Setting up a business in the local community can be very rewarding, but not without its challenges, so it’s important to be prepared. You need to ensure you successfully spread good word of mouth through both your efforts at your brick-and-mortar premises and online. Building brand awareness is key and you also need to focus on marketing your business as local, so that yours will be the first choice when people are searching for the products or services you offer near them. With a bit of know-how and organization, you can get your local business off the ground. Here are twelve tips to get you started.
Set up a Google My Business page
Google My Business is purposefully designed to help local businesses get established. For this reason, it’s essential to set up a page and optimize this. You need to ensure you provide potential customers with plenty of information, professional photos, positive reviews and more. It’s also important to optimize your copy for keywords. These are the types of words and phrases people will search for when looking for the types of products or services you provide. Here are some useful Google My Business optimization tips.
Understand your lease agreement
If you’re leasing a commercial premises you need to make sure your responsibility and the landlord’s are outlined clearly in the contract. For example, if you want to carry out any maintenance or changes to the building, you need to specify this. A company that deals with Tenant Finishing can help you understand the tenant improvements available to you.
Boost your curb appeal
If you’re about to open a brick-and-mortar store, salon, studio, office, or catering establishment, it’s important to boost your business curb appeal. This means improving the look of your storefront to make it as attractive as possible to passers by and interested customers. Increase your foot traffic with cleverly designed signage, front landscaping, window displays, and more. Decluttering the exterior and giving it a lick of paint can go a long way as well. Design your decor with your target customers in mind and always ensure brand consistency.
Optimize your website
It’s not just about making your local premises look great, you’ll also need a top-notch website. The majority of your business will likely come from online searches so you’ll need to optimize your website for local SEO. This means that when potential customers search for particular products or services in a specific location, your website will be one of the first options that comes up. Search engine algorithms are also heavily focussed on engagement and user experience so you need to optimize your site for these.
Do keyword research
Keyword research is an integral part of a local SEO strategy. It’s advisable to invest in the right technology such as keyword research tools and other analytical tools to help you understand the success of certain keywords. These will help you improve the effectiveness of your website, Google My Business account, social media, advertising, and all other marketing material.
Post local content
It’s important to make your business appear as local, to the search engine bots as well as potential customers. Include plenty of local content on your website and other online platforms. You could post local news about events or other businesses, or refer to nearby landmarks, or areas of interest. This will help the search engines put together a clearer picture of your business and associate it with your chosen location. Businesses with various locations create separate landing pages per area for this reason.
Get involved in the local community
You could also raise brand awareness by getting involved in the local community. Find out if there are any local events you can get involved in such as markets and festivals. You could even organize humanitarian work and get affiliated with local charities. This would help to boost your reputation and you’ll have the opportunity to network with many local people and businesses. Look for causes that will resonate with your target audience according to common values and lifestyle choices. Here are a few more tips on how to get your business involved in the local community.
Consider collaborative marketing
Collaborative marketing is when two like-minded businesses work together to increase brand exposure. You could plan events together, either in the local community or virtually. You can also advertise each other’s products or services in your premises. There are several benefits of collaborative marketing. It’s a great way for new startups to network and make connections. You can also share resources which is ideal if you don’t have a huge marketing budget. The idea of collaborative marketing is that it’s win-win, and both parties benefit. Find a business that is either similar to yours or relevant in some way. For instance, if you run a catering business you could work with an agency that organizes events.
Be active on social media
It’s essential to be active on social media. Many consumers will research a brand on social media before investing so you need to optimize your profile. Post regularly and engage with followers. Encourage them to reshare your content by offering small incentives such as discounts and freebies. You could even consider working with influencers. People are much more likely to choose a brand if it’s been recommended by someone they know or respect. Ideally, you want to leverage as much user-generated content as possible on social media as this will help to build trust. Check out this guide on how to use social media for your small business with more tips and ideas.
Promote your grand opening
Your grand opening is the perfect opportunity for extra promotion. You can hold a small event or party. Offer discounts and freebies to entice new customers. You should invest time and money into advertising your grand opening ahead of time. This could include email marketing campaigns with discount vouchers, social media posting, and you could even dedicate a landing page to the event on your website. There are also fun things you can do on the day if you have the resources, such as a workshop or interactive activities. Here are a few more tips for a successful grand opening.
Boost brand consistency
Don’t neglect the importance of brand consistency across all your marketing materials. You need to clearly reflect the personality of your brand in both your brick-and-mortar store and online. This means mirroring the same colors, slogans, and logos. Advertise the same offers and discounts in-store that you have on your website. Whichever products or services you offer, the experience you’re selling is what’s important. Your brand needs to create a certain feeling in your customers and this needs to be consistent in all your marketing efforts. This will help to reinforce brand awareness and give your business more credibility.
Get those referrals
Good word of mouth is essential for local businesses so put plenty of effort into getting referrals. This could be through an email marketing campaign, for instance, where you offer existing customers a discount in exchange for recommending a friend. You can also use social media for referral campaigns. Here is the ultimate guide to referral marketing. Being a local business, you can also take advantage of other tactics such as giving out tangible items such as loyalty cards and customized items to trusted customers. These may even get seen around and about. Find as many channels as possible to boost your brand exposure both online and in your local neighborhood.