Given the influence of the Internet over today’s small business landscape, it should come as no surprise that marketing has changed dramatically in the past ten years or so. Many business owners believe that the days of focusing on local level marketing are simply gone, as the Internet allows businesses of all kinds to reach audiences far and wide. It may seem like a good thing, but sometimes it creates more problems than it is worth.
The fact is, there’s absolutely no substitute for the traction that can be gained on a local level when you take the right steps. This is especially true for “brick and mortar” businesses that haven’t shifted their entire focus towards retailing their products and services online; you’ve got to make that local connection. Fortunately, there are a few ways in which you can embrace your local audience while still breaking into the online world of business.
Sponsor Local Events
Succeeding on a local level is all about building as strong a reputation in your community as possible, and what better way to do so than to sponsor local events? It doesn’t matter if it’s a festival, charity event, fundraiser, grand opening or otherwise; all of these can be beneficial to attach your name to.
The great thing about sponsoring an event is that it serves as an excellent way to get your business’s name out to the local public, and if you’re tying it to an event that is looked upon favorably in town, it’s more than likely to be a win-win situation.
Embrace Business Card Giveaways
Chances are, you’ve eaten at a restaurant on more than one occasion and have seen a fishbowl full of business cards at the counter. Typically, one card will be chosen from the pile each week to receive a free luncheon or dinner. It may seem like a ploy, but there’s no getting around the fact that this technique can be effective.
“Fishbowl giveaways” aren’t only effective for restaurants, either. Any company that retails a product or service can get a little mileage out of this local marketing concept. Just be sure you aren’t giving away the whole farm, and you’ll gain the exposure you’re looking for without sacrificing in the monetary department.
Offer Free Classes
Local level marketing success is all about finding your niche, and sometimes the best way to prove that you’re at the top of the heap is to spread your knowledge. Offering classes in whatever discipline your business focuses on can not only help to bring in new business, but will bode well for practically any company.
Restaurants, for example, might want to offer free cooking classes that show people how to make their signature dish. Imagine someone looking into healthcare jobs stumbling upon a free CPR course and finding exactly where they’d like to work without even knowing it! You might even bring in a new employee or two.
No matter how much importance you put on using the Internet to market your business, it’s difficult to get around the fact that a local presence still matters. So stop being shy and get out into your nearby communities and network!