If you’re a small business, marketing can be one of your biggest challenges. Getting in front of your ideal customer and keeping them engaged and connected takes work. There are a few things you can do to make sure you get traction within the local community. While you can pay for Google and Facebook ads, which can be helpful, these are low-cost tactics that can get you started if you don’t have a robust advertising budget.
Being consistent is key to building awareness and trust at the local level. Being engaged and involved provides high levels of organic exposure you can’t pay for. Here are 8 ways you can start gaining visibility while creating a buzz for your business:
#1 Start building your brand from day 1
Branding is key. While you should have creative assets in place that let people know who you are, you should also have a brand purpose, mission, vision, and values in place so the community will know who you are and where you stand. Your brand promise is one of the most important things when building your brand because that’s what customers are going to hold you to.
Once the foundational elements are in place, developing your messaging and creative assets is a priority. You need to understand your brand personality and voice to speak directly to your audience to get them to listen and want more.
Finally, you must walk, talk, and look the part. That means having a strong logo that people will remember, colors that stand out. A website, social media, brochures, branded email, and all the other important elements that enhance the customer experience – you must have all the branding materials that count. There are some online branding services that can help with this, but you can also use tools like Canva if you prefer the DIY approach.
#2 Use local business pages
One of the best marketing tips that get you noticed is to create a local business page. This will help you show up when people are doing searches for businesses in the area, and when they are specifically looking for businesses with products and services you offer.
Utilize the power of Google and Facebook. You can also tag your area on Instagram. When creating your business profile page, make sure to add any photos, your business hours, directions, contact information, and responses when customers post reviews. This is an example of how a Google business page will look:
In the above image you can see a classic Google search for “services near me” by having a presence on these local platforms you can gain visibility for these searches.
You can also set up local pages with Yelp, YellowPages, LinkedIn company pages, and others. When setting up listings on these pages, use the right category so people can search and find you. It’s important to monitor and maintain these listings to keep things current and up to date.
#3 Set-up a process to get reviews
It’s highly encouraged to get reviews from people who have used your services. This is one of the fastest ways to get people to trust you. If you’re in a directory and there are no reviews, you may lose a potential customer. Reviews help establish credibility and social proof.
Reviews also help with your SEO. Use promotions and coupons to get people engaged. Once they use your services, asking for a review or feedback through email or social media can be very effective. Word-of-mouth coupled with reviews makes a huge difference in whether your business has exponential growth or remains stagnant.
There are some things to avoid when getting online reviews, like not sending a direct link to your page when requesting reviews from Google or Yelp. You want organic reviews. You also want to avoid having customers do reviews from your business location. Finally, make sure you aren’t sending bulk links which could be flagged as spam.
#4 Sponsor, volunteer, and partner
This is a good way to get your business name out in the community. By sponsoring a team or having a fundraiser, people will get their eyes on your business name. If you don’t have the money to provide sponsorships yet, you can volunteer.
Volunteering demonstrates that you have a willingness to give back, roll up your sleeves and connect on a deeper level. You’ll get to meet other business owners, community leaders, and patrons that may come to your business.
While you’re networking with other business owners, this is a good time to establish partnerships that can benefit both businesses in major ways. Working with businesses that align with your values and mission can build your reputation. If they are already established and well-received in the community, this continues building credibility for your brand.
#5 Use social media
Social media is very effective when used correctly. In fact, there are tactics you can use for each platform. You can use customer reviews in a photo for Facebook or Instagram. You can also run local contests or giveaways.
Location tags on social media can help get attention. Whenever posting, using location tags can make it easier for locals to find you on Facebook or Instagram. Local hashtags can work wonders by being attached to your city or state. Posting in Facebook Groups is also a good way to find and engage with your target audience.
Optimize your social media profiles with your business name, a short description of what the business is about, and your website to make sure you capitalize on the visibility you may start getting. Using local influencers or bloggers within the community and bartering with services can help their following become yours.
#6 Use email marketing to your advantage
Email is still one of the best ways to keep customers on top of what’s going on, new offerings, and more. For local businesses, focusing on local content makes a difference. Businesses that stay engaged with newsletters or ongoing discounts and promotions for local customers grab attention.
Using location-specific guides and resources to assist current and potential customers on things that can help them such as great local restaurants, attractions, and events coming up that may be of interest. Add an incentive for your products and services and it’s a winning combination.
Mobile coupons through email are also a good way to monitor who’s using your products and where they come from. Customers can open the email and use their phone to show the coupon. Custom landing pages where they can sign up for these types of emails keep people on your list and let you know what’s working and what could use improvement.
#7 Use seasonal content
If you’re looking to get really granular, use the power of seasonal content to get more community support. You’ll be able to stand out from your competitors and give locals something to look forward to.
Once you have established your business as one that recognizes all the special days and holidays, your business will start being included in certain events and planning. Community leaders will start recognizing how much your business does in the community and use that to their benefit.
Doing something at least once a month, even when there isn’t an event or special day going on taps into the emotional aspect of marketing, building brand awareness and brand loyalty among the local community.
Taking the time to figure out what works best for your community can help build your brand organically. This variation of marketing tips should increase brand awareness online and locally to solidify your position in the local marketplace.
Getting customers to know, like, and trust you takes work. If you’re willing to put in the time and apply these tips and tactics, you’ll start seeing positive results that will help solidify your place in the community as a viable, trustworthy business.
TIME BUSINESS NEWS