Local businesses are facing competition that’s as steep as ever.
According to the Small Business Administration, there are about 28 million businesses in the United States, competing not only with each other but with larger corporations that will always have more money to spend on advertising and promotions.
That’s why in order to survive, small businesses have to be craftier than ever in coming up with ways to promote their business that provide a continuous stream of new customers.
Luckily, advances in technology allow businesses to reach audiences that were unattainable just a couple of decades ago. Combining both new and old marketing approaches can help smaller companies to reach their target audience and carve out a place even in the most competitive niches.
To help you get started, here are five ways that you can start using today to promote your business and increase sales.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is the buzzword in the business world that just doesn’t go away, and there’s a good reason for that – if done the right way, it brings excellent results. Having a presence on Facebook and Twitter can help you engage your target audience and reach customers that would otherwise never find out about your existence.
What’s more, social media allows to create conversations around your brand and provides more personal customer support without the need for huge resources.
Listening in on the conversations that your audience is having on social media can also help to gain a much better understanding of their problems and help to provide better solutions. And if you create engaging content around your brand, it can help you grow a following that will be loyal to your brand for years to come.
Be Visible on Search Engines
According to Google, four out of five people use search engines to look up a local business. That means that if you’re not visible online, your company might as well not exist in the eyes of about 80 percent of your prospective leads.
Now, the good news is that you don’t have to pay an SEO agency thousands of dollars to make your company visible online.
In fact, there are simple steps that you can take today to make your business appear in the relevant searches on Google and other search engines without breaking the bank.
The first and easiest step you could take is to list your company in the most popular online business directories such as Yelp or Yellow Pages. It only takes a few minutes, and it will make your business appear in the search engines whenever someone is looking for services in your area.
Another essential step is claiming your business on the Google My Business. If you set it up correctly and follow Google’s recommendations, you can even become one of the top places to come up on Google Maps.
Become Involved with the Community
Now, you don’t necessarily need to become full-time internet marketer to gain new leads – real-world efforts matter just as much, especially when you’re a local business.
A great way to ensure that you always have loyal customers is to become ingrained with the local community – if you build relationships in your area and become the go-to local option for your services, you might not even need a lot of advertising and could have plenty of customers come to you organically. Some local businesses achieve this without even trying and never have to worry about promoting themselves.
But not everyone is that lucky.
If you want to maximize your chances of success, you have to make an effort to become engaged with the local community – you could organize community events, sponsor local youth programs, or help out non-profit organizations.
Showing that you care about the neighborhood can make your business an integral part of the community and cement your place above all competition.
Use Old-School Advertising Spread Your Message
Some advertising methods are just as effective today as they were a century ago. For instance, using informative and appealing brochures and leaflets can be a great way to inform the local community of your business and immediately drive up sales.
And today it’s easier than ever to find amazing templates of folded leaflets for marketing that get your message across and highlight your promotions. Leaflets can be relatively cheap to produce and distribute, and they contain plenty of space to provide a lot of information about your business.
Just remember to take the time to make your promotional materials match the expectations of your target customers and emphasize the benefits that are important to them. If you want to promote use leaflets but are on a short budget, you can always partner up with another business and run a promotion together, cutting costs in the process.
Now, you probably shouldn’t do joint ventures with your direct competitors, but promotions with businesses that complement your services or target a similar audience can be very effective.