As a small business, connecting with local customers should be an important piece of your marketing strategy. After all, most of your customers are located within 20 minutes (or less) of your business.
The good news for your small business is that your customers are mostly close by. The bad news? Your competitors are close by too. The question? What are some smart local marketing strategies your small business can employ to make you stand out?
Use Social Media
It’s no surprise that most small businesses are on social media, and you should be too. Of course, the big question is where to focus your efforts. There are numerous social media platforms and, as a small business, there are challenges to being active and successful on all of them.
Facebook is a great place to start because, generally speaking, that’s where your customers are.
Facebook is also the most highly recommended because it has one of the better advertising systems.
With Facebook ads you can target your ideal customers within a set distance from your small business. So if your customer is a 40-year old man who loves cars, you can target that individual.
Video ads work great for Facebook and can help you stand out from the crowd, get noticed, and start growing your audience. Simply create and upload your video, set your desired budget and targeting options, and let it soar.
Facebook also includes powerful analytics with their advertisements so you can watch your campaigns unfold in real-time. Don’t be afraid to run multiple ads with different variables to see which one has the best impact.
Get Involved Locally
There is no end to the opportunities available for your small business to get involved in your community. Local charitable organizations, non-profits, and more are always looking for local businesses to help out.
Sponsor a walk-a-thon, sponsor a local sports team, the possibilities are endless. Make sure you promote and showcase the event online so your customers know you’re a local biz doing good! A quick video ad can let them know “hey, guess what’s going on this weekend!”
Create Locally Focused Content
The type of content you can (and should!) be creating is infinite. However, when it comes to local marketing, don’t neglect what’s going on in your own neighborhood. Instead of generic advertisements, tailor your content to your local audience.
Hosting an event? Create an ad promoting it. Having a special this weekend? Create an ad promoting it. Focus on the specific rather than the broad. If you’re a restaurant, you want your ad to say more than “come eat here.” Promote that guacamole making class you’re hosting or the wine tasting event you’re having next week.
Your customers will be more enticed by an ad that specifically targets their interests and offers tangible value rather than generic slogans.
Manage Your GMB
If you’re wondering what “GMB” stands for, you need to listen to this one. Get ready to take notes. Grab a coffee, settle in. Actually, this won’t take too long. GMB is shorthand for “Google My Business” aka your Google business listing.
Taking control of your Google My Business listing is not difficult and only requires a simple verification with Google. From there you can post images, link to your website, respond to customer reviews, and more.
97% of customers read online reviews for local businesses every day. What’s more, many of them are “Googling It.” As a result, your GMB listing comes up early in any relevant search. You want your small business Google listing to be eye catching, informative, and attractive.
GMB also helps with local search and SEO results so make sure you’re listing is perfect and you’ll be better off for it.
Find a local small business that is not a direct competitor but which operates in a similar field as you do. A restaurant may partner with a local winery for a wine pairing event. A local salon may partner with a local cosmetics store for a makeup class, etc.
The possibilities are endless so think outside the box and be creative. Best of all, you’ll have the benefit of promoting your partnership to double the audience.
Collect Contact Info And Build Lists
Even in the time of social media, email campaigns are a great way for a small business to amp up their local marketing. Encourage customers to share their email addresses with you and start building lists.
Is it time to start an email newsletter? You bet! Gradually build your lists and before you know it you’ll have hundreds of customers just waiting to hear about your local special, promotion, or event.
Create an opt-in form on your website and start collecting.
Encourage Customers To Call You
That plastic thing hanging on the wall or by the register collecting dust? That’s called a telephone and in the old days it was how people used to communicate. Guess what? It still can be!
Everyone is all about the CTA: Call To Action. This is the part in an advertising or marketing campaign that tells customers what you want them to do next. Often it’s “Click here to learn more” or “Shop Our Store Now!”
While these are great, they’re often not actions that yield immediate results. After all, a customer may click through to your website and take no further steps. By asking customers to “Call Now” you’re asking them to get in touch immediately.
This can go a long way towards capturing micro moments, those instances where customers are most ready to engage your business. If a customer is “calling now,” they’re ready to find out more.
Local Marketing Is Key
You can draw a circle around your business and drive 20 minutes in each direction. Generally, that will be your zone of influence and is where you want to concentrate your local marketing efforts. As a small business, consider that the majority of your business will come from customers within this area. Focus your efforts in this circle and you’ll be putting your business in a great position to succeed locally.