As a small business, engaging your community is a great way to grow your business. The goal is to nurture lasting relationships that will drive your revenue and increase brand awareness; however, forming genuine connections with members of your community requires strategy and patience.
Below are 12 ways small businesses can market to their local communities and bring in new customers.
1. Reach Out to Other Local Businesses
You might be surprised how many are willing to partner up in some capacity. For example, a business might have heavy foot traffic but a tiny email list, so you could offer to mention them in your newsletters in exchange for physical advertising on their premises. You can be as creative as you like.
2. Get Involved in the Community
Volunteering is a win-win. You get to help those in need while expanding your network and making people aware of your business.
3. Host a Family-Friendly Event
Even if the products or services your business offers aren’t targeted toward children, think of a fun event that your business can host that people would want to bring their children to. Parents are often looking for low-cost or free and local things to do with their kids, especially during school breaks. You will be serving the community and making real connections.
4. Partner With a Nonprofit Organization
Small businesses can partner with local nonprofits on an event or support in another related way. Nonprofits develop strong relationships within the local community, and the best ones have a way of naturally bringing people together. Many people enjoy supporting their local businesses, especially ones that are doing good in the community — acts of kindness they can see firsthand.
5. Sponsor a Community Project
Sponsor or volunteer for a community project that benefits a school, town or neighborhood. For example, if you host a public speaking seminar, then you will have interested students and adults looking to improve themselves and to see you as an authority figure. Find a cause that either aligns with your branding or personal interest. This creates exponential benefits for prospects and yourself.
6. Donate Your Services
Give back. Join a charity or nonprofit and give away services. Often this will lead to more business from those charity members. They will share your values and want to help your business succeed, as it helps the charity succeed long term.
7. Sign Up for Local Business Listings
For a small business to market to its local community, it’s important to take advantage of local listings. Putting your business on Google My Business indexes it so those nearby see your results when they search for relevant results. It helps customers make a decision when they’re able to see ratings, reviews, photos and more.
8. Sponsor a Local Sports Team
Participate in a local event or sponsor a local team. For example, if you get signage at a local ballpark, that’s a great way to bring in new customers who might not even know your business exists. Making a donation to a charitable event would get you the same result.
9. Add a Location Geotag to Your Social Media Content
One effective way to get noticed locally is to create stories on social media and to add a location geotag to your story. It’ll show up for people looking for content in that area, and you have a great chance of getting noticed and drawing people to your business, especially from the younger generation who historically influence their family’s buying behavior.
10. Leverage Your Facebook Business Page
An underestimated way to get visibility online is by creating a business page on Facebook. Facebook has specific page formats for local stores. You’ll be able to add information like location, timings and other details, and search engines do take such pages into account when showing results for local searches. Make sure your brand has profiles and pages on social media.
11. Explore Traditional Outdoor Ads
Traditional advertising such as billboards is still something that can be effective for a local community. You can do a lot with people on their phones, but there is still ad space out in the world that is very relevant.
12. Directly Engage Your Customers
Direct-to-consumer brands have redefined how to engage with their customers by offering personal instruction or coaching. Orangetheory Fitness and gyms are a great example of this, offering on-demand classes. Recent global events have shifted people’s priorities and how they spend their money. The opportunity for small businesses is to design digital products and services that better engage customers.
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