When you launch a new local business, your first task will be to get your brand known in the local community. And, as a local business, you are uniquely positioned to engage with the community in a way that big brands cannot. Indeed, even if you aspire to become a national brand, the customers on your doorstep will likely be the best springboard to bigger things.
So, how do you go about making your company a household name in your town? Here are ten effective ways to market a small business to the local community.
Localize Your Brand and Website
The first rule of marketing is to understand who you are. So, if your initial target is the local market, that is the audience towards whom you must target your brand. So, don’t be afraid to play on your local connection in all your marketing materials, including your website. And target localized keywords in web content and online advertising.
Advertise in Local Directories
Yes, people do still use directories to find local businesses. Indeed, Yelp alone attracts more than 178 million visitors every month. So, claim or set up a profile for your business on Yelp and other business directories and encourage people to leave reviews.
When you first set up a new business, your website will have relatively low search engine rankings. But an entry in a major directory could achieve a top spot-on Google. And links from a directory listing back to your website will help boost your site’s ranking, too.
Set Up a Google My Business Account
Google My Business is another way to get a local business a prominent listing on Google. And you can advertise your business for free and display your location and opening times on this platform. Plus, you can post promotional content on My Business and encourage customer reviews.
Google My Business is straightforward to set up. You need to set up a Google account if you don’t yet have one and visit google.com/business. There, you will need to answer a few questions about your business, such as business name, address, and contact details. Then, Google will ask you to verify your listing, usually via postcard registration.
Spread the Word on Social Media
Next, you will need to start engaging with the local community. And one of the best ways to do that is to be active on social media. However, don’t spread yourself too thin by attempting to be active on too many platforms. Instead, focus on two or three platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. And post content that will interest local users, tagged with a localized brand hashtag.
Consider Traditional Advertising
You can still reach a lot of people with traditional advertising. So, it would be best not to completely rule out things like billboards and local mailshots when marketing to a local audience. Of course, you also have local radio and T.V. advertising if you have sufficient funds in your marketing budget. Traditional marketing can be an extremely effective way to announce the launch of your business to the local community. And you can use it in the future to advertise things likes sales or special offers.
Connect with Other Local Businesses
Partnering with other local businesses is an excellent way to market a small local business. And you might be surprised at how willing other small companies are to collaborate. You could, for example, share leads with other non-competing companies. Or you could jointly host local events or marketing campaigns.
Sponsor a Local Sports Team
The best way to connect with a local community is not to market at it but instead, become a part of it. And one way of achieving that is through sponsorship of local sports events or teams. For example, advertising at a local ballpark would get your brand name in front of local people. Or, if you have the budget, sponsoring a junior team’s kit would work, too. Either way, sports sponsorship is excellent for brand awareness and demonstrates your business’s willingness to contribute to the community.
Offer Local Discounts
Physical discount vouchers or online discount codes can be an effective local marketing tool. You can distribute your discount codes via other local businesses and the local population. And then, you will encourage word-of-mouth recommendations and cement partnerships with local companies. Local discounts also demonstrate that you put local customers first, which will help generate local customer loyalty in return.
There’s no better way to get closer to people than rolling up your sleeves and working alongside them. So, if you want to connect a community, try getting involved in community projects about which local people care.
There are so many opportunities for small businesses to show their commitment to the community. For example, your team could give up some of their time to help with a community cleanup project. Or you could volunteer to help out a local non-profit organization. And, if volunteers wear branded T-shirts, the business gets some publicity while doing some good.
Personalize Your Branding
One of the reasons people will choose a local business over a national brand is personal service. So, make a point of getting to know your customers, and personalize your service to local people wherever you can. It will also help if you make your company more approachable. So, allow customers to get to know the people behind the brand. And personalize your brand so that it is clear that your business is local people serving local people.
Small local businesses can market to local communities far more effectively than large corporations. So, consider personalizing your brand, getting involved in community projects, and localizing advertising. Because if your business can become a part of the community, local people will reward you with their custom.