If real estate’s most recognizable mantra is “location, location, location,” then the equivalent for small businesses is “local, local, local.”
Traditionally, small and mid-sized businesses (aka SMBs) have been able to compete with their bigger competitors by listing in the Yellow Pages. But now, you’re more likely to search for products and services on the web, and, increasingly, the mobile web. So are your customers.
To reach customers who may be searching for what you offer, the latest trend in marketing is to “think small.” Keeping your marketing local is key to big success.
Small businesses should deliver messages only to people most likely to be your customers—those within 10 miles or 10 minutes from your door. But, how do you—literally—look in your own back yard for new customers?
Here’s how to “think small” in your marketing:
Look for potential partnerships
- Tap into potential partnerships within your neighborhood: local businesses, schools, homes and high rises, community events and even fellow retailers can become your promotional allies in building your business. Not only does partnering with other great, local businesses in your area help you both profit, but also the stamp of approval of another credible well-known business goes a long, long way.
Build your referral network
- Think about ways your referral network can convey your marketing messages to your local community. For example, you can go first to your employees, then from your employees to your clients or patients, and from them to their families, friends, neighbors and co-workers, and so on and so on. Referral marketing is intimate and personal, and small businesses are getting smarter about managing customer reviews on channels like Yelp, Google Places, or Yahoo Local.
Think local first
- Contrary to some of the old “rules” of advertising, local marketing shuns “exposure” advertising. Any local marketing program must pay its way, and it’s either profitable or unprofitable based on results. But think of local search marketing as a “gift that keeps on giving,” because efforts that your company makes today in establishing a solid online presence will pay off tomorrow and well into the future.
Engage and educate
- Treat your customers as the authorities, and educate them about what you do. Ask their advice and opinions of your business, such as how you might improve it to better meet their needs. Don’t be afraid to reveal inside information, and be open about sharing tips, best practices, or how-to’s. The more your customers understand your business, the more they will respect what you are doing, and they will talk about it on the web and everywhere!
Bottom Line: Think small and local to get the dollars in the door
If you have limitless funds to throw at local advertising campaigns, by all means go ahead. But if you want to get the best prospects in the most efficient, results-oriented manner, put the neighborhood to work for you, with local marketing approaches that will work for your business. Think small, think local, and get the client and their cash that is within easy reach of your location.