Why focus on local area marketing?
There are advantages to finding new customers close to home — the cost of communicating with and meeting these customers will be lower. By working with local customers you will lower your environmental impact by not having to travel so far for meetings and making deliveries.
Here, we explore seven ways you can expand your local market at minimal cost
Get out and meet your neighbours
Most communities offer a number of local networking events. These might be organised by your chamber of commerce, city councils or business referral groups such as Business Network International (BNI). Check your local newspaper and local government websites for information on these events.
Share your expertise
If you are in a service business or marketing to other businesses, you can organise a workshop or seminar that is of interest to current and potential customers in your local area. This is a way to share your knowledge, enhance your reputation, get your name out in a friendly and informal way, and boost your local area marketing.
If your topic or expertise is of general interest, volunteer to speak to business and community groups. These groups are always looking for interesting speakers, so you have a good chance of getting on the program if you have the right topic. If you choose the workshop or public speaking options, don’t turn them into sales presentations. By sharing your organisation’s knowledge on a topic of interest to the audience, whether business people or consumers, you are indirectly promoting your business while reaching your target market.
Of course, when speaking at public events there’s nothing wrong with mentioning your business as long as it’s relevant to the topic. Information about your company can also be included in the written introduction you submit to the person who will introduce you.
Attend local trade fairs
Businesses and consumers like to purchase from their neighbours. Local trade fairs are an ideal place to meet local business people and consumers who are looking for new suppliers. Contact your local chamber of commerce or council to find out what events are planned in your area.
Open your doors
Hold an open house and invite local business people to your premises. You can use a direct mail to find and deliver invitations or advertise in your local newspaper. A tour of your location or a short presentation during the event will help people understand what you do and how you can help them. At the same time, you will be taking a big step to improve your local area marketing.
Get found online to boost your local area marketing
If you search online using keywords for your type of product and service by location, does your business come up in the search engine results? If not, there are several things you can do so that people can find you. One is to register with Google Maps. Using this free service will increase your chances of coming up on search results when people are looking online for your product or service by location. When signing up for your listing, be sure to include the relevant keywords that potential customers would use to search for you.
There are also many free online business directories where potential customers can search by location. Type ‘online business directory’ in Google and you will find several of these. Most offer a free basic listing, with the option to pay for an enhanced one. Again, it’s important to use the right keywords in your company description to ensure that you will come up when people are searching for what you offer.
With the rise of social media, businesses must get involved to succeed in local area marketing. On Facebook, for example, you can join local business groups such as buy and sell groups and local noticeboards. People who belong to these groups will often seek advice and ask for recommendations for a range of local products and services. By getting involved in local groups and directories, you will be able to interact with potential customers in your target market.
To learn more about marketing, go to A Short Guide to Small Business Marketing.