Be utterly find-able
If someone in your area searches online for the types of services or products your business offers, will they find you? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your online marketing strategy. You need to be so dang find-able that potential customers can’t help but know you exist.
There are many ways to make your business stand out online. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are definitely your friends in this situation. And both of these will benefit from keyword research that is targeted specifically toward your local surroundings. For example, Marketecture offers a local keyword research service that factors in area codes, zip codes, counties, neighborhoods, and more to help clients find the target market in their area. Learn more about that by clicking here.
If you haven’t already, be sure that your business is listed on Google Places for Business. This will help your visibility immensely because now potential customers searching for terms related to your business will actually see your business name and location on Google Maps. If you haven’t done this yet, be sure to do it now!
Get involved in the community
Aside from formal marketing online, there are countless ways to really get your business on the minds of the locals. Let’s go back to the example of the Sodalicious in Provo. Since a large part of the population here is students at Brigham Young University, they took advantage by delivering sodas to campus for a recent “Student Entrepreneur of the Year” event.
I’ve also seen local restaurants tap into the BYU spirit by using their changeable signs to support sports teams on game day (or, in some wonderful cases, mock them).
Be sure your business is similarly in tune with the pulse of your community. Whether you’re located in a college town, a sleepy suburb, or a thriving city, know what makes all those residents tick—and then get involved.
Perhaps you might sponsor a local event in order to gain exposure and connect with your target audience. If that sounds appealing, check out some of Jeff Haden’s tips for sponsoring an event. You could also hold or attend a conference on an industry topic. Conferences are great chances for networking and relationship-building.
Love your customers and they’ll love you
In the end, it really comes down to appreciating and respecting your customers. People aren’t stupid. They know when you’re only out to make a buck on them. But if you make it a point to really show your customers some love, that appreciation will be reciprocated tenfold through positive reviews, word-of-mouth recommendations, and good press.
This is where Sodalicious really excels. Though their business just opened in October of 2013, these savvy entrepreneurs have really grasped what it means to show some customer love. Take a look at their Instagram feed. They highlight normal, everyday customers while making snarky comments all the while.
A few more tips: Always be sure to respond to customers’ comments and complaints, whether on your Facebook page or in person. Consider having incentives in order to reward customer loyalty. And most of all, make sure your customers know you are grateful for their business. Just saying ‘thanks’ can go a long way!
Owning a small business takes a lot of hard work and drive. However, you also need a considerable amount of creativity to capture the hearts of all the potential customers who live and work in your area. While these tips are a great way to get you started, don’t be afraid to innovate, adapt, and find what works best for you.
Are you a small business owner? Tell us all the creative ways that you’ve marketed to your area in the comments below.