When you run a small local business, marketing to your hometown without overreaching can be tricky.
There was a time when it was a simple matter of advertising in the local newspaper and the Yellow Pages, but today’s marketing world is much stranger than you might imagine. Still, there are easy ways to get the message out.
Local Marketing Made Simple
Perhaps the most frightening thing for small businesses to consider when it comes to marketing is the wider market they’re in. After all, Joe’s Towing isn’t a Coca-Cola or a Wal-Mart, and of course, neither you nor Joe have the budget for that level of promotion. Instead, you have to be smarter and show your local market the value that’s in buying local versus the national chains that area all around you.
There are lots of ways to get that message out, but these are a few easy ones to start with:
- Promote at local events. If you’re a local business, it only make sense to promote at local events. Your city probably has many opportunities for this throughout the year, whether that means sponsoring the local college football team, providing donations for charity events or buying advertising space at events related to your business.
When you’re in a small enough area that there are truly no events to be had, you can make your own by teaming up with related companies to cross-promote your offerings.
- Google My Business. Everyone has a smartphone these days, and most of those smartphone owners use their devices for everything. That includes finding your company. When you don’t come up in a Google search or lack a place marker on Google Maps, it’s difficult for visitors to see you above all the other visual clutter around them.
Start by securing your free listing at Google My Business and if that goes well, you might want to consider adding Google product listings to your shop’s marketing plan.
- Go to your audience. Being in business locally means that you’ve taken a lot of the guesswork out of who your target market is. After all, you probably see them every day, coming and going, and known many by name. Knowing your audience as well as you do, it’s probably not hard to guess where you’ll find people like them online.
For example, if you run a plant nursery with primarily female patrons, you’ll want to push your plants on Pinterest and Instagram; businesses that repair copy machines, on the other hand, will find more of their patrons on LinkedIn. Don’t forget local forums that specialize in your niche, they can often be good places to connect with hobbyists and DIYers.
Local marketing in the social media age can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Just like when you were marketing locally before social media and the Internet, you simply need to find your audience and show it what you have for sale. Make sure to have plenty of telephone help ready, though, because local isn’t always as local as it once was. An answering service company or extra operators on staff can help you handle the influx of calls from neighboring communities, too!