Image by: Deval Patrick
By Michael Sterling
There’s nothing like the allure of a local business. Many large corporations started off that way, after all. Few things outweigh the approval of the local community, but it’s not all peaches and cream. In today’s digital age, it’s a lot harder to exist in the hearts of locals. With so many options to choose from, keeping your company alive is crucial. Here’s a few ideas on how to maintain longevity:
#1) Become A Local Attraction
One of the greatest tricks a lawyer does is fabricating the evidence to make it bend towards his/her own argument. By using this same idea, you can convince an entire community that your company or service is the hottest ticket in town and easily throws its competitors in the water.
Sales, drawings, promotions, press releases to local newspapers/radio stations, social media events, and local business partnerships are all crucial in building your company’s image. If you don’t aim to become an attraction, you are merely going to be a hole-in-the-wall. Marketing a local business is necessary for keeping its longevity.
#2) Reach Out To Non-Profits
Getting involved in local charities and non-profit organizations is a great way to meet potential clients face-to-face and be memorable. Not only do you expand your market, but you also build a positive reputation among the local community. Whatever cause the organization is tied to, make sure it’s something you care about.
Donate your time, host an event, run a promotion where the organization gets a percentage of sales, and don’t forget to put their logo on your flyers. These acts will brand your business as one that cares about the community, and nowadays, consumers respect good intentions far more than business moves where they end up getting taken advantage of.
Licensing your product or service is an effective, low-cost growth medium, especially if you have a service or branded product. It also minimizes your risk and is low cost in comparison to the price of starting your own company to produce and sell your brand or product.
Larry Friedman of the International Center for Entrepreneurship spoke to Entrepreneur.com about licensing, stating, “You can receive upfront monies and royalties from the continued sales or use of your software, name brand, etc. – if it’s successful. But before you set up a meeting or contact any company, find a competent attorney who specialized in intellectual property rights. This is the best way to minimize the risk of losing control of your service or product.”
#4) No False Advertising
As a local business owner, it’s always a great idea to plan up to 6 months in advance. However, you should never pitch something until you have it in place. Word of mouth, especially in regards to local businesses, spread fast. People will most likely search for you, only to see that your service is unavailable or in the process of getting stabilized.
Small businesses have no room for disappointed customers. Loyalty should be at the top of every business owner’s priority list. This will eventually act as a domino effect towards trust, respect, and local regulars.
#5) Google Search Engine Traffic
Search engine traffic is incredibly valuable for local businesses. According to recent studies, the first position in Google receives 53% of clicks. People are naturally drawn to the first thing they see. But still, advertising on Google can be done in a number of ways:
- Organic Search Listings – This is the natural promotion of your website through resources that the search engines find valuable. They’re highly trusted and are often visited by potential clients.
- Local Search Listings – These are what you see next to the “map bubbles” with the A, B, C, D, etc. on Google maps and other forms.
- Paid Search Listings – CPC listings, or pay per click listings are search engine results that appear before and to the side of the organic search results.
- Google Ads – This is a great strategy to put your business directly in front of potential customers whenever they’re searching for what a similar service.
A successful online marketing campaign usually consists of all four, as well as email marketing and banner advertising. When it comes to local businesses, consumers are often drawn to the most recognizable.