There are lots of different ways to market your business, and often, business owners want to do a better job of promoting themselves to potential local customers. However, the first thing to establish is "Is there demand for my product/service locally?" or, put another way, "does my target audience live/work here?" In some cases, the answer will be "no". Trying to sell luxury goods in a deprived area is never going to work if you only market yourself locally. Equally, operating as a business consultant in an area with little or no business means you will have to travel to succeed.
Once you have established that your audience is in the locality, there are many things that you can do to promote your business. Here are what we think are the best ways to market your business locally:
Using local newspapers/radio stations is one of the best ways to market your business locally. These media often have a good local penetration and can be a good way of highlighting your offering – especially if you have a high street presence or are looking to reach home owners. Those who are operating a business to business operation might not find local media as successful depending on the readership and the media content.
If you are looking for direct ways to market your business locally, have you tried going door-to-door, or sending messages straight to your customer’s email inbox? Lists are available to purchase or using door-to-door via Royal Mail or other distribution services can take your promotional piece directly into the hands of your target audience.
Don’t underestimate the value of PR for local marketing activity when considering ways to market your business. The passive endorsement of a successful PR campaign can have a great impact. Combine this with social media activity to really maximise the benefit.
If you want to run your business locally, then networking locally is essential. Take "networking" in the broadest sense of the word – don’t limit yourself to business networking. Think of other ways to become entrenched in your community – whether that be through playing football, tennis or joining the running club. Even using the local pub can all have a positive impact on the awareness of your business.
Combine your efforts when you are looking into ways to market your business. You could work with other local, non-competing but complementary businesses to grow your business. Cross-promotion allows each of you to access the others customers For example: promotion of a bike shop in a café; butchers in a greengrocers; or if you are an accountant how about building relationships with a solicitor.
Word of Mouth
Arguably, one of the most important ways to market your business locally is to create word of mouth. The "word on the street" will have serious impact (especially if it is negative!). You can leverage word of mouth to grow your business. Check out our article to building word of mouth for more information on this marketing method.
It is important to consider the use of digital as a way to market your business locally. Mobile usage by consumers in 2015 influenced Google to introduce an enhanced mobile experience by delivering location-based results. Listing your business on google products will help but ultimately if your website is not mobile friendly it won’t rank in mobile results.
Remember to list events and business promotions on your website too as this fresh content will also help you maintain your Google ranking on "near me" searches.
Using social media will also influence your Google ranking – especially Twitter which is now indexed by Google. More than that many people use Facebook as a search engine to find businesses in their locality and will read the feedback that others have left to make a decision regarding whether to use your services or not. Intermediary websites such as TripAdvisor should also be considered to reach the local market place if you operate a leisure facility.
Using adwords might feature as part of your activity. With Google and Facebook you can restrict these by geography so minimizing any wastage. It is essential to use negative keywords and phrases to pin-point the right searches to your website.
And, of course, if you are driving traffic to your website and then want them to visit your store, or ring you, or make an appointment do ensure you have the right call to action and your contact details on your website – including a map if necessary.
Of course, there are plenty of "local" ways of marketing your business, depending on where you are based and the definition of local. The main thing to do is to be aware of the opportunities in your area and evaluate each one using the question: "Will my target audience engage this this?"