Local small businesses live and die by their reputation among customers in a well-defined geographic area. If your local customers love your company and identify with your brand, the business can boom quickly and grow steadily. If they’re turned off by your brand identity, you’re likely to suffer at the hands of your only consumer base.
Getting into and staying in the good graces of local customers means not only presenting a business model and brand that’s appealing but continuing to present that image. Customers forgetting about your business is almost as bad for your bottom line as them disagreeing with it.
Staying in front of your local customers without becoming an annoyance can be tricky. Luckily, there are a few surefire ways to tread that line and keep your business a local fan-favorite:
Explore Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a subtle, yet powerful way to stay on the local radar. If you’re a restaurant, invite local business reps to bring their lunch meetings to you. If you’re a law or accounting firm, volunteer your services for a local nonprofit. If you have an expertise in a topic of interest, share your wisdom and experience online in a blog, podcast or enewsletter. Influencer marketing is all about grassroots reputation building. Find people who will talk about your brand, and give them a reason to say positive things about you.
Get Involved In Your Community
If people see you as a fixture in the community, they’re going to support your business. Attend local events, donate to local groups and maintain your standing at the local level. Remember, every local impression you make is absorbed by your potential customer base.
Respond to Reviews
Whether positive or negative, it is important to show your local customers that you’re engaged. Responding on social media platforms to reviews is a great way to stay in their world. Customers who take the time to leave a review or ask a question give you permission to engage them—capitalize on this in a simple, positive way and others will take note of it.
Advertise as a Service, Not as an Interruption
This is the essence of passive marketing. Display your daily specials on an A-frame sign, leave your door open with a sales flyer at the entrance, use window graphics or offer a punch card for customer loyalty. These are all ways you can reach customers daily, without interrupting them.
Improve Your Exterior Signage
As a local brick and mortar establishment, your exterior signage is going to do more for you than any digital, broadcast or print ad. Make sure you’re making an investment in your primary storefront signage—it will translate into daily impressions that serve to keep you relevant and top-of-mind with local consumers.
There are numerous opportunities for sponsorship within a community. From 5k runs to bike races, little league teams to car clubs, fashion shows to fundraisers and more, these events need support. You’ll showcase the vested interest you have in local organizations and events and gain the respect of brand advocates who sing your praises. Moreover, if things like shirts or posters are part of the sponsorship, these items will continue to market for you long after the event has passed.
Support Local Media
Local radio, magazines, and newspapers can be great additions to your marketing mix as they reach only as far as your potential customers do. Having a radio spot or print ad here and there is a good way to get your name in front of your target audience. Whether they’re scanning radio channels for something to listen to while sitting in I-4 traffic or thumbing through a magazine at the beauty salon, customers are going to hear or see your message and remember it.
Experiment with Digital Ads
In today’s age of digital advertising, PPC (pay per click) ads can be geographically targeted. Whether you’re advertising through Google or Facebook, targeting only your local crowd will ensure you’re getting face time each and every day. And, while costs are increasing and efficiency is decreasing for these digital forms of advertising, this blanketing method can still be relatively cost-efficient.
Remember, your local customer pool may be the only one you’ve got to work with, so make sure you’re cultivating a brand that they value. Consider the above tactics to stay relevant and popular among your local customers.
Want even more great ideas on how to get your business noticed in your local market? Meet with our marketing experts at AlphaGraphics in Lake Mary.
Portions of this article were written and provided by AlphaGraphics Inc., headquartered in Denver, CO.