How to Utilize Local Marketing Channels
Everyone in business today needs an online presence. The importance of a business website and active social media profiles to business growth and promotion can’t be underestimated. But it’s a mistake to neglect local marketing opportunities. Whether your business is a small, single-location operation or a multi-office enterprise, keeping local marketing in your sales and marketing mix pays off in recognition and new business generation.
Don’t miss out on the following opportunities to get your company known in and around the communities in which you do business.
Harness Word of Mouth
People talk, and you want to make sure they are talking about your business. Market research company Nielsen reports that more than 75 percent of people will buy something when they hear about it from family or friends. Coordinate a word of mouth program to encourage every customer to tell someone they know about your products and services. Give out your business card or sales flyer with every order and ask customers to pass them along to a friend, relative, or neighbor. Offer incentives for customers who bring in a friend to buy something. Call up customers who have purchased products similar to what you have on special and ask them to tell people they know about your current promotion.
Advertise Local Publications
Look for local publications like newsletters, church and community bulletins, and directories. They may have a small and limited reach, but they offer the opportunity to build a relationship and trust level with the people who live and work near your business. They have the added bonus of being economical and sticking around longer in newspaper and magazine racks, on bulletin boards, and desks and drawers for a long-term presence. They are also often a source of support for the organizations who produce them, creating goodwill and gratitude.
Pick a cause you can get behind and partner with a local nonprofit. Connect with a charitable organization and develop a program to donate a portion of your business profits. Ask the charity to advertise your company’s commitment to support them, and do the same for them. Sponsor their fundraising events, talk with your business associates about supporting the charity, and you’ll get double duty out of your marketing efforts.
Buddy Up with Other Local Businesses
When you collaborate with other local businesses that your customers patronize, you can capitalize on shared traffic. You can advertise in print and radio together to save money and increase exposure, hold tandem promotions, and develop an image as a trusted local business. Rather than coupons or limited time offers, you can send business to each other through referrals at the point of sale and in print. Do some observation of the business’s physical traffic, both in their parking lot and in the number of patrons, and approach the stores who are the busiest.
Pair up your social media promotion with other local businesses, communicating your location and how to find your organization. Do an online promotion once a week specifically targeted to local customers and including other local businesses.
Take advantage of local marketing to improve your business visibility, benefit from free and low-cost promotion efforts, and win customer recognition and loyalty. The possibilities are endless and only limited by your time and creativity.