There are thousands of small businesses out there. In fact, there are thousands of small businesses doing exactly what you’re doing. If you want to be noticed, you need to cut through the noise.
Doing so requires more than traditional marketing efforts. Everyone else is creating Facebook Ads and posting on Social Media. Those are important, but you need to step it up and get creative if you want to stand out.
The key to success in a competitive market is focusing on local efforts targeted towards a more focused audience. Here are some ideas.
Geotag your Social Media Posts
When you post on Instagram, be sure to use a geotag. Basically what this does is pin your location to the photo, allowing the photo to show up in any search result for that location. This only adds a few seconds, and gives local consumers another chance to discover your business.
Partnered Giveaways with other Local Businesses
Everyone loves a good giveaway. If you have never done a partnered giveaway with other local businesses, it’s definitely a strategy worth considering. For example, if you own a sandwich shop you could consider doing a date night giveaway for a gift card to your shop and admission to a local pottery class. If you both post this giveaway on your pages, you will get exposure from their following and they will get exposure from yours. This gives both of you the chance to reach new local consumers and creates a valuable relationship within the business community.
Ads in Local Magazines
Every community has its own publications featuring activities, businesses, or shops specific to the area. We live in Utah and have publications such as “Devour Utah” highlighting local restaurants, and “Utah Business Magazines” highlighting local businesses and business owners. Publications like these love to feature small businesses in the community. Consider reaching out to these types of magazines for additional exposure. They might offer paid ad space, but they also might consider featuring an article or story about your business.
Don’t be scared of competition. In fact, the key to success is to connect with them, support them, and build a strong relationship with them. Having healthy relationships with other local businesses in your industry will build a solid foundation for effective marketing. This can mean dropping by in person, giving them a call, or connecting on Linked In or other Social Media pages. Supporting your competition provides opportunities to motivate one another, grow your industry, and even refer one another in situations where your time and resources may differ.
This method is a bit more time consuming, but has been proven effective and is worth giving a try. Great places to flyer are apartment complexes, parks, busy street corners, etc. If you start painting the town with your flyers, the community is sure to notice. Design the flyer around a specific offer or deal that will catch people’s attention- such as a discounted admission or BOGO product. No matter where you choose to flyer, though, be sure you get the necessary permissions. Not all places are open to the public flyering, so reach out and make sure they’re okay with it before you put them up. For example, if you’d like to flyer at an apartment complex, get ahold of the resident manager beforehand.
Local Facebook Pages
Recently I started my own business, and we have found the most success through posting on local Facebook Pages. We are servicing the wedding industry in Utah so we joined pages such as “Utah Wedding Yard Sale.” Some pages allow you to advertise and some don’t, so make sure that the group is okay with it before you post or you may get kicked. Every couple of weeks, write up a post for each of these groups and you will start getting the local attention you’re craving.
Print t-shirts, magnets, backpacks, stickers, etc. These are all great ways to get your name out there. Wear them, sell them, give them away. If you have all of your friends, family, and employees walking around with your logo on, your brand will start to become more familiar in the community.
Reach out to Local Press
Another great way to gain recognition in the community is to get your name in local papers. Find the contact information for journalists at local papers, and send them a genuine message with your story. It can be difficult to get a reply from journalists- their inboxes are flooding with emails about story opportunities every day. Don’t let this discourage you, just be persistent and send something unique and attention-grabbing. You may have to reach out to 10 journalists to get 1 reply, but that 1 reply is worth it.
Coupons are another proven way to reach local consumers. 93% of shoppers use a coupon or discount code throughout the year, and sometimes spend hours seeking out a deal for a product or service before they choose where to make a purchase. Offering discounts and deals can attract consumers who may not have found you otherwise. There are a lot of methods for coupon distribution, but one great option to consider is 2for1. 2for1 is a location-based deals app that shows consumers nearby deals. As a business, you can sign up for free, and then post discounts and offers that will be shown to thousands of users. This is a great way to reach local consumers and motivate them to make the sale.