Local businesses have many things in common with their national and multinational counterparts, but there are some major differences when it comes to marketing priorities. Companies that cater to a regional client base need to address them directly with their outreach programs. Shaping your conventional and digital marketing techniques directly towards a limited target audience can greatly improve return on investment and speed up initial growth.
For some companies, giving away a free sample can earn a lifelong customer. While this kind of marketing isn’t always feasible, businesses in the food, entertainment, and service industries can attract customers with a free limited experience of their offering. New restaurants often actively distribute samples alongside coupons in public places around their area to build up local interest.
Even businesses that provide a service can offer a free demo or free initial consultation for other businesses, akin to “taste testing” their product. Product sampling gives you the perfect opportunity to start a conversation with your potential customer and explain why what your offering is the right, customized fit for what they need, whether that be catering, software solutions, or anything in between.
Targeted Social Media Marketing
Social media and internet advertising may seem like blunt tools that lack regional focus, but local search engine optimization (SEO) practices can actually be very effective. Online advertising campaigns can be targeted to narrow geographical areas, so companies don’t waste money marketing to people outside their area. Building up a social media presence by encouraging interaction with discounts or other promotions can also generate a lot of awareness with minimal investment.
Local Print and Board
Putting up smaller ads and fliers around town may seem like a basic approach, but it can still be remarkably effective and affordable. Companies can find a large format printing service to create colorful, eye-catching ads to stay in their audience’s sights. Professionally-printed banners, brochures and business cards lend credibility and associate quality with a local brand’s image.
Customer Referral Programs
Many local service providers, like plumbers and electricians, rely on a referral network to find most of their clients. Passing out business cards and doing a good job is enough to earn good word of mouth from some customers, but developing a program can build on this value. Referral programs can take many different forms depending on the nature of the business. Some companies offer a small cash reward following a successful referral, while others offer discounts on a future purchase of products or services.
Businesses that primarily or exclusively serve local clients must prioritize their outreach efforts accordingly. Trial and error is part of any marketing campaign, but following some of these established ideas can help start things off in the right direction. Ultimately, creating a positive customer experience and delivering quality products or services will define your reputation among local consumers.