Are you looking for more effective ways to market your small business to your local market?
You may be aware of marketing strategies for promoting your business nationally or globally, but how do you apply these on a local scale to attract customers?
There are many simple, creative ways to promote your business locally, which range for local digital PR methods to more traditional marketing techniques to capture your local market. Sometimes this involves taking more general marketing and PR techniques and applying them on a local level, whereas in other cases it is advantageous to use methods specific to local marketing.
Check our list below for ideas on how to build your brand locally in order to drive sales and grow your business.
Local link building is a very specific type of link building with a different approach compared to ranking for national and international SERPs (search engine results pages). This involves ranking for searches related to your locality: that is your town, suburb or city.
Target keywords relevant to your local area and your SEO services, include high-quality citations on your site and work on local link building (see below) to put you at the top of searches for your industry and location.
Local Link Building
You may be familiar with link building – the process of attaining links to your site from reputable, well-known sites. This is highly beneficial because it not only improves your site’s SEO but also generates more organic traffic back to your site.
You can achieve local link building by:
Creating great locally focussed content
Build lists of local media and non-media prospects
Conduct outreach to these lists and acquire links
Build a Network of Local Businesses
Networking with other local businesses can be extremely useful for sharing ideas, providing mutual support, and referring customers. Build as many connections as possible not just with businesses in your niche but with all small businesses in your area. Refer customers to these businesses as often as possible, and they will likely do the same for you.
Hold a Local Business Forum
This is a great way to make connections with other local businesses. Host a forum on a topic relevant to small businesses and invite all the businesses in your area. Keep it as general as possible – such as marketing, social media or management – to be inclusive of all types of companies. This is a great way to build connections and share ideas at the same time.
Apply for Local Business Awards
Most localities have a range of awards for local businesses, whether they are industry-specific, theme-based (such as environmental conservation or giving back to the community) and for small businesses in general. Research the awards available in your local area, when they are awarded and what you need to do to be considered. Don’t be afraid to put yourself forward or ask a contact to nominate you if you feel you are eligible.
Create a Customer Referral Program
Particularly on a local level, recommendations from someone in their network is one of the main reasons people choose to use a business. Set up a program for customer referrals – that is, encourage existing customers to refer new business to you by offering them a reward when they do so. Rewards could be a free product, service, subscription or something else.
Social Media Networking
You probably know how important social media is in marketing your business. You can use social media to bolster your online presence and generate leads. It is also extremely effective in building communities, letting you build a network of local customers and potential customers. You can do this through interactive and engaging posts which build your relationship with your customer base, as well as online groups such as creating and moderating a Facebook group specifically for your customers.
Use Targeted Facebook Advertising
Location is one of the many metrics you can use to target Facebook advertising. If your Facebook posts are not getting the organic reach you would like, you can pay for posts which are targeted to users in your local area. Furthermore, you can target the ads on a range of other factors to reach your target audience or even specific parts of your target audience.
Set Up an Online Contest
You can run a contest through social media or another online platform to create some buzz around your business, increase brand awareness and bring in new leads. Target the contest at a local level either through the contest theme, the prize, or both.
Use Graphics and Videos
In the noisy online world of today, graphics and videos are a great way to get attention from potential customers. You may not have the resources to create your own videos, but you can find great ones from other sources and share these to engage with your base. Infographics are an incredibly popular and shareable type of content which can get your business noticed. If you don’t have the funds to pay a designer to create these for you, consider building up your skills and creating some yourself.
Distribute Business Cards and Flyers
In the midst of modern digital marketing techniques, don’t forget that some of the oldest forms of marketing can still be the most effective. Have a stock of professional, visually appealing postcards, flyers or brochures. Give them out to leads, ask existing customers to pass them around their network, have them in your store for people to pick up, and ask other local business to display them. Of course, offer to display cards and flyers of other businesses in return.
Keep a Mailing List
Keep a mailing list of your existing customers which includes postal addresses, not just emails. Along with maintaining email contacts with them, such as a regular newsletter and updates on news, special offers, and sales, consider sending them personal mail in the post. “Snail mail” is so uncommon these days that your customers will probably be delighted to receive mail from you, especially if it a personalized, handwritten note or postcard.
Network Through LinkedIn
Many small businesses have some kind of LinkedIn presence, but greatly underuse the potential of the platform. Seek out connections in your industry as well as local connections in any industry, reach out to these connections and join groups to find new connections. Don’t forget you can also share content on LinkedIn to further engage and build your network.
Feature in Local Media
Approach local publications such as newspapers or magazines and offer to write a feature or editorial. Send press releases to local media outlets about products, services or news which will be of interest to the local community.
Support Your Local Community
Build brand awareness locally by supporting local events, charities or sporting teams. Volunteer with local charities and encourage your staff to do the same, or involve your team and even your customers to hold a local fundraiser supporting a local cause. Along with generating great publicity, this is a chance to give back to the community which supports your business.