Starting a local business isn’t an easy feat. If you speak with any local business operator, they will all tell you that your biggest challenge is reaching and retaining a loyal customer base. In today’s digital world, your online presence is more important than ever before. If you don’t have an online presence, you will find it difficult to reach and engage with your consumers. Where this becomes overwhelming for a start-up, is the time factor. Many start-ups don’t have the money to pay for someone to do their digital marketing, nor do they have the time. It’s a double edged sword.
Being involved in the start-up world for the past decade, I have a learnt a thing or two about this. Here are my top 8 ways of how to promote your local business which won’t cost your business a small fortune.
I have good news for you. You don’t need a large marketing budget to advertise in today’s digital world. Advertising is vital as it plays a crucial role in getting your name out to your potential consumer base. Your advertising campaign will vary depending on your business and who it is that you’re trying to reach. With social media, local newspapers and personal networks, your advertising campaign can cost your business very little for a good return. I do recommend that as your business grows, you increase your marketing budget as this is the key to your businesses success.
- Create local awareness
Creating a strong presence in your local community is vital to your success. People won’t support you if they don’t know who you are or what you do. Presence and awareness needs to be gained. You can gain your local awareness by increasing your coverage in local newspapers, social media sites, or industry magazines. You know your industry, find out who it is you need to meet and speak with in the local publications and set up a time to meet with them. Have your purpose, no one will promote you if they don’t believe in you.
- Social media presence:
As a local business, social media is your new best friend. With social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, being used almost religiously, your business needs an engaging presence online. The goal is to provide your followers with something that makes them read, engage and share your post. It’s important to learn who your audience is. Start small, be consistent with your posts and respond to your followers’ comments as soon as possible.
- Engage with your customers:
When people personally know who it is behind the business, they enjoy a connection which they would otherwise not have. This creates a loyal customer who wants to support your business. If they see that you care about them, they will always care about you. Your customers will remain loyal to you if your product or service is what you promised and what they expect, and if they see the human element behind a brand.
- Engage with your customers through email marketing:
Creating an email campaign is easy and free. Using a service such as MailChimp, allows your local business to create newsletters, automated messages or targeted email campaigns to your consumer base. Having an email marketing campaign, connects you with you customers, which helps you build a community of supporters by keeping your product and business at the front of their minds. Remember, people receive 100’s of emails daily, be strategic when you send your email, ensure you have a capturing subject line, and have a purpose for the email. If you don’t, people will either unsubscribe or automatically delete your email.
- Eat, Drink, Sleep your business:
I hate to break it to you, but there is no such thing as a day off when you own your own business. Every opportunity you get; you’re selling your business. You need to really love what you’re doing to succeed in this world.
- Support local businesses:
“Love thy neighbour”. Local business owners have an incentive to support other local businesses. Having a sense of community and a strong relationship with other local businesses is great for your consumers to not only see but also feel. It becomes contagious and people will stay loyal to the local area.
- Word of Mouth:
Satisfied customers is the best form of marketing for any business. What makes it even better, is the fact that it is absolutely free. Having a quality product or service and then genuinely engaging with your clients is the key to having your customers speak to their family and friends. Additionally, attending school functions, local sporting events, or business networking events also allows your business to be on everyone’s lips. When selling a service or product, you’re inevitably going to have an unhappy customer. Read our previous post on how to successfully handle your unhappy customers.
Owning a coworking space in the Sutherland Shire allows us to engage with start-up businesses on a daily basis. It is so exciting to see how local communities support businesses within their community when a sense of pride is created with the brand.
If you are in or near the Sutherland Shire and want to come and check out Inspire Cowork and have a chat over a cup of coffee, contact us today. We look forward to meeting you.