The presence of your business, both online and retail (if you have a physical location) is something every startup needs to focus on. Without it, even if you the greatest product or service, potential customers will not know about you.
The first thing you need is a website. Having an online presence is critical for any business. If you have a retail store, a well designed and attractive storefront will help draw potential customers to your store. Here are some other low-cost and high-impact things you can do to increase the awareness and promote your company locally
Connect with Customers Through Story
We naturally gravitate towards stories. When creating your marketing strategy, tell your story and use it to base your social media campaigns on. Facebook is an ideal social media platform to give your customers a reason to do business with you. Telling your story can connect you with customers that can relate to you better.
People want to know where you’ve come from. People want to know why you offer what you offer. Appealing to their emotions is much more powerful than just appealing to logic. When you tell a story, people will then become interested in your brand or the items that you have to sell. If you need some help with marketing your story, then why check out resources from sites such as Your Marketing People.
The media also loves a good story. So whether it is a rag to riches story or one where you encountered a simple problem and focused on solving it, share your memorable story. with them. You can’t pay for publicity like that! Focus on emotionally engaging with your potential customers. Have them be your best salesperson!
Support and Give Back to Your Local Community
One of the most effective methods for building a solid brand reputation locally is to help out your local community. As the head of a local company, you’re in a strong position to become a leader in your area. Speak to local charities and community workers to identify the things that your community could benefit from, and that your company is ideally positioned to assist with.
When you’ve done your homework on what your community needs, try to come up with a creative way in which your business can contribute. Donations are fantastic, but they represent only one possible way to help. You might like to roll up your sleeves and encourage your team to help out in a more active way.
You could also hold a community festival or fund-raising event, raising awareness for a particular issue. While the focus of the event will be on the issue at hand, don’t be afraid to display your business branding material in the form of tear-drop banner flags.
While it might feel a little strange to display banners with your company logo, it’s important to let your community know that you’re willing to show up for them and do your bit. This is a great way to show them that you are not solely interested in your own bottom line, but you’re also here to support locals and contribute to your community.
Research shows that potential customers are more likely to support businesses that demonstrate that they care about issues that are close to their hearts. A whopping 99% of people will choose to buy from a charity-supporting company, over a business that keeps all of their proceeds.
Focus on Local Advertising Mediums and SEO
If your business model depends on tender in the local area, it is absolutely essential that your business comes up in local search results. Poor SEO could be one of the ways your business may be failing without you knowing.
Ensure that your company is on all the local business listings out there, prioritizing those that locals tend to favor in your area. Determine which site will be most effective for your company, and put most of your energy into search engine optimization for that particular site. But don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
In addition to listing your website on Google (the obvious choice) you might have success with websites such as Bing, Yelp, LinkedIn, and even Foursquare. Tip: Search for your competitors’ websites, and see where they have listed their businesses. At the very least, you should cover those same bases, making sure no competitor gets an edge over your company.
Ask Customers and Clients for Reviews
“Word of Mouth” might sound old fashioned when it comes to marketing strategies, but research has shown that when your customers praise you and your product or service, it’s regarded as more trustworthy than your own marketing material, regardless of how compelling and creative your advertising efforts.
Other research points to the importance of verifiable experiences and opinions in consumer decisions. Whatever market you’re trying to crack, seeking out customer reviews is a sure-fire to generate brand trust. When it comes to accumulating reviews, it’s important to adhere to a few best practices.
Firstly, do not pay for them, as these tend to stand out and put customers off, rather than reassure them, and can do damage to your brand. What you can do is actively request and solicit genuine reviews from your customers, emphasizing that you’re looking for sincere customer feedback. Not only will sincere feedback improve your brand’s reputation locally, but it will help you improve your service.
Having your review section front-and-center on your website is an effective way to encourage customer feedback online, or you could solicit feedback through email. Remember to prioritize quality over quantity: one or two negative reviews will quickly sour your brand’s reputation.
But if you do get a negative comment, it’s well worth treating the negative review as an opportunity to reach out to a customer and make their experience better. Listening attentively to their grievance, and making an effort to rectify the situation can be one of the most effective marketing tools you have at your disposal.
The centrality of networking for success and advancement business is hardly a new concept, but showing up at a not-so-relevant gathering can be the last thing you feel like after a day of hard grind, especially when the pay-off for all that social effort is by no means guaranteed. As the head of a company, you will be well aware that time is money. You can’t afford to spend hours on networking with no guarantee that it will pay off in concrete business terms.
That doesn’t mean you should give up networking events altogether. Rather, be selective about the local networking events that you attend. Before you decide to RSVP ‘yes’, do your homework on the event to ensure that it will present the types of opportunities you’re looking for. If your target audience is not going to be there, don’t go.
Remember, less is more when it comes to networking. Rather than show up for a quick meet and greet every evening, you’ll be more connected and better equipped to make the most of networking opportunities if you only attend a couple of events per month.
If you’re just becoming established in the business world, getting your brand out there on the local stage is as important as ever. These tips will help you promote your business in your community.
Expand and Get a New Address
A new address can be a fresh start for your business. A head office in a high profile area can draw lots of attention. Even just a new phone number can do wonders. You can do this without the high cost by using a virtual office. Find a property that will help you meet the goals for your business, maintain your brand, and is cost-effective.
Want to have a presence overseas? Your Virtual Offices are a great and economical way. Customers will often look for companies close to where they live. By having a virtual office in their area, they may be more likely to do business with you.
Work with Your Neighbor
Marketing can be expensive for a small business. But banding together can help you scale and lower your costs. In a local strip mall? Work with the other businesses to take out a full-page ad or TV spot. It will draw attention to your area and increase foot traffic.
Look to partner up with more established businesses, hold events, or setup a referral network. By working together, you can streamline your operations and lower costs. Look at businesses that complement yours. Sell shoes? Look for stores that sell socks and other accessories that you can team up with. Helping each other will magnify each other’s presence.
Increasing the presence of your business will take time. You can shorten that time period by connecting with consumers through the use of an engaging story, expanding your locations, and working with other businesses!