Success Begins in Your Backyard
Every journey begins with a first step. If your business doesn’t really have a marketing strategy, it’s never too late to change that. Whether you are a startup ready to transition to growth mode or an established company wishing to rebrand or freshen your image, a marketing campaign will help you achieve your goals – if you approach it the right way.
One reason why so many businesses (especially small businesses) lack a marketing campaign is that they assume (incorrectly) that they cannot afford to market their business. Actually, the opposite is true. Your business cannot afford not to market – because you can be certain that at least some of your competitors are being diligent about marketing. When potential customers are trying to decide between a business they’re somewhat familiar with (thanks to marketing) or a business they know nothing about, odds are that they’ll go with the company they feel they know.
Another reason why businesses don’t market? They assume it’s too complicated and too expensive. Well, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, the most successful marketing campaigns start small. Think of them as grassroots marketing campaigns; they start local and gradually branch out. Here are some effective (and cost-effective) ways to market your business locally.
Attend Local Events
The most obvious way to increase your local marketing presence is simply to be present. Find or compile a calendar of high-profile, well-attended local events. Does your city sponsor a local concert series or art walk? Are there charity fun runs? What about a state fair, Octoberfest event, or fall festival? Locals turn out in droves for local events – and your business should have a presence at as many as possible. Talk to organizers about setting up a booth, becoming a sponsor, or sending a team of volunteers.
Partner with Local Organizations
Public schools, public safety, animal shelters, food banks, environmental groups … identify local groups that share the same philosophy as you do or that have a natural tie-in with your business and approach them about partnerships. Not only is this an opportunity to increase your visibility and name recognition in an organic fashion, it’s also an opportunity to further a cause you believe in.
Geofences are virtual boundaries. Basically, geofencing uses wifi or cellular data to trigger a certain action when a device (i.e.: a smart phone) that has downloaded your mobile app enters a virtual boundary (geofence) that you have activated using an app or other software. You can choose an address or location where you want an alert or notification to occur (such as a push notification, highly targeted ad, or an online coupon.) You can target customers using their smartphones within your virtual geofence through different apps and software programs. You can then entice them by offering freebies (“Stop by today and mention this message for a free appetizer!”) or promotions (Today only, stop in and receive 20% off your next order when you mention this message!) Since they’ll be in your vicinity when they get your offer, they’re more likely to follow up on it.
Impress the Press
Local publications, websites, and even TV and radio stations are always looking for fresh content. So, give it to them and enjoy a win-win! Is your business celebrating a milestone? Are you introducing a new product or service? Did you win an award? Has your employee done something amazing? Are you sponsoring an event? Are you relocating or changing your hours of operation? With the right spin (and especially if you have great photos or videos to accompany it) you can make anything newsworthy.
Befriend Influential Influencers
Every community has hometown heroes and local celebrities. Identify these folks in your community and turn them into ambassadors for your business. What motivates them? It could be swag and freebies or it could be your generous contribution of time and/or money to a cause near and dear to their hearts. Identify the influencers and what makes them tick, foster a relationship with them, and watch your own influence skyrocket.