Starting, maintaining and growing a local business is certainly no cake walk. Depending on your industry and backing, the budget might be tenuous at best – and that can make being your boss often feel more like being your own boss, assistant, manager and trainee all at once.
It can be exhausting! Even so, there are some areas of your business you should always prioritise, no matter your product or service. Namely, marketing. Regardless of your funds, marketing is always vital. It’s the lifeblood of any upcoming company, and, in most cases, all it can take is a little time and effort. No expensive TV ads needed here. We have the internet, after all.
Here’s your guide to the world of online retail, advertisement and development.
Get Known: Social Media
As a local business, your cheapest and easiest way of engaging with customers is via the platforms we all use every day: social media. Companies both big and small – and those starting small and getting larger – can benefit from such a presence on the web. If you’ve got a Facebook page already, spruce it up! Photos of your restaurant, invention or product are always good; updates on your current campaigns, teasers for future developments – every little helps. And if you haven’t got such a page, make one! In half a day or less, you’ll have a free webpage set up with vital info and contact information for all and any prospective clients.
It’s not just Facebook, either. Ever heard of the food selfie trend? Get an Instagram account and popularity culture is your bakery or ice cream parlour’s free advertising just like that. Then there’s Twitter. Plenty of public transport services use Twitter to work with frustrated
travellers for example, and even big brand names like Tesco or Subway have hires on hand to assist whenever tagged or messaged. If you’re a particularly innovative business or have unique experience in your field, you might also consider an AMA on Reddit, where interested folks can create a live Q&A and raise awareness of your brand. This might not work for a local building company, but a self-published author could definitely gather traction.
Identify the best websites for you and then make your presence known. It’s quick, easy and well worth the time in later profit.
The Blog Spotlight
So you’re on social media; this website, that page and so on. People who know your business can keep tabs and people who don’t can get curious. Excellent – but there’s plenty more that can be done to fuel the growth and eventual profit of your company, no matter the size. How about making a separate website of your own, for example? No need to do it all yourself; there are companies like Squarespace that will assist along the way to make every Google search from a potential client count. Sooner or later, you’ll have a polished outlet in your business’ name, and even then there’s more you can do.
These days, blogs are for everyone. Cooking blogs, food blogs, beauty blogs, and you could have one of your own on your website. That way, there’s content present to show off your product or service in an entertaining and informative way, rather than just a simple ‘About Us,’ or ‘Booking’ section. The First Team Real Estate blog posts answers to common home-buyer questions as well as updates on their company progress. The Betway website offers infographics and rundowns on topics of all kinds on their blog, from lucky number reviews to a look at the world’s billionaires. Your business website doesn’t have to be dull. It can be dynamic, colourful and full of content, too, like the both of those are. Just look at Nancy McClelland: her blog, The Dancing Accountant, might be about numbers of all things, but it’s varied, articulate and clear. It even has eco energy-saving tips for small businesses!
Write about what you know and the customers will come.
Your Target Audience
Last but not least, a little tip towards targeted advertising. Your own website and a social media presence is all well and good, but those outlets will likely only reach pre-interested or curious parties. In order to grow that group in the first place, you may have to invest somewhat. Big name companies like Google and Facebook can offer advertising services on an affordable level, even for a smaller-end business. Pick an age range, an area, a demographic and then give the go-ahead for the ad roll-out. Your local business will be shown to all those relevant parties who may be interested and brand awareness will rise.
Another thing to consider is sponsorship. Could you get on a local radio station, perhaps, or a local sports team? Even million dollar brands like HP computers go in for targeted sponsorship, with their offshoot gaming branch Omen involved in many a grassroots show and podcast.
The point is, find your target audience and let them know you exist! Your local business is worth it, and you’ll likely see a rise in interest in no time.