Local promotion is important. While yes, we live in an online world with a global reach, your small business still needs to make connections within its community. Knowing how to approach your local community, how to reach out to members and how ultimately to “sell” people on your business model at the local level are only going to strengthen your company’s footprint in the long run. So, we have put together a list of 17 steps that you can take, things that you can start doing right now, to help with your local promotion and thus take your business to that next level.
1. Meet People
You are after all the face of your business. People in the community want to know who you are, and consequently how you reflect upon your small business. Opening yourself up in this way and actually going out and meeting people, introducing yourself, may just be far more effective than you might think.
2. Get to Know Your Immediate Neighbors
Meeting people is one thing, forging connections with those business owners directly around you is another. The more you can make connections with these entrepreneurs, the better. Think of it as a relationship of reciprocity—in as much as you spread the word about their company and they, in turn, spread the word about yours.
3. Become a Vital Part of Your Community
Beyond just introducing yourself and meeting your fellow business owners, you also want to become active in the landscape of your community. Join local groups, perhaps even attend town meetings and gatherings. This is after all the “home” of your business.
4. Check Out the Chamber of Commerce
Joining the local chamber of commerce is a great way to give your business a boost. Chambers of Commerce specialize in helping businesses get their name out there locally. Plus, it’s a great avenue for networking.
5. Get Involved in Youth Activities
Little League teams always need sponsors. This shows that you care about the community and its future. The public definitely looks favorably upon those companies that go that extra mile and help foster regional activities for its youth.
6. Sponsor an Event
Similar to sponsoring a youth team, you may want to also get into event sponsorship. Obviously, this is good publicity, plus it could help open some additional local doors.
7. Become a Volunteer
Smaller communities especially tend to run on volunteer power. From park cleanup to the volunteer fire squad, to even helping outcome voting day, volunteering gives you greater insight into your community and allows you to position your business quite favorably.
8. Gather Reviews
Of course, we’re talking about in an online capacity. However, this does have a local impact as well. Let’s say for instance yours is a restaurant business, obviously having favorable local reviews is going to help you to attract more customers. We live in a review-driven world. Nearly 90% of people go to a review first before buying anything. Trust us, they’re important.
9. Learn About Local SEO
From a digital perspective, even local people are going to take to the almighty search engines. Understanding how to get your company found within relevant local search parameters is critical. You may need to enlist the help of a specialist for this one, depending on your level of tech savviness.
10. Email Marketing
Gathering email addresses especially from those interested parties right in your community can be a great way to start building and subsequently expanding your email marketing database. You can use emails to share specials, offer promotions, even announce local events that are of interest to your community members.
Emails and newsletters really do go hand in hand. This is a chance to expand perhaps upon some content in your emails. Often more colorful and splashy, the newsletter is also a terrific way to put together a list of prospective subscribers.
12. Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn all, of course, have a very expansive reach, but there’s also a local component to many of them. Facebook groups, for example, can be comprised of those within a certain radius. Utilizing the power of social media is a must for any small business in this day and age.
Yes, online is cheaper and generally easier to navigate as far as advertising goes, however, don’t underestimate the power of television—especially your local affiliates. Local promotion via a TV spot isn’t as costly as you might think, ranging from 300.00 to 3000.00. Depending on how you utilize your spot, the ROI could be significant.
Local radio channels also offer some cost-effective options as far as advertising goes. And as stations are generally grouped together, you can get air time on more than one. Many adults still do in fact listen to radio particularly when driving to and from work. This is a great chance to catch the attention of a captive audience.
Much of the population, especially those of the older generation, still do read print papers. Ads in such entities tend to be rather inexpensive, and if you set up a weekly/monthly run you may be in for even bigger discounts. Also, depending on a newspaper’s distribution, the pricing may fluctuate.
When you drive, you notice billboards—this goes without saying. Advertising your business locally on a billboard can run anywhere from $300-4k, depending on factors such as location, size and time up.
17. Restaurant Placemats
Everyone eats out now and again, and generally, many local restaurants do in fact have some form of placement at the table. While people wait for their food, what do they tend to do…A glance at the placemat in front of them. What a wonderful chance to grab their attention, spotlight your company and provide relevant contact info. Plus, this type of advertising does tend to be highly cost effective.
Your local business may need a boost. You don’t have to aim for the stars right at the very beginning—go grassroots. Start small at the local level. Get out there, meet people, put your company name inaccessible local places. First Union can help you receive funds if you are in need of a new marketing plan or business expansion. Call today, you might be surprised at the results.