Online marketing is all the rage right now. And for digital products, virtual services, and businesses that can truly fulfill anywhere, it is a perfect fit. However, it can be frustrating to small businesses that really need to reach their local market.
Small business local marketing is not a thing of the past. It is however, more expensive than online marketing when you think of the traditional channels. When we think of small business local marketing we often think of direct mail, local radio and TV commercials, sponsoring local sports teams, billboards. While all of those marketing opportunities have value, they also each come with a steep price tag, and don’t always convert into sales directly or quickly.
To be successful in your small business local marketing strategy, I recommend following these 4 simple steps.
- Make sure you are listed in Google Places. It is a simple, free way for people to find you when they connect your service to a google search. If a potential client is looking for a Chiropractor in Starr Idaho, and you happen to be a chiropractor in Starr Idaho, you want to be listed. Google place listings get top visibility on the search page. They show up just below the ads, but before the actual ranked sites. This is a great way to get increased traffic to your website. And yes, you do need a website. Think about it, when I do a search and find my local listings, if they don’t have a website, I skip that business in favor of one that does.
- Find ways to interact with the local community. One of the perks to small business local marketing is that you have the ability to get in front of your potential clients often for a low cost. Think about the summer festivals and fairs, the expos, and the 5 K runs. There are almost always opportunities for businesses to be involved. Usually the cost of entry is reasonable. And with a good strategy for Vendor booths, you can do VERY well acquiring new customers or clients. Check out my strategy for holding a successful vendor booth.
- Create local Joint Venture relationships. In your local marketing, there is someone who already serves your clients, but does not do what you do. If you are a real estate agent, create a network of lenders and title companies that you cross refer with. If you are an insurance agent, make sure you know the car dealerships and that they know you. If you sell wedding dresses, do you cross refer with the cake decorators, photographers, and wedding venues? Take time to build these relationships. Don’t just throw your card at someone and hope they refer their clients to you. Take these potential partners out to lunch. Find ways that you can collaborate to create higher value for your clients. This is one of the most powerful ways to beef up your small business local marketing strategy.
- Integrate in traditional marketing. Traditional marketing strategies are powerful. They withstand the test of time because they work and have proven their value. In order to keep costs down, use them strategically with your other small business local marketing strategies. People need to see you in several different places in order for you to get on their radar. Imagine if your potential client met you at the 4th of July festival. Then they heard about you through someone they already do business with, and saw your billboard. By that time they are thinking, “I really should look up this company.” And when they go to google search, you come up at the top of the list. That is a powerful small business local marketing strategy!
Local marketing does not have to cost a fortune! It does invite creativity and innovation! Have fun getting to know your local market!