So, you’re a business owner. You’re good at what you do, you have faith in your business model, and you’re confident that one day you could roll out our franchise your business across the United States. Some of you might have ambitions even grander than that – we live in a time of worldwide connectivity, so why not plan to expand your business to Europe and beyond? There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big!
Before that, though, you need to start by getting your name known, and that means focusing closer to home – right here in Oregon. When brands grow, they often maintain close ties to their home base. Consider the close connection between Starbucks and Seattle, or Kentucky Fried Chicken and, well, Kentucky.
There are many pieces of business advice out there which are geared towards helping a company grow online, but those tips are broad and general – aimed at building a brand for the wider audience of the internet. That’s not the same thing as growing a business within a local community, and developing a relationship with that community which is both positive and profitable.
If you’re a small, new, or start-up business within central Oregon and you’d like a few ideas on how to raise your profile locally, read on!
- Network Hard, Network Often
As the old saying goes, no man is an island. Nor is any company – especially a small one. You’d be surprised how many small businesses refer customers to each other. An obvious example is a mechanic or car dealership providing referrals to an insurer, but there are many other areas where companies who offer completely different services can work hand in hand. If you can’t think of any, that’s a sure sign you need to find out more about the businesses around you. The best way to do that is to join your nearest Chamber of Commerce. As a word of warning that usually involves a fee, but not a prohibitive one. At meetings, you can get on friendly terms with other businesses, and also potential customers. Some of those potential customers might even be the people who own the other businesses – and that’s how networking starts! You’ll also likely come into contact with rival firms who work in your sector. It’s a good chance to find out what they offer, and therefore work out how you can pitch yourself as different to them.
- Identify A Local Influencer
The internet still forms an important part of your business strategy, even at a local level. While it would be nice to get a supportive tweet or recommendation from someone with twenty million Instagram or Twitter followers, in reality you’re unlikely to be able to afford it. There will, however, be influencers who are active within your area. They may only have a few thousand social media followers, but those followers are likely to live locally – and therefore, they’re all potential customers. Find out who these people are – searching Twitter or Instagram using hashtags associated with your area should identify them quickly. Either by sending them free products or a small payment, you should find they’re willing to promote your brand for you.
- Give Something Away
It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small – giving something away works when it comes to attracting customers. It can be a free gift, or it can be a discount on a purchase. Nobody does this better than mobile slots casinos, so look at a few of them like Amigo Slots and see how many sign up and introductory offers they promote on their homepages. From free spins on the latest online and mobile slots to reward and loyalty schemes, they cover them all. Online slots websites exist in a hyper-competitive market, and are constantly trying to outdo each other to persuade people to spend money with them. People come to play slots, but they stay for the free pizza and Amazon gift vouchers. Take that idea, and think locally. Could you offer gift vouchers for a local pizza parlor with sales from your store? Could you offer discounts with other local businesses as part of a purchase? Speak to a few of your new friends (from your networking sessions) and see if they’re able to facilitate discounts for your customers – you may even find they send a few customers your way in return.
- Focus On Friends And Families
What are communities made up of? Friends and family living side by side. Oregon in particular prides itself on having a strong sense of family and community. You can use this to your advantage by offering to extend your service to the friends and families of customers at a discounted rate. If someone buys from you, why not thank them by offering to pay a referral fee to them if they introduce the people close to them to your brand? Better still, offer them a discount off their next purchase – but also tell them that discount can be transferred to a friend or family if they’d rather pass the discount on. When that friend or family member turns up to claim their discount from you, you can then extend the same offer to their friends and family – and your network of customers builds from there.
- Run Contests And Offer Prizes
There’s nothing more likely to get you into a local newspaper or covered by the local press than running a localized competition with a good prize. Offering a good prize will cost money, so this is an option you should only consider if you have the bankroll to cover it. If you do, however, you should hopefully find that the money you spend comes back to you in free marketing and therefore new customers. Running a competition tells the people in your area two things about your business – you have a sense of fun, and you’re generous. Who wouldn’t want their business to be thought of in those terms? The best place to run contests in the modern age is online. Ask users to create content – for example, pictures – which contain a hashtag chosen by you, which promotes your business. The more people join in, the further and wider that hashtag will spread. That creates awareness, and brand awareness is priceless. Ask participants in the competition to follow you on social media as part of the terms and conditions, and your digital brand will grow, too.