It’s difficult for small businesses to compete with their larger corporate counterparts who have seemingly limitless pockets when it comes to marketing and business development. However, small business owners can still leverage local marketing tools to help impact and to drive leads to their businesses. Working with your local chamber of commerce is one example that can make generating new business easier and more efficient for your small shop operations. Here are some things to consider on how to use local marketing tools for your small business enterprise.
Local Marketing Software
Local marketing software tools have made it easier for local businesses to beat out more established businesses and keep up with the competition. These locally focused websites attract audiences by always posting relevant content and happenings of interest to the community. Tactics such as native articles, sponsored advertising, or editorials on these sites can help raise awareness of your business, especially when used to highlight success stories of past customers.
Determining What You Want
Every business, no matter how small, should have some sort of marketing plan or strategic vision to generate business and to attract customers. Before you can develop a plan to attract customers, you first have to determine what your company’s unique situation analysis is, as well as what differentiates your business from others. From there, you can come up with goals in terms of numbers of leads per week or month, and where to best source those leads. Often times your local main street collective or chamber of commerce will offer complimentary consultation services with your membership to evaluate your plan and to offer advice.
Local software, sites, and tools should help make it easier for small business owners to unroll a comprehensive marketing plan. One of the best returns on investment is to leverage positive outcomes from your existing customer base to drive future business. Customer reviews of your business left on your online listing pages are incredibly valuable to small businesses. They cost almost nothing to acquire, but they create a long-lasting impact. Other tools include local list serves, social media, local mailing lists, and online ads.
Another tactic to use for your small business marketing strategy is to offer local discounts for members of your immediate community. You can send these out in an email blast, post it on social media, or advertise it through local radio or TV channels. Promotional sales highlighting specials such as BOGO sales or giveaways with a purchase can help raise awareness of your company and also drive foot traffic. You can consider partnering with your chamber of commerce to offer an open house to members, or you can use your business to host an event such as a networking session or a coffee connection.
One often-overlooked tactic to consider is incorporating cause marketing into the local strategy for your small business. Depending on what’s popular in your area, look into sponsoring well-attended sporting events, even those at the high school or lower levels. For example, if you own a salon specializing in kids’ haircuts, consider sponsoring the local little league. Not only are you enabling these organizations to operate, but you’re also putting your business name out in front of the decision-makers in your target audience. You can also sponsor institutions like libraries, food banks, and other charitable services provided within your community.
With so much accessible information and customer demands for transparency, making informed and conscious decisions is quickly becoming the norm in today’s customer atmosphere. Many businesses are trending toward supporting local small businesses rather than large corporate counterparts. To help your small business thrive and grow, ensure your marketing message reaches local customers. Utilize local marketing tools such as websites to share your business or offer specials or promotions. Encourage customers to post reviews on online business directories to help drive future customers. You can also utilize local marketing software to offer limited-time discounts, specials, or other promotions to generate foot traffic. Lastly, consider having a local impact beyond just your business, by sponsoring and investing in charitable efforts, and by other community projects.
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