If you own a local business, you could be in one of three situations:
- Your customers mostly live locally
- Your customers are primarily online
- You have a mix of local and online business
If you don’t have to think about attracting local people to your business because you are in position 2 – that is, all your business is done online, then you can follow standard marketing advice. However, if you generate some or most of your business from the local area, you need to be targeting your marketing at the local population.
You might be wondering what difference it makes; aren’t the principles of marketing universal? Yes and no. When it comes to attracting local trade, the principles still apply, but you approach them slightly differently.
For example, if you’re trying to improve your website’s SEO, using keywords throughout the site that relate to the kind of business you run would seem obvious. If you focus on these keywords; however, you’ll be competing against every other business offering the same products or services. You need those keywords, but most importantly, you need to optimize your use of locally relevant keywords.
SEO is a notorious minefield, and it’s a landscape that’s everchanging as search engines alter their algorithms to try and improve the results they generate. You can achieve a certain degree of optimization on your own, but to make the most of the potential of SEO, you need to get some help, for example, using Google My Business SEO tips.
Local business isn’t restricted to online marketing in the way that national and international businesses tend to be; in fact, using more traditional marketing techniques can often be to your advantage as a local business. Tried and tested methods that still generate good results include:
- Leaflet drops
- Advertising in local print publications
- Putting up posters and signs
- Running competitions
- Attending local events
- Getting involved in the community
- Writing and posting letters
- Offering loyalty schemes
These are the sorts of activities all businesses used to market themselves before the Internet burst on the scene, and for local entrepreneurs, they are still an invaluable resource. Becoming a recognized part of your community by getting involved in whatever’s going on in your area defines you as a supporter of the people living and working around you; getting your business into their consciousness, but also generating loyalty and support for you as a part of the community.
It takes a great deal of skill and commitment to run a successful business of any type, but local businesses perform a far greater function than simply supplying goods and services. They form the cornerstone of thriving communities; boosting the economy, providing jobs, and attracting people into the area as well. If you can capitalize on your position in your community, you’ll build a sound, sustainable business with a devoted customer base, so having a local focus when it comes to marketing strategy gives you a definite advantage.