7 Local Business Marketing Tips You Need to Know

40 years ago it was enough for a local business owner to place an ad in the Yellow Pages and have a few business cards made up.

Marketing has changed drastically over the decades, especially with the invention of the internet. There are now myriad marketing options to choose from.

The best part is that with a little creativity, many marketing strategies are actually cost-effective. Especially when the result of that strategy is more customers through the door.To help business owners stay one step ahead of their competition, here are seven local business marketing tips.

1. Clearly Define the Niche Market

Not everyone is an ideal customer. Even if the business is a local grocery store. Some customers might prefer a store like Costco where they can buy in bulk and save money. Other customers might enjoy shopping at a grocery store that only stocks organic foods. It's a waste of time, effort, and money to advertise to everyone.

And while it might seem as though a business is losing out on potential business, the opposite is true. When a business targets their niche market, they are targeting the people most likely to buy from them. Which means a higher rate of conversion for the business at a lower cost.

Spend some time getting to know who the customers. There's a reason customers are attracted to a specific business. Find out who they are. See what they have in common.

Perhaps the business attracts people who love comic books. Maybe there's a certain income level that's more likely to buy a product or service.The more that's known about the customer base, the easier it is to locate them. Once a business knows where to look, local business marketing is easy.Knowing the audience also helps personalize sales and marketing messages. Customers are more likely to respond to a personalized message than a generic one.

2. Use E-Mail Marketing

By the year 2020, three billion people worldwide will have access to e-mail. That's a lot of potential business. But e-mail marketing goes much further. It's incredibly affordable. The ROI (return on investment) is for every $1 spent, a business can expect to earn $38. It's also easy to use. All a business needs to do is to set up a way to collect e-mail addresses. After that, it's a matter of creating great content.

Use e-mail as a part of local business marketing. Share interesting tidbits about local customs. Highlight some favorite customers who are well known in the town. Just make sure that e-mail marketing is done on a regular basis. It's imperative to keep creating new content. Not only does it keep customers interested and engaged, but search engines also like seeing new content.

3. Branding the Business Boosts Local Business Marketing

Unless the business has designed a new product or service, the chances are that there is some competition out there. Even if the business is local, many products are available online. It's also possible for customers to choose to travel further if they prefer one business over another.

One way to ensure customers separate one business from another is to create a brand. Branding builds name recognition. It also creates a level of trust between the business and the customer. Think about Coca-Cola and Pepsi. These are two companies who supply the public with similar products. Yet, they both have an extremely loyal customer base. A fan base who is happily going out there and marketing the business for both companies.

And while it's useful for national companies, branding is also beneficial as a local business marketing strategy. That's because branding also helps a company get to know who they are and what they stand for. This helps create a more solid company internally. Branding isn't just about a tagline. It's how a company answers their phone. It's the dress code or uniforms they wear. Branding helps define the values a company has. And that, in turn, allows the company to share their values with their customers.

4. Optimize the Business Website with Keywords

Over 80% of customers perform an online search before they make a purchase. It doesn't matter if they are planning on buying something online or are trying to figure out which local restaurant to try next. Which is why it's so important to use the right keywords for effective local business marketing. One way to do this is to use keyword data for larger, similar regions. A business can create location-specific pages and posts. The company can then center those around more expansive regional keywords.

Another way to find great keywords to use in local business marketing is to let Google autosuggest assist. Other sites like Moz and KWFinder can also help create long-tail keywords for the business website. As more users turn to mobile devices and are performing voice-activated searches, the search terms are changing. They are sounding more like natural phrases most people use in conversation rather than the formal terms applied to brands and products. All that's needed for Google autosuggest to help is to type in the business name, service offering, product name, or another descriptive label. Don't forget to include a hyper-local keyword to help locals find the business.

5. Get On Social Media

Social media isn't just for teenagers. And since there are plenty of social media sites out there, it's easy to find at least one or two to join. Go through the major social media sites. See what they're about.

Some social media sites are more geared towards B2B companies. Others tend to be geared towards the general public. Once the brand has been created, a profile on a few sites should be created. The brand should be visible throughout the profile. But don't stop there. Social media is a great way to reach out to local customers. It's an easy way to do some local business marketing for free. Even if a business chooses to invest in advertising on social media, it's extremely cost-effective.

A business can place an advertisement on Facebook for as little as $1 per day. And it's easy to find local people. Most social media sites let people find others through geo-location.

Connect with Other Locals

A business can also use social media to connect with other local businesses. In fact, it's a great way for local companies to help one another out. Share tips other local companies are posting. Leave a positive review about their business on their page. Start a group for businesses nearby to help one another with local business marketing strategies. Team up for joint marketing efforts. That way, both parties can pool together their resources for a much higher ROI.

6. Host an Event

A local store gives the owner a bit of an advantage. The owner has the ability to meet people in person. But during business hours, if a store is busy, it's not always possible to chat at length with customers. And unless a new customer comes in the store, there's no way to meet them face-to-face. Which is why hosting an event is such a great idea. It's a good way to network with other business people and local customers.

The event can be a charity fundraiser. As a sponsor of the fundraiser, a business has the opportunity to get involved in a good cause while marketing their business at the same time. Another idea is to throw an event at the store. It's local business marketing at its best. If the event is fun and interesting enough, it will entice local people who may not already be customers to come to the store.While they're in the store, potential customers have the opportunity to see what the store sells. They can meet the staff and owner and establish new relationships. It's also an opportunity for to provide an experience they won't forget. While it might not turn everyone into an instant customer, hosting an event will get the town talking.

7. Get Testimonials

Testimonials can help make a business successful. It's the online version of word-of-mouth which has been the bread and butter of local business marketing since the first business was established. Testimonials help to build trust for a company. They also help create a story about a business. Get people talking about the business. Ask customers to leave testimonials on the website after they make a purchase.

If the customer walks into the shop, ask if they'd be willing to leave a testimonial before they go. Try using video for testimonials. It works great on social media and websites. It's also possible to use both written and video testimonials within the store. The testimonials could be written on the walls as engaging artwork. A tv can have video testimonials running in the store all day long.

Join the Chamber of Commerce

Don't just hide in the store all day long. Get out and start meeting people locally. One way to do that is to join the local chamber of commerce. It's a great way to meet other business owners, refer business, and build lasting relationships.

The chamber of commerce is local business marketing at its best. Don't wait to join a community of like-minded business owners. Take a look at our member directory to see who else has already joined.