You’ve worked long and hard to set-up your business. But now that your doors are open, the hard work really begins. You have to build your customer base!
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. However, getting those initial customers and building a name for your brand is not easy. To do this, you need a solid marketing plan. Thankfully, there are lots of different methods that you can use to market a local business.
Local sponsorships are a fantastic way to build awareness of your business within the local community. You can sponsor events such as festivals and charity drives. To find events happening in your area, contact your chamber of commerce and speak with local event promoters.
In addition to events, you might also consider sponsoring a local sports team. This type of sponsorship will require more of an investment, but you will get your name in front of a lot of people. People also love their local teams, which means you will gain some instant brand love from die-hard fans.
Google my business
Google My Business is a free online platform provided by the search engine giant for local business owners. And if you don’t have a profile set-up there, you really need to do that straight away. You are potentially missing out on a lot of new customers if you don’t.
Once you set-up your profile, when people search on Google for keywords related to your business, for example, ‘Italian restaurants,’ your profile will appear at the top of local Google search results.
On your profile, you can list your business address, opening times, and descriptions of what you offer. People can also leave reviews on your listing. Many people today will look for your Google My Business listing before they consider using your service.
Partner with other businesses
Partnering with other businesses that share a similar audience to yours is an excellent way to get sales and new customers. It’s a win win promotion strategy for both you and your partners.
For example, let’s say you have a local gym, you could partner with a sports store in your area. Anyone who purchases the sports store gets a discount on a gym membership. And likewise, when people buy a gym membership, they can get a discount at the sports store.
Remember, the key to the success of these partnerships is the natural alignment of the audiences. For them to work, there has to be an overlap between you and your partner’s customer base.
Flyers are probably one of the oldest forms of promotion. However, though they might be old school, flyers still work a treat. And they are very cost effective, you can even create them for free.
Free design tools like Canva enable you to make flyers easily from templates; you don’t need any design skills. Then all you have to do is get them printed, and if you have a decent enough printer, you could do this yourself too.
Once you have your flyers, it’s time to get your car and canvass your local area, if you don’t have time to do this, you can pay someone to do it for you.
Transit advertising is when you advertise on public transport and transport hubs. You can advertise on busses, trains, subways, and taxis, and also within the bus, train, and subway stations. The best thing about this form of advertising is that you have a captive audience.
Prices for this form of advertising might not be for every business, as it can be costly. However, the price you pay will depend on your area, and also the range of transport modes where you want to appear. For example, you could choose to advertise with just a local taxi company, instead of all modes of public transport in your area.
If you have the marketing budget, transport advertising has the potential to get a lot of eyes on your business.
Radio is one of the traditional advertising channels, and it’s another good option to promote your business. Like with transit advertising, radio has a captive audience. Think of all those commuters tuning in to their local station daily as they go to and from work.
Radio advertising costs vary depending on your location, the ad slot time, and the length of your commercial. However, you would be surprised to hear that advertising on the radio is not as expensive as you might think, as long as you not in one of the major cities.
Host an event
Why not host an event? They are a fantastic way to create a buzz around your business and put yourself on the map. The event you host will largely depend on your business. For example, if you own a restaurant, you could have a free tasting night. Or if you have a bar, you could do a quiz night. You could also host an online event like a webinar.
Regardless of the event, the primary focus is to introduce people to your business and showcase your products, service, or expertise.
Paid online advertising
Using paid online advertising is probably one of the fastest ways to market a local business. Google, Facebook, Bing, YouTube, allow advertisers to run ads on their platforms. This form of advertising is super-targeted and enables you to show your ads to specific audiences that you choose.
The cost of using these platforms for advertising varies depending on your type of business and the competition. However, for local advertising, the rates you pay are not so high and should be affordable for most businesses.
The best thing about online paid advertising is that you can optimize your advertisements by tweaking the messaging and the audiences you target. If done right, you can increase the conversion rates of your ads and reduce the amount you spend.
Over to you
Now that you have some ideas to promote and market a local business, it’s time to take some action and start gaining some new customers. You can use different marketing strategies at the same time, or you can pick one and try it out to see if it works for your business.
One thing to keep in mind when using any marketing strategy is that it might not work straight away. You will probably have to tweak your approach until you see results, so patience is required.