How to market your small business locally
Whether it’s putting an advert in the local newspaper or doing a leaflet drop in and around your neighbourhood, some paid local marketing can help new customers find you. Make sure your marketing materials look professional –include your business name, contact and website details, trading hours and a clear concise description of the value you offer to customers. Don’t forget to carefully proofread ads or mail outs before they go to print. While the initial printing can be a big investment, letterbox drops are a time-tested way to increase visibility. Distribute these yourself by walking around in the evening, a few streets at a time, or pay your kids or local teenagers to distribute them. If your flyers are undated, you can keep using them for a long time.
Become a part of the community
Get to know your local community better by becoming an active part of it! Do this by joining the Chamber of Commerce or local business associations. Sponsor a community group, charity or a sporting team. For example, if you run a beauty salon, sponsor a women’s soccer team and offer post game discounts to team members. If you’re a butchery, sponsor a kid’s soccer team and run a regular sausage sizzle after the game to showcase your products. Attend or have a stall at community events – school fetes or street parties are a great opportunity to do this. Make donations – whether it’s goods, services, money or time – to local fundraisers and initiatives. Get to know those around you, increase brand awareness and grow your network.
Reward regular customers
Build relationships with your current customers – they’re the lifeblood of your business. Learn about them and where they live and work. Think of ways to say thanks and reward your regulars. For example, if you run a cafe offer customers free coffee on their birthday, or create a loyalty card where for every 10 coffees bought, customers get one free. There are also apps that make it easy for your customers to order ahead and beat the queue like new app Hey You.
Advertise on social media
Social media is an easy way to market your business online. List your business on Facebook if you haven’t already. Many people use it as a search engine and you need to be found here as well as on the interweb. Facebook offers some highly targeted advertising opportunities that can be used cost-effectively, and its easy to measure whether they’re working. For example, you can create ads and specifically target your own local area. You can be very specific with the type of customer you target, so really get to know your customers before you set parameters. Some of the parameters you can set about who to Facebook will show your ad to include: age, gender, location, interests, behaviours and the types of devices used (mobile, desktop or tablet). So if you own a women’s fashion boutique targeting working mothers aged 30-45, you can create ads designed to reach these specific women in and near your local area, without wasting your money showing your ad to everyone.
Another handy option Facebook offers is Local Awareness where you can target people located within a certain distance from your business. These ad campaigns are designed to reach users who live in or are visiting your area. Your ad will appear in their Facebook feed and give them the option to learn more, get directions or message and call your business.
Think big business
Are there larger businesses and organisations – such as schools, councils and companies –close to your business? Look at ways your business could cater for them through corporate deals or packages. Whether it’s a discount for groups or an introductory deal for first time visitors, it could be a way to attract new business and gain some larger accounts or sales. For example, if you are a gym you could offer local businesses a discount to sign up all their staff.
Partner with other local businesses
Why not approach neighbouring businesses to create a trader referral network? You could help each other out. For example, if you’re a dry cleaner or tailor you could offer a discount to customers who shop at neighbouring clothing stores and are referred to you. Or if you’re a restaurant that hosts weddings and other special occasions you could refer them on to the local florist and bottle shop and vice-versa.
Local marketing is an easy and cost-effective way to establish and grow your business. Trial different mediums and see what works for your business best.
If you’d like to invest in a local marketing campaign for your business, speak to Prospa about how a small business loan could help.
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