Marketing a local business can be a challenging thing. It can be easy to burn through hundreds, if not thousands of dollars targeting the wrong people. We reached out to marketing experts to get their unique ideas for marketing your local business, here is what they had to say…
Promotional products are a great way to market your local business. By gifting promotional items which have been engraved or printed with your own branding, to your existing customers or the local community, each time your branded products are used it creates additional awareness for your brand. Seeing someone use a branded promotional product is similar to a citation in a written report or a testimonial in a reviews section. It almost like verification of the brand’s approval from the user of the product. That is why many promotional products nowadays are useful items which we generate a lot of real-life uses, such as pens, tote bags, and umbrellas.
Contributors: Andrew Wheller from No-Minimum
As a Local business, you are better when you are face-to-face. For this reason, local businesses should take full advantage of the power of video as one of the core methods to attract awareness and build relationships. Video put YOU the local business owner, back into your relationships and help them stay in touch more effectively. The best and most effective method is to incorporate video into their email communications & social media posts. The key to winning attention in their patrons crowded inbox or social media feeds are simply their smiling face. Videos can be used as part of their email communications, birthday wishes to their customers, VIP offers, request for customer reviews, and method to build relationships by introducing the community to other local businesses. Use video to re-humanize communications.
Contributors: Javed S. Khan from EMpression
The number one thing, that every small business has that no chain or corporation can have is an individual personality. Local business owners need to make their marketing unique to their personality, include yourself in your promotion. You're probably already doing this (it is your business after all) but you need to include your uniqueness in everything to do.
The most important lesson to learn about business is people do business with people and once they realize you're a real human being the will always choose you over the faceless corporation. Write your social media posts in the first person, tweet as if your business is you and include yourself in images. We all love real people, be real and be personal.
Contributors: Xavier Parkhouse-Parker from ZapHub
Geon is useful for local business marketing campaigns as users can be rewarded for their presence and engagement at a specific location, making marketing efforts more transparent for small and/or local enterprises. For example, a coffee shop may provide a discount to customers who redeem Geon Coins at checkout.
Contributors: Emie-Claude Lamoureux from MLG Blockchain Consulting
I think one creative marketing ploy is getting a custom Snapchat filter. When (young) people visit places, they like to take pictures and share where they are on Snapchat. If you have a fun filter, then this increases awareness simply by virtue of existing. If it's great enough to share, then you have the added bonus of it being shared with each person's personal network.
Contributors: Catherine Giese from Fundera
One rapidly growing method of marketing for local businesses is geofencing. Geofencing uses smartphone location services via a mobile app to identify when a client is within a specified radius of your business. Allowing you to send out notifications and gain repeat buyers. Imagine being able to send a coupon to customers who are currently within half a mile of your business. The notification reminds them you are in the area and the discount might entice them to drop in.
Contributors: Krista Barrack from Xverify LLC
One great way to market your local business without breaking the bank is sponsoring events or activities at a local school. It may seem old hat but by matching what your store offers with a particular audience, you can place highly-specific ads for less than a TV-spot or hiring a digital marketing agency. For example, you could sponsor a high school cross-country team in exchange for placing a logo for your running shoe store on their t-shirts or you could sponsor a kindergarten graduation and place an ad for your toy store in pamphlets. If you have a restaurant or ice cream store near a high school, you can advertise at popular sporting events with fliers or official sponsorship that if the home team wins, ticket-holders will receive 15% off their purchase. There are tons of ways market through schools if you have the right offerings and make your ads highly-targeted.
Contributors: Nicolas Straut from Fundera
Visit local coffee shops, attend local functions such as fairs or events, and support fellow local businesses. The more people in the area that know you and your goals, the more people that will want to see your business succeed.
Contributors: David A. Boudjeda from Illumine8 Marketing & PR
With high-quality photography and video content leading the way when it comes to digital engagement, companies of all sizes are investing in making their premises more camera friendly. Arguably an extension of traditional user-generated content, promoting the internal and external identity of your premises can help build the following and interest of your brand not only across digital channels but through traditional word of mouth also. Whether it be decorations, accessories or extensive branding, excitement and buzz photographs well.
Contributors: Dylan Macdonald from Phlo - Digital Pharmacy
Think about how modern customers find local businesses today. Usually, they type a series of keywords into a search engine followed by a location, such as "best restaurants in Chicago" or "bookstores lincoln park". With the rise of voice search, customers now search using full sentences (find restaurants near me) combined with their GPS location. That’s why it’s important for Google to know exactly where a business is located. The best way to inform Google is to create hundreds of online citations with the business’s NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number).
We replicate that info on YellowPages, Yelp, Google My Business, and countless other niche directories. We also develop several blog posts that highlight the business’s location and their key offerings. Finally, we also create business reviews, which are a key element to a site’s SEO. Once all these tactics are combined, Google will increase the ranking of the website, driving higher traffic and more effective engagement without having to pay for expensive billboards or commercials.
Contributors: Mike Stratta from Arcalea
Engage with your community on social media! Let’s say you own an ice cream stand. You see that the local high school Facebook page posts something about their varsity baseball team winning a game. Share that post from your business page and announce a 25% off special for the rest of the night at your store. You give the high school baseball team some publicity, and also encourage people to come to your store. It’s a win-win. Take advantage of happenings in your local schools, charities, event centers, or even other businesses by thinking of other creative ways to engage your business with those people.
Contributors: Andrew Schutt from Elevated Web Marketing
A testimonial from a client is more powerful than any other form of marketing so I would recommend getting a 30-second snippet of a customer on video saying great things about your business and then run the ad on Facebook within 5 miles of your store. Conversion rates are very high on this type of ad and the actual ad cost is pretty low because Facebook promotes video content to try to compete with Youtube.
Contributors: Alex Membrillo from Cardinal Digital
The best means of getting your business known is via word of mouth. It works well to find another independent local business that attracts the clientele you are looking to appeal and offer a collaboration. A great example is hairdressers working with aesthetic clinics. The target audience for both businesses are male and females who are image conscious and have disposable income. Offer to run a campaign via social media like a referral scheme where clients are offered special discounts when they book with the collaborating business. The customer sees it as an extra benefit and your business will receive a mention from another established business.
Contributors: Gina Hutchings from The Treatment Tester Marketing
There is nothing better for a local business than a local cause. Sure, the cause can also be national - but the more local the better. Take, as an example - the Humane Society. Most areas or counties not only have their own local chapters but they typically have their own specific local issues. Get in front of your local chapter and discuss local partnerships. You may have to start off by pledging to raise say $1K or more. Find out what the biggest local issues are and work it into your marketing plan. For some towns, it may be abandoned pit bulls, for others Rattlesnake safety.
Contributors: Scott W Johnson from Marindependent Insurance Services LLC
Every local business knows that customer reviews on sites like Google, Yelp, and Facebook are important. But many local business owners are surprised to find out that customer reviews make or break all other marketing efforts. A business with great reviews gets better local SEO (and more search traffic), lower PPC advertising costs and better conversion rates for all marketing programs, including offline programs…since over 90% of consumers check online reviews before choosing a business. In short, the overall cost of acquiring new customers rises or falls based on the quality of online customer reviews.
Local business owners are also often surprised to find out how easy it is to get great online reviews with this one simple technique: pre-screening. Instead of asking every customer for a review, pre-screen customers first. Ask every customer to rate your business privately. If the customer gives a high rating, ask for a public review. Otherwise, ask for private constructive feedback, so you learn how to earn that 5-star review in the future. Pre-screening not only boosts your average star rating. It also gives you critical feedback on how to make even more customers happy and earn their 5 stars.
Contributors: Chas Cooper from Rising Star Reviews
Local businesses who are looking for simple, inexpensive ways to market themselves to their local audience should consider playing music outdoors. Depending on your business and neighborhood, it could make sense. Restaurants with patios make much of their money in the summertime, drawing diners who want the outdoor experience. Having music playing on your patio is more enticing to pedestrians than a silent patio. Not only are they more likely to choose your restaurant, they're more likely to walk away with the opinion that's a fun place I have to try, and I should bring my friends. Check to see if there are any municipal laws surrounding playing publicly audible music. If you are a bowling alley, music shop. cafe, or any business that aims to draw in foot traffic, having good music playing is a great way to attract people's attention and change their perception of your business for the better. Local marketing at it's most organic and non-invasive.
Contributors: Alice Donoghue from TheAppLabb
My number one marketing tip is to court reporters and bloggers. Instead of paying for SEO services or ads, if you can manage to get into print or online news articles by providing quality information and content to journalists, that's a kind of free advertising that you simply cannot buy. All it takes is a little bit of your time to put out some quality content and information to get your company's name out into the open, and if you do get published-anything you can gain from marketing and advertising snowballs from there without any further actions from you. What's even better is that once the ball starts rolling, you can share the published content on your social media pages to gain additional exposure through shares on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
Contributors: Ian Aronovich from GovernmentAuctions
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