By: Randy Hernandez | Chief Marketing Officer
Small business owners know reaching their local audience is an absolute necessity. Jet Capital understands that getting the most out of your marketing budget is important, too. Local outreach is critical to building your small business and brand as you grow.
Building awareness in your own town gets customers in the door quickly and helps grow your base of loyal customers. With a combination of smart technology and good old-fashioned physical presence, you can get the word out effectively in your own neighborhood and get the best return on your marketing investment.
Here are four ways to promote your small business to your area.
Strategic Use of Social Media Marketing
There are excellent tools and strategies to to reach local customers through your social media marketing. Take advantage of the following to make sure your small business is being seen and heard in your own little corner of the world.
First, make sure your business is listed correctly across the internet. Hubspot has a great list here which includes 50 places your business should be listed. You could also use Moz.com to list your business across local search engine results for a small annual fee. If you have multiple locations, be sure to list all of them!
Facebook Local Awareness Ads offers small businesses the ability to reach out to a designated area, select demographics to target, and decide how long to display an ad. This is a good tool for promoting your business, especially for specials or promotional events. Choose an image and text for your ad that will appeal to the customers you want to reach and add a call to action button. Facebook says their customers are reporting that overall reach is more important than engagement for getting customers in the door. With this in mind, you can decide what will be the most effective marketing technique for your area.
The right hashtags can help you reach more local customers, too. Instagram ads are managed through Facebook now, but you can still use hashtags to improve your local visibility. Experiment with using hashtags that refer to your town or neighborhood. For example, #shoplocaldallas and #shopdallas will reach local shoppers. Something like #dallastacos or #dallaspizza can reach hungry locals who are browsing for lunch or dinner options.
Signs and Banners
The right signage with the right placement is an important basic element of your small business local outreach. For many small businesses, your sign is your first introduction to new customers.
Remember, if no one can see your sign, it is not doing its job! Take a look at your current signage and the flow of traffic by your location. Can walkers and drivers easily see your sign? Is it easy to read? Are the colors faded or still bright and vibrant? Does your sign compliment all of your other branding efforts? Make sure that your signs are clearly sending the right message to your neighborhood.
In pedestrian-heavy areas, a sidewalk display is a useful way to draw attention to your shop. Many walkers will not look up to see a sign above a store, so having something at street level makes sure you catch their attention.
If you have seasonal offerings or specials, consider investing in banners or window stickers to communicate with customers. Use these with your window displays and current signage to let customers know there is something new happening in-store.
Community Service and Fundraising
Small businesses are part of their communities. You interact with your neighbors everyday, so you are in touch with the needs of your area. Community service and fundraising might seem like a natural outgrowth of your business, or even a responsibility that you share as a business owner. Above and beyond the great PR your business will earn through community service, your business will also become more integrated into the fabric of your town.
Here are some successful ways to support local organizations and charities while building awareness for your small business
You might find that other small businesses in your area are also interested in helping out, so look for partnerships to support and grow both community service and other small businesses. Be sure to give all of your local newspapers a call to let them know about your community service and fundraising efforts. The local press is often a great friend to community-oriented businesses.
What’s the word on the street about your small business? According to a study by The Nielsen Company, word of mouth advertising is still the most influential form of advertising with 84% of global respondents reporting that a recommendation by friends or family is the most trustworthy way to learn about a new product or service.1
Traditional word-of-mouth marketing will always be an influential method to build awareness of your business. Providing the best customer experience will keep the word of mouth about your business positive! Encourage your best customers to share their great experiences with friends.
In the age of social media, word-of-mouth is faster and farther-reaching than ever before. Keep your customers happy and encourage the best feedback. You might even post a sign with a ‘call to action’ in your store, for example ‘Like Us on Facebook’ or ‘Share Your Look on Instagram’.
React quickly to negative comments on social media and if there is a problem, offer to communicate with the individual via private message to resolve the issue. Social media platforms are an effective, inexpensive way to promote your business, but they will require a little management. Stay in charge of your own message online and keep the focus on positive feedback, announcements, and news about your business.
Jet Capital is here for small businesses. We love to see you succeed and become a cornerstone in your community. Jet Capital provides fast, flexible on-demand working capital for small businesses. Contact us today to learn more about merchant advance funding as an alternative to traditional small business loans.
1. Under the Influence: Consumer Trust in Advertising. (2013, September 19). http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2013/under-the-influence-consumer-trust-in-advertising.html
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