How to Do Local Marketing
If you are considering opening a small business, you will need to start your marketing efforts on a local scale. Local marketing has changed drastically within the last couple of decades. The Internet and social media have changed the face of marketing completely, even for small, local businesses. It is important to stay up to date and to utilize as many tools as possible to be a successful business. Competition is tough. If you are able to use all the tools available to you that are, by and large, free or cheap, you will be that much farther ahead of your competition.
· Your first thought may be to build a website. Before you do that, there are other, more grounded things you should do. The first is to make sure you are advertised in the local papers and that you have put out press releases. You can utilize online press release sources so that your press release will be widely distributed.
· The second is to be sure to have a grand opening or open house. Open your business to potential customers so they can come and see your operation for themselves.
· Once you have done that, you can utilize Internet directories. Google has a Local Business Directory service, and there may be others that are helpful. List yourself in the search engines.
· Use social media to your advantage. Sign up for all of the social media networking sites with your business name. Respond to queries at those sites and publish new, fresh content on a timely basis.
· Blog. Yes, blogs can actually work, if they are used properly. You must strike a balance between trying to sell, sell, sell and being completely irrelevant. Be a storyteller, give your target audience content they value and will use, and post regularly.
· Teach classes at local colleges. Accept or seek out speaking engagements. Give your business a real “face” and be there to field questions from potential customers.
· Network on a local level. Go to as many local meetings as you can and talk with people in the community.
· Ask your customers to give you online reviews and testimonials. Reviews are what Internet surfers look for often when deciding on a business to use. Information from people who use your service is very valuable to others and to your business’ success.
· Create a YouTube video of your products and services and why they are useful. Try to embed that video everywhere you have a logo or online presence.
· Use organic SEO techniques to gain relevant traffic. Make sure to do proper keyword research and come up with keywords relevant to your business and location. For example, if you sell computer equipment and own a shop in Fairfax, Virginia, try to find keywords that have all these terms included. You don’t want keywords that are too general or that have a lot of competition. If you have no experience with search engine optimization techniques, look for a reliable and experienced service provider that will help you with this.
The Bottom Line:
The main way to create a local presence is to be present locally! If you want your business to succeed, personalize it. Make sure that people know who you, the owner, are, and have met you personally. In that respect, you must be similar to a politician in order to sell yourself and your business. Once customers start streaming through your door, you will then have an additional layer of marketing in the form of what your customers say about you and your business.