Starting up your own small business might have been your lifelong dream, but it may easily turn into a nightmare if your store is empty, and your telephone never rings.
The task ahead is not an easy one, as you have customers to attract and keep. Local marketing is what you need to generate new leads as it will not only bring more visits to your store but will also boost your search rankings and your website traffic, powering-up your business.
Here are 4 strategies to give you a push forward.
Make use of social networking
Having a strong social media presence is critical for the success of any business, no matter how big or small. Every business needs to establish the position in their local community first, and with the use of social media channels they can get actively engaged with their target audience, spread their circles, attract new customers and build recognition.
Your business will benefit if you:
- claim your local page on social media channels,
- post relevant content frequently,
- engage your target customers with videos, photos, social media contests and giveaways, discounts, etc.,
- regularly respond to both positive and negative comments,
- use location-targeted ads,
- take part in local groups.
In order to really make a difference with the content you post on social media make sure it’s tailored to fit your customers’ needs, wishes and pain points. Without having a clear idea of who exactly your buyer persona is, they will hardly find your content engaging, so whatever you choose to post needs to add some value to their lives and be worth their time.
Leverage word of mouth marketing
People don’t really trust ads anymore, but 83% of consumers trust recommendations they get from their friends, family, and colleagues. They value the experience of other people too if it’s genuine, and they tend to trust complete strangers if they are recognized as a credible source of information in their social circles. And here lies a key to your success.
As most of your prospective customers will check you out before they decide to make a purchase, word of mouth is one of the best techniques you can use to attract and convert them. Impressive 77% of your customers would recommend your business to a friend, as long as it doesn’t take too much of their time or effort.
There are several things you can do to boost your reputation and start spreading positive comment about your business:
- Encourage your customers to post user-generated content online and share it with their social circles.
- Ask your customers to leave their reviews online. You can send them a link via email.
- Start a referral program, and reward your customers for referring your business to their friends.
- Partner up with other credible local businesses that target similar groups. They will be proof of your credibility.
- Connect with people who are considered trustworthy in your local community.
Host an Event
Another great way to engage your local customers with your brand is by hosting an event or at least participating in one. When it comes to creating meaningful bonds with your customers, which is a key to their loyalty, nothing can beat the effect a face-to-face conversation or a shared experience can have.
Many small businesses leverage this technique and organize events to have direct contact with their potential customers. A free public yoga or nutrition class is a great way for a gym to attract the locals looking for a lifestyle change while hosting an animal charity can attract all loving pet owners to your recently opened pet grooming service.
Use this opportunity to give away some branded merchandise. People love freebies, and if they find this gift useful and stylish, they are most likely to use it and promote your business wherever they go.
Events are also great for social media promotion. You can incentivize your visitors with a contest and encourage them to post user-generated content on social media channels, which will boost your traffic and engagement rates, and do wonders for your company’s recognition.
Even if you can’t afford to host your event, you can still join one in your community, and use this opportunity to mingle, and engage with your customers.
Position yourself as an expert
Even though this may seem far-fetched at the moment, you may indeed try to position yourself as an expert in your industry, and thus become a natural choice for locals who are in need of services or products your business offers.
The first place to begin is by starting your own blog and posting frequently and consistently on topics your target customers would find useful and relevant. If you lack ideas, there are plenty you can find with a simple online search. Here are some of them:
- Customer success story. If a customer shares a great testimonial, ask them for permission to turn it into a success story.
- Go behind the scenes. Show your customers a scene from your business they can’t otherwise see.
- Tips and tricks. Write a how-to post for your customers on how to get the most out of your product or service.
- Write a series. If you want to teach your customers something more complex, split the content into series.
- Have a podcast. Do an interview with an expert.
- Staff profiles. Let your customers get to know your team or your employees.
- Post a video. You can give your customers a preview of your product, or show them how you make it.
It is important that your blog is optimized for search engines, so unless you know how to do SEO and local SEO, you could benefit from getting support from a professional.
You can also start writing guest posts for relevant blogs in your industry, and take part in podcasts and webinars. Also, make sure to join all the relevant local groups and help your prospective customers solve their issues which are within your area of expertise.
By implementing some of these marketing strategies, you can attract more prospective local customers and engage them with your business.