As a small business owner, you look for every opportunity to get ahead. But there may be one angle that you’re missing: your location. According to a study reported in Media Post, 30 percent of shoppers say if all things were equal, they would choose local over national brands “always” or “most of the time.” As a small business owner, you can tap into the desire for local products and services by catering your marketing techniques. We’ve compiled a list of best practices to give your store the local advantage.
Think Local For SEO
Today, customers looking for products and services instantly grab their smartphones and search online. That’s why using the power of local search engine optimization (SEO) is so important. Search engines cater searches to customer preferences, so putting your business on the map locally could add to your online and in-person traffic.
To optimize your site’s traffic locally, first create a list of local keywords that could apply to your business. Try including your city, neighborhood, shopping centers in your area or even your street name. Next, incorporate these keywords into your SEO efforts by adding them into blog headers, social media posts, or other places on your website. For more on how to improve your small business’s SEO, read our Small Business Owners 5 Minute Guide to Unlocking SEO. With local SEO improvements, you can capture customers searching for “clothing in the Forest Hills shopping center”, “best contractors in Webster Groves” or whatever search best fits your business.
Another local advantage is Geo-targeting. This marketing method uses GPS information from customers’ mobile devices to send ads and promotional messages to customers based on their location. You can target Google, Bing, Facebook and Twitter ads to specific locations to send offers to people near your business—or those near your competition’s store to lure them away. To learn more about this targeting tactic on Facebook, check out this guide to Facebook’s Advanced Location Targeting.
Get involved in Community Business Organizations
Some of the most successful local businesses are those who are most involved in their community. You can make your business part of the conversation by attending groups with your local Chamber of Commerce and similar business organizations. This can help you to make valuable connections and discover new ideas, resources and partnerships for your business.
Give Back to the Community
Is your business’s customer base passionate about a certain cause? Do your business’s values align with a certain community group? You can boost your business and give back through cause marketing. In fact, customers are more likely to purchase from or contract with those who participate in community and local organizations. A recent Unilever Consumer Study found that 33% of consumers are now choosing to buy from brands that they believe are doing social or environmental good. Further, 74% of employees say that their job is more fulfilling when they make a positive impact. If you communicate your involvement with a charitable event or association, your customers and employees will see your business as one that cares.
If you’re looking for a way to work with a local organization or cause, one great option is to provide a promotion in which a portion of sales will go to a specific group. The same Unilever study found that 72% of consumers have donated to a charity while checking out at the register, and 65% of consumers felt positively about the retailer after giving. If you choose to participate in cause marketing, you can boost your sales and improve your brand while giving to a great cause.
Partner with Other Business Owners
Wherever your business is located—in a shopping area, neighborhood or home—there are most likely other retailers and small businesses nearby. You can benefit from teaming up with a local business related to your industry (but not a direct competitor) for a joint project. You could use your partnership to hold a special event or get together in an online webinar or promotional giveaway. For example, a local sidewalk sale or open house featuring your business and others in your area could broaden the reach of your marketing and help you increase your chances of catching customers’ attention.
Use your small business’s location to tap into the local market and gain valuable customers. By incorporating just a few of these techniques, you can put your business on the local map.