also very cheap. With website builders like Wix and Square space, anyone can build a professional site – even those who are not tech-savvy.
Having a website will give your business an online presence and enable you to be found on Google and other search engines.
Aside from search engines, having a website is something that potential customers will expect. When they hear about your business, they will probably first visit your site.
On your website, you can add information such as the services you offer, opening hours, FAQs, contact details, reviews, etc.
#5. Start Blogging
Once you have a website, you can add a blog to it where you can write and publish helpful content that’s related to your business. For example, if you have a beauty salon, you could blog about beauty tips.
Having a blog on your website will help your business gain more visibility in search engines. It will also position you as an expert in your field of business.
An excellent example of how a blog can help your business grow is the story of Mark Sheridan. By answering questions in the form of blog posts, Mark was able to turn his small (struggling) local business into a million-dollar operation.
#6. Use Facebook Ads
If your customers use Facebook (and I am sure they do), then you can use Facebook advertising to get your business in front of them.
Facebook has a powerful advertising platform. It enables you to create target audiences based on their interests, demographics, behaviors, and geographical location.
If you are worried about the costs of such advertising – don’t be. Facebook is very cost-effective, and you can set a daily budget on how much you want to spend.
Learning how to use the Facebook advertising platform is a bit of a learning curve. However, there are lots of guides online, such as this one that will help you master it.
#7. Use Google Ads
Using Google Ads is another great way to get your business in front of customers in your local area. When people search on Google using keywords related to your business, your ad can appear at the top of the search results page.
Like with Facebook, coming to grips with the Google advertising platform is a bit of learning of curve, but there are also lots of guides and tutorials available online. Here are two to get you started this one from the Kinsta blog and this one the Surfside PPC YouTube channel.
#8. Create a Referral Progam
Referral programs are commonplace in the online world where businesses offer their customers discounts off future purchases or commissions for referring new customers.
However, referral programs are not just for online they work equally well for brick and mortar and offline business.
Referral marketing is very powerful because the person making the referral is already your customer (an advocate). When they promote your business, their recommendation carries more weight and trust.
#9. Advertise on Local Radio
Radio advertising is a super-effective marketing channel. Over 243 million Americans listen to the radio each month – which means potential customers are listening in your local area.
The cost of adverting on your local radio station will vary depending on your location, the time slot, and the length of the advertisement that you run. However, if you have the budget, it’s a marketing channel you should consider.
Fitsmallbusiness.com published an excellent post, “Radio Advertising Guide: How To Get Started Today,” that you should definitely read if you want to explore this marketing channel further.
#10. Distribute Flyers
Flyers have to be one of the oldest forms of marketing. However, they work just as well today as they have throughout the ages. I have used flyers to market many of my business enterprises, and they never fail to deliver results.
Creating a flyer is pretty straightforward. You can hire a designer, or you could even do it yourself using an online tool like Canva. If you opt for the latter option, make sure that your final design looks professional.
Once you have your flyers created, get a batch printed, and then distribute them throughout the neighborhoods in your area. You can also leave them in local stores and business premises.
#11. Host Events
Events are a fantastic way to generate a buzz around your business. The type of event you can host will largely depend on your business.
For example, a hip bar might host a battle of the bands, where local musicians battle it out to win a cash prize. A bakery might host a workshop where people can learn how to make specialty cakes. A restaurant could host a free tasting night where people choose the dishes that go on a new menu.
There is a lot of work that goes into planning an event such as logistics, marketing, and production. However, if done right, it will help put your business in the spotlight and attract new customers.
#12. Use Email Marketing
Email marketing allows you to keep existing customers engaged with your business, products, and services and enables you to gain new leads (potential customers).
Some of the ways you can grow your list include:
- Create a newsletter that visitors to your website can opt into
- Offer exclusive deals and offers to people who subscribe
- Run a competition that requires email registration
- Ask customers to sign-up to your email list at the cash register
Once you have subscribers on your list, it’s essential to treat you treat them with respect. Not every email should be a promotion or an offer.
To learn more about local email marketing, check out this post on Business2community.com ‘How Local Businesses Can Leverage Email Marketing.‘
#13. Start a Loyalty Program
When you get a new customer, you want them to keep them happy, so they continue to purchase your products and services. And one of the best ways to ensure their return custom is through a loyalty or reward program.
Your loyalty program could be as simple as a cardboard punch card (popular for coffee shops) or something more elaborate like a reward points debit card.
It doesn’t matter the type of loyalty program you implement as long as customers feel valued and get rewarded for spending money with your business.
#14. Cross-Promote with Other Businesses
Cross-promotion also knows as co-marketing is when you team up with another business in your area (not a direct competitor) to create a mutually beneficial promotion.
The key to successful cross-promotions is partnering with other businesses that offer products and service that complement those that your offer, and where there is a connection between the audiences you serve.
For example, a sportswear store might collaborate with a local gym, where gym members get a discount when they purchase from the sports store, and customers of the sports store get a discount off gym membership.
Partnering with other businesses in this way is a win, win situation for both parties.
#15. Transit Advertising
Transit advertising is when you use public transport and transport hubs to advertise your business. You can place advertisements on buses, taxis, trains (inside or out) or in local transport hubs such as a bus station.
This type of advertising can give your business mass exposure and enable you to reach a broad (captive) audience of hundreds if not thousands of people.
The cost of transit advertising will vary depending on where you live the type of ads you place, and where you place them. However, the rates, in general, are not very high.
Over to you
Now that you have strategy ideas for how to market and grow your business. It’s time to put some of them into action and start turning your small business into a local household name.