One of the biggest mistakes new entrepreneurs make when trying to promote their small businesses is focusing on a large audience rather than local customers.
They spend heaps of money on creating the company’s website, establishing a social media presence, and advertising.
Unfortunately, in most cases, these tactics fail and thus your small startup budget disappears quickly. Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you that baby steps are essential for eventual growth.
If you’re trying to promote your business, start with your community first. Here’s what you can do to succeed at the local level:
1. Build Your Reputation in the Community
Customers like to be treated with respect so make sure you treat your loyal and new customers well – even if you only have 20 customers per day.
Statistics show that one satisfied customer can bring 10 to 30 new customers by recommending your services.
Consider doing something extraordinary or unexpected to welcome each customer. It can be a little gift or a discount on their next purchase.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can make your own gifts or bake some delicious treats. Suggest a cup of coffee in the morning and some tea at the end of the day.
Such little gestures can win you hundreds of new customers. Even if your services or products aren’t perfect or top-notch, people will appreciate you for having such a friendly attitude.
Most importantly, don’t forget to say “thank you for visiting us” to each person who is interested in your services or products.
2. Don’t Miss Important Community Events
Boost your presence in the community by attending community events. If you already have a team of several employees, invite them to visit those events together.
It’s an excellent way to show off your business and let others know what you and your team have to offer.
The large volunteer outings and small community gatherings can both aid in promoting your business, as it’s an easy way to find out more information about who lives in the community and make new acquaintances.
If your business is located in a big community, look for an industry conference or networking event.
If possible, attend events that are related to your business. Prepare business cards and talk to as many people as you can. You should try to master basic communication skills as well.
Aim to visit at least 2 events per month to let the locals know about your startup.
3. Arrange Your Own Event
If you live in a small community that doesn’t host too many events, this is your chance to promote your business.
Regardless of the theme of your event, invite the public and offer free admission. Even though it’s a bit money-draining, this method can be more effective than an ad.
You can also arrange a philanthropic event to reduce your costs and do a good deed at the same time. However, it’s best if your event will align with the values of your company.
Arranging events on a large scale holiday, like Easter, Halloween, or Christmas, will draw more attention to your startup.
4. Ask for Reviews
Nowadays, online reviews are more important than printed reviews in media publications. Ensure that your business has more positive feedback than negative feedback online.
Focus on online reviews, not on jealousy or anger. You can also set up an account on well-known review sites, like Yelp.
Ask your loyal customers to write about the pros and cons of your services and products. If a customer is going to leave a negative review, try to change the situation before others know about your business.
The same goes for asking for a review in-person. Each time a customer buys your products or service, ask them for a quick review.
This will help you improve your service and thus promote your business in the community.
5. Create an Email List
Stay in touch with your customers by sending them email lists with the best deals and offerings. It doesn’t have to be an email, though.
You can ask for customers’ phone numbers and send them texts messages or social media messages. Ask your customers to subscribe to your email list or to leave their contact info in your office.
Keep in mind that you should let your customers know why you need their email address or phone number.
In order to make your emails more exciting, include the names of your customers and personalize the message as much as possible.
In a community, people tend to know each other well, so an email list is a wonderful way to unite people and give them a reason to talk about your service or products.
6. Partner with Local Businesses
There are many ways to partner with local businesses to promote your service and theirs. For instance, you can partner with a popular restaurant in the area and ask them to display your company’s name, address, and contact info.
They might ask you to do the same, in return. Unless you’re entrepreneurial competitors, you can select any local business that would agree to a partnership.
7. Sponsor a Local Sports Team
If you have a significant marketing budget for your business, consider spending it on sponsoring a local sports team. Not only will you support young athletes, but you will also get your name out there.
If you can’t afford to fully sponsor a sports team, seek help from other local businesses.
Despite the fact that this method requires a large budget, it’s actually worth the investment and locals will finally gain familiarity with your business.
Plus, it’s a quick way to show the community that you value the community and youth sports programs.
Before you start promoting your business in the community, let others know about yourself. Networking is one of the keys to success.
Make new acquaintances, master good speaking skills, and keep your business card handy at all times.
As soon as your business starts flourishing in the local community, you can consider reaching customers on a larger scale.
Many successful businesses used the tips mentioned above to boost their companies’ success.