Local marketing is not a thing to be ignored, especially in the case of small businesses who very often fight for each customer. If you own a little coffee shop or a family store, you probably wouldn’t like to promote it internationally, or even nationally - you would rather focus on your own community. It doesn’t matter if you’ve noticed a decline in sales or you’re still making good money - you need to stay ahead of your competition and keep reaching a new audience while trying to get your current customers to stay at the same time. Is it even possible? Well, with the little help of the gifts of modern technology - yes.
Remember about customer experience
No matter how digitized and well-optimized your marketing campaign is, you won’t do very well with poor customer experience, simply because clients won’t come back to you nor will they recommend you to their families and friends. According to reports, more than 60% of customers feel the need to support their local businesses and almost all of them visit a small, local place at least once a week. People love to be taken care of and they adore new experiences. They will always come back to a place with good coffee and pleasant atmosphere, interesting products and open, kind people around. This way, you don’t only make sure that they will come again, but there’s a huge possibility that they will recommend you. So make sure that you can trust your employees, don’t skimp on the products you sell or use in your business, create a unique atmosphere in the place. Try personalizing the experience; for example, hotshotsleeves.com offers to make personalized cup sleeves that are 100% eco-friendly and made from recycled paper - you can put your logo there and spread some message without sacrificing your image of an environmentally-friendly business.
Focus on local SEO
A great part of your potential customers will go online before buying a product or deciding on a place to go, that’s why it’s important to be present on the internet and to manage that presence right. By focusing on local SEO, you will optimize your website to be visible on the web which will contribute to increasing traffic and translating it into sales. It’s important to register your business with Google Places, to have your contact details all up to date and consistent across different pages (Facebook page, website, Google, etc.) and to focus on optimizing your website (e.g. keywords). What’s more, it’s good to sacrifice some time to create useful, relevant and community-oriented content and to develop partnerships with other local businesses. Both Google and your potential customers have to see that you’re interested in what’s going on in your area and that you care.
Be a part of your community
Since you’re a local business, you have to be seen as a vital part of the local community. People won’t like or trust you if you try to stay outside. Be sure that you’re up to date with events in your area and try taking part in some of them, sponsoring something or contributing in any other way. What’s more, it’s always a good idea to show people that you care. For example, if you’re an eco-friendly coffee shop, you may consider hosting workshops and meetings focused on educating your community on the topic of the environment.
Build relationships and gain people’s loyalty
Email marketing may be a good idea if you want to keep in touch with your customers. Allow them to subscribe to a newsletter, organize sales, discounts and giveaways for the most loyal clients, and send them personalized offers and information about your offer, events and issues that you care about. Sometimes it may be even worth it to give something for free only for people to try your products or services - they will come back if they like it. Also, think about any kind of loyalty program - special cards or collecting points always make people feel competitive and motivated.
Don’t forget about online reviews
It’s not about having 100% positive reviews. The truth is that people won’t believe that a person or a place can only get positive opinions. Of course, you don’t want to have too many bad reviews, but in fact, it’s all about how you react. Try engaging with people who complain - maybe they will be eager to help you improve and change their review later. Your potential customers will like the fact that you actually listen to them.
It’s not easy to be an entrepreneur, and it’s certainly not easier to own a small, local business. You cannot afford to be left behind. You need to stay up to date with new marketing strategies - your competition certainly will. Remember about your online presence and, what’s most important, have people in mind. You can have the best strategies introduced but you won’t get far without a good customer experience. Try thinking like a client.