The world of commerce has become global, and anyone setting up a new business can choose to trade with whichever countries around the world they wish. The majority of marketing guides and websites focus on these national and international models of business, but many start-ups have a firm base in a limited geographical area. To market your products or service successfully within that area, you need to use a strategy that focuses on your local profile and targets the potential customers who are within commutable proximity of your business. This involves many of the same principles as a general marketing strategy, but with an emphasis on reaching out to the local population.
If you are a local business, you have a head start when it comes to defining your target market. Rather than having to narrow it down to a certain demographic, your potential customers will be the residents living within the local catchment area. That means your marketing needs to be focused on engaging with the local community using all the methods that will increase your visibility in your area. You might still have a niche within that community, for instance, if you sell high-end antiques you will spend more on advertising in glossy publications that appeal to the wealthier sections of the population.
Offers and discounts for locals
A major component of the success of local businesses is being able to connect with the people around you and highlight to them how using your business will help the community. If your town already has a Barnes and Noble store, how can you persuade people to buy books from your new independent store instead? It’s not just other local businesses that are your competition, because for many local businesses the internet and e-commerce are one of the main threats to success. If you can show people that they will enjoy discounts and special offers only available to local residents if they use your business, you will make them feel special and give them a reason to choose you over all the other possible choices.
Use local suppliers and services yourself
This applies both to your business and personal purchases. Some aspects of this might be obvious, for instance, if you make your own food, use locally sourced meat or ingredients and point this out to your customers on the labeling and in your advertising. If you run a coffee shop, use the beans from a local roastery, or if you run a taxi service buy your vehicles from a local dealer and use a local repair shop to maintain your vehicles. Unless there is a compelling economic reason not to, you should source as many of your supplies from other local outlets as possible, and don’t be afraid to let people know you are supporting other local businesses.
Concentrate on local SEO
Your website is going to be important to your marketing, even if you don’t have an online shop. The site will still provide useful information for anyone looking for your kind of service or products, and many locals will turn to the internet to find the services they need. To raise your local profile and get your site as high up the rankings as possible, you should concentrate your SEO efforts on the local market. That means using the type of business you run and the location as your main keywords. For example, if you run a dog grooming business, your keyword phrase will be “dog grooming” along with the state or county you reside in, and variations thereof. It’s worth pointing out that making your keywords location specific doesn’t just involve including your location.
Marketing takes a while to have an effect, so you need to be patient and keep working on your local profile. Don’t assume you’ve failed if very few people respond to your initial advertising efforts; it can take multiple exposures to an ad or business profile to persuade people to take action, so don’t despair if progress is slow initially. You should see it pick up over time, and if you don’t, you might need to re-adjust your strategy. In these early days you need to be able to invest in your marketing if you want it to be effective, but if you’re not bringing in many sales, this could put the squeeze on you financially. It is important not to run before you can walk, and small steps little but often will see an improvement in your business for the better.
Don’t let finances disrupt your progress
Although you will have budgeted for the initial lean period in your business plan if it takes longer to make an impact than you’d anticipated you might be running short when paying your own salary. If this is the case, a modest amount of credit could keep you going long enough to see a turnaround in your fortunes. Financial advice sites like https://bonsaifinance.com.br/ can provide information and advice on the best options for your situation. Propping up a failing business or a marketing campaign that isn’t working, or using a marketing strategy that isn’t producing results is a foolish way to manage a business, but giving yourself the breathing space to start achieving results is a worthwhile investment.
These are all ideas for ways to raise your profile in your local community, without spending a dime on advertising. This isn’t an exhaustive list, and the more avenues you can find to get your business name entrenched into the consciousness of the populace, the better. Getting involved in any form of local event or charitable money-raiser, engaging with schools and community groups, and building relationships with local publishers and website owners will all boost your overall profile. At the same time, you’ll need to be placing ads in local publications and on local sites, plus you’ll need to check and maintain information held in online directories and databases that could guide people to your business. Local marketing is a multi-layered activity, with each element playing a part in a successful strategy.