Picture this: A local bakery with delicious, homemade treats and a loyal following.
Their prices are reasonable and their customer service is top-notch, but hardly anyone knows they exist outside of the neighborhood.
Meanwhile, a generic chain store with overpriced, mediocre pastries draws in a steady stream of customers. Yes, they have flashy ads and aggressive marketing tactics up their sleeves.
How to market your small business locally can be a real challengeᅳespecially when it comes to getting the word out in your local community. However, with the right strategy, you can turn your small business into a thriving local hotspot that keeps getting more customers.
In this article, we’ll be looking into some tried and tested methods for marketing your small business in your local area. These work as long as you work them.
By the end, you should have a better and a clearer understanding of how to boost your visibility—and an authentic way to attract new customers to your small business.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
#1: Run Social Media Contests
The key to running successful social media contests and competitions is to engage your local audience in a fun and meaningful way. By giving away prizes and encouraging user-generated content, you can (and will eventually) increase brand awareness and also strengthen customer loyalty.
Let’s take our previous example of a local bakery, which could run a photo contest.
The customers are asked to share pictures of their favorite treats and tag the bakery’s social media page. In the end, the winner receives a free dozen cupcakes and have their photo featured on the bakery’s website and social media.
The possibilities are endless and you are only limited by your imagination.
Here are three useful tips for running social media contests successfully:
- Set clear rules and guidelines to avoid confusion and ensure fairness. Include details about entry deadlines, eligibility requirements, and of course, prize details.
- Promote your contest on multiple social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Use relevant hashtags and encourage participants to share with their friends and followers.
- Follow up with participants and announce the winners in a timely manner. Consider offering exclusive discounts or special offers to every participant as a thank-you for their support.
Running social media contests and competitions can be a powerful tool for building brand awareness and customer loyalty.
By engaging your audience in a fun and meaningful way, you can definitely encourage user-generated content and incentivize participation with prizes/recognition.
#2: Leverage Local Micro-Influencers
You don’t have to aim for influencers with a large following to promote your brand. In fact, studies have shown that partnering with local micro-influencers can be more effective in terms of engagement and conversion rates.
To pitch to local micro-influencers:
- Do your research and look for individuals in your community or industry who have a small but strong following and are well-known for their influence/reputation.
- Reach out to them with a personalized message explaining your brand and why you believe a partnership would be mutually beneficial. Avoid being pushy or salesy in your outreach.
For instance, let’s say you own a small coffee shop. You could easily reach out to a local food blogger or Instagram influencer with a significant following in your area. Offer them a free coffee or meal in exchange for a social media post or story promoting your brand. Brainstorm with your team to come up with ideas.
Not only will this generate exposure to their followers, but you can also use their content for future marketing efforts.
Keep in mind that micro-influencers may not expect payment, but it’s always courteous to offer some compensation—even if it’s just in the form of a free product or experience.
By partnering with local micro-influencers, you can tap into their engaged and loyal following while also reinforcing your brand’s presence in the community.
#3: Offer Discounts to Local Customers
Let’s face it, running a small business can be tough—especially when you’re trying to attract local customers to your online store.
Offering discounts to local customers can be a great way to boost your online sales and support your community along the way.
Here are a few things you can do to get started without getting stuck:
– Offer a percentage or dollar amount off for first-time online orders.
– Create a loyalty program where customers earn points for every online purchase that they can redeem for discounts.
– Host a giveaway or contest for customers who place an online order, and promote it on social media using location-specific hashtags.
– Partner with other local businesses to offer a bundle discount when customers order from both businesses online.
– Make sure your online store is user-friendly and optimized for mobile devices, so customers can easily browse and purchase from anywhere.
For example, if you run a clothing store in downtown Chicago, you could offer a referral program where customers receive a 10% discount on their next online order for every customer they refer.
You could also host a flash sale for a weekend and offer a 25% discount on all online orders to create excitement and urgency.
The more you experiment here, the better you get.
#4: Attract Foot Traffic Creatively
An effective way to creatively attract foot traffic to your small business is to showcase your unique value proposition through immersive marketing tactics.
This could mean hosting events, partnering with other local businesses to cross-promote, or offering exclusive in-store experiences.
By creating a memorable experience for potential customers, you can differentiate yourself from competitors and build a loyal customer base.
It’s also important to visually communicate your presence using eye-catching storefront displays and signage.
You have to work on standing out from the crowd and give people a reason to come in and see what your small business is all about. That’s how you get noticed by the local crowd and keep them coming back for more.
#5: Get the Most Out of Your Google Business Profile
No small business can afford to ignore the power of a well-optimized Google Business Profile (GBP) in today’s online landscape.
Apart from being the go-to source for Google’s local business information, GBPs provide a host of features to help you stand out and connect with potential customers.
For instance, you can:
- Showcase your latest products or services with regular Google Posts that appear in your GBP’s Knowledge Panel.
- Engage with customers and build trust by responding to reviews, messages, and Q&A in a timely/professional manner.
- Highlight your unique selling proposition with photos, videos, and virtual tours—giving searchers a glimpse of what to expect when they visit your store or office.
To make the most of your GBP, here are three quick tips that you can apply today:
- Keep your business information up-to-date and accurate, including your address, phone number, website URL, and opening hours.
- Use targeted keywords in your business description, categories, and attributes to help Google understand your business better and rank you higher in relevant search queries.
- Monitor your GBP regularly for any updates, notifications, or customer feedback. Try to respond promptly and professionally to any issues or inquiries that arise.
Example: If you run a local coffee shop, you could use your GBP to share photos of your latte art and promote your weekly specials. You can and should respond to customer reviews with personalized messages thanking them for their patronage.
#6: Give Back to the Local Community
Being part of a local community means giving back and supporting causes that matter to your customers. It’s one of the most fulfilling ways to grow your small business.
Let’s look into some ideas on how small businesses can help their local communities:
- Partner with local charities and donate a portion of your profits to their cause. This helps build trust and shows customers that you don’t just care about making money.
- Sponsor local events such as fundraisers, festivals, and school functions. This gives your business exposure and helps support your community at the same time.
- Offer free or discounted services to community members in need. This can include things such as free haircuts for veterans, discounted meals for low-income families, or pro bono legal services for all those who cannot afford them.
- Host workshops or classes that benefit the community. For example, a fitness studio could host a free yoga session in the park.
- Support local artists and makers by showcasing their work in your store or hosting events that promote their products.
- Volunteer your time and resources to local nonprofits and community organizations. This could include things like serving meals at a homeless shelter, organizing a cleanup day at a local park, or mentoring young entrepreneurs.
Giving back to your community isn’t just good for your small business—it’s the right thing to do.
By supporting local causes and organizations, you can build a loyal customer base and help make your community a better place for everyone.
#7: Create a Customer Loyalty Program
If you want to boost sales and build a loyal customer base for your small business, consider creating a customer loyalty program. With this marketing tactic, you can incentivize your existing customers to spend more money and increase purchase frequency.
You can actually implement a successful customer loyalty program in a few simple steps:
Step 1: Determine your program’s goals: Focus on increasing purchase frequency and average purchase amount to drive growth through sales.
Step 2: Decide on rewards: Your loyalty program could be as simple as a punch card, where customers receive a free reward after a certain number of visits. Alternatively, you can implement a system based on different spending tiers to reward your highest spending customers.
Step 3: Set up tracking: Consider using a customer profile or mobile app to track your loyalty program’s effectiveness and reward redemption.
Step 4: Promote your program: Spread the word about your loyalty program through social media, email marketing, and in-store signage to encourage more participation.
By implementing a customer loyalty program, you can create a more engaging and rewarding experience for your local customers and drive business growth. So why not give it a try today?
How To Market Your Small Business Locally – Conclusion
Marketing a small business locally can be a challenge, but with the right strategies, it is possible to boost visibility and attract new customers.
If you’re creative in your approach and are willing to put in the effort, there’s no reason why your small business cannot get noticed in your local area and grow.
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