You might have a humble local business selling lawnmowers or painting the outside of homes in the community. You hear and see all the big brands spending millions of dollars on fancy video advertising and retargeting ads on every corner of the web and social media. How can you possibly compete with that?
One of the main challenges as a small business is figuring out how and where to use your limited marketing budget for maximum effectiveness. The rise of digital marketing has replaced some local marketing techniques but others are as effective as ever. Let’s talk about some ways you can reach local customers with your marketing efforts.
Everybody loves free stuff
If you are selling an intangible product such as legal or consulting services, it can be difficult to use free samples or giveaways for marketing purposes. However, any business that sells an actual physical product can use the time-honored strategy of simply giving some of it away for free. This works well because the friction between customer and business that normally precedes a sales transaction virtually disappears when the transaction is reframed as a simple give away or trial. Sometimes the best marketing can be the product itself. If it works well, with the customers enjoying the product, then they will tell their friends and the word of mouth campaign blossoms.
One of the most effective ways to sponsor something is to support a local event, relating the event to your product sales. For example, if you run a custom boat detailing company you may want to sponsor a water ski show that happens at a local lake. Or if you sell insurance, you can sponsor a weekend radio show about investments and risk.
The key to discovering these opportunities is to get out of your office and get involved in the community. Many of these events are free and run by volunteers, so like your small business they struggle to market their events and would love to partner with a small business. These sponsorships will also cost a tiny fraction of other marketing efforts; however, they will reach customers in your target area.
Use Facebook groups
Many businesses think of Facebook or other social media as a one-way street. The business posts something and people like it or respond. Rarely does a conversation continue past 1 or 2 postings.
A different approach, with more potential to find and attract local customers, is to use your page to interact better with clients. Facebook and others sites have communities within their platform, such as Facebook groups, that are organized around a theme, location, or interest.
Becoming part of your community to drive business is not just opening a physical location in that community but it also requires you to position your digital brand in the correct virtual communities. This helps customers discover your local brand and also give you a reputation boost as a good corporate citizen.