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Local business marketing: how to promote locally

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This guide outlines how to do effective local business marketing with your small business.

Brick-and-mortar stores made a big comeback as the pandemic settled in for 2021. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, Americans increased their spending in actual retail stores compared to 2020. The increase in eCommerce spending was less significant.

This is big news for local small businesses. If you operate a retail store in your local area, your market has grown. Tap into that audience willing to spend locally with targeted marketing and promotions.

Local business marketing

To begin with, you need to understand that local business marketing consists of a set of practices that promote your company from geographic segmentation. This means that digital marketing resources will be used, but with the aim of reaching the people around you.

Due to this characteristic, it is a very suitable strategy for physical stores. They can be small businesses, franchised units or even branches of large companies. The difference between the latter alternatives is that they need to follow the rules of the organization.

Meanwhile, the small business is free to do whatever it wants and is more likely to stand out because of it. Some actions even gained national prominence for the funny descriptions of products or services.

How does this strategy help local business succeed?

Like traditional marketing, the place aims to leverage sales, even indirectly. However, the differential of this strategy is to put face-to-face service as a differential.

After all, for smaller cities, it is a way to stand out and attract more people by posting products and services offered. In medium and large ones, a way to show that your company is at a certain address and people do not need to spend time on traffic.

More than that, many people choose to shop in the neighborhood or city commerce, precisely to value smaller shopkeepers. Whatever the alternative, local digital marketing becomes efficient because it focuses on the end consumer, the one who is close to your establishment and can buy your products or services whenever they want.

Therefore, consumption habits, economic issues, customs and culture of the region are considered. The result is a much more targeted work, which brings clear results.

For example, imagine that you are on X-street and have a gift shop. 200 meters away, there is an establishment of the same kind. What will make the consumer choose yours?

Basically, the differentials that your company presents. This is where local marketing comes in. You indicate what your store offers, promotions and other relevant aspects and are more likely to draw attention.

Local business marketing doesn’t have to be small marketing

It’s easy to accept a limited reach when marketing a local business. Naturally, your audience is restricted, but too many small businesses stop far shorter than necessary.

There are several common mistakes you can avoid to ensure you make the most of your local consumers:

  • You don’t bother with many promotions because you assume people in the area know you’re there.
  • Your promotions don’t accurately target your audience.
  • The storefront isn’t visible enough or doesn’t have a clear brand or logo to help consumers identify it quickly.
  • You haven’t tapped into online and social media marketing or advertising.

Having a local business doesn’t necessarily mean your marketing and promotions will be small. Put more effort into this, and you’ll get more targeted customers through the door with money to spend.

The local business difference

Larger, nationwide companies may have a more extensive reach, but small, local businesses have their own advantages. Bigger corporations cannot tap into such highly targeted, local marketing. They can’t count on sales from people who want to support their communities. Location can be a powerful element of promoting your business, both to area residents and visitors.

One of the most significant advantages you have as a local business is the ability to spend marketing dollars in a very targeted area. You can spend less on marketing materials because you have a smaller region to cover.

Consider cheap promos like logoed stress balls, stadium cups, pens, and sunglasses. You don’t have to distribute a vast number of these products before they begin circulating in the local area. Items that circulate readily, like pens, will quickly saturate the region, increasing your brand awareness for an affordable price.

Here are some other benefits of being a small, local business that you can take advantage of as you grow your company and its reach:

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is a national event focused on local businesses. Participate by promoting the day, partnering with your local Chamber of Commerce and other companies, and offering sales, events, and experiences on the day.

Consumers who want to shop locally will remember your store if you put energy and effort into making the day special.

Geo-fenced Online Ads

You need to target people in a specific geographical area, like a brick-and-mortar store. Online advertising can be effective, but it’s best when you narrow it down to where your consumers actually live and shop. Affordable plans, like Google ads, allow you to draw a line on the map to market directly to your area.

In-store Experiences

Online retailers cannot offer the in-store experience. This can be a powerful way to connect with local customers. Offer regular or occasional events that draw people into the store to make sales and keep the brand fresh in their minds. For example, if you sell specialty foods, offer cooking classes or wine tastings.

Loyalty Programs

Many people want to support their local businesses. Make it easier for them to do so consistently with loyalty programs. It can be as simple as a card punched ten times to get a free gift or a more elaborate points scheme.

Social Media Marketing  

Being local doesn’t mean you can’t harness the power and reach of social media. Social media accounts provide a great way to stay connected with local buyers. Showcase what you have in store and engage with people to increase brand loyalty.

Don’t assume you can’t get nationwide business as a local retailer. Many businesses have become tourist stops. Consider the Cherry Republic in northern Michigan. Summer tourists from all over the country make a stop when in the area for local foods and the store’s famous endless samples. If you live in an area tourists frequent, dedicate some of your marketing efforts to reaching them.

Harness the power of local

With in-person retail sales on the rise, local businesses have a unique opportunity. Don’t limit your marketing efforts just because your company is small and local. Get creative, find your target audience in the area, and increase sales through unique marketing efforts.

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