Marketing tips: 5 simple ways to market a small business locally

written by Sarah Colgate

Business Tips for 2024 | Helpful tips for tourism operators

May 28, 2023

I am asked regularly what marketing is? My family and friends often ask  “What do you actually do?” Both good questions and understandable seem as though not many people seem to know exactly what marketing is.  Also I realise now that many business owners don’t really know what marketing is either or how it can help their business. Therefore I will clarify that for everyone today and then you will be able to see how marketing can help you and your business.

My definition of marketing is:

  1. Identifying the ideal customer for a product or service. The ideal customer is someone who sees value in the product or service.
  2. Then connecting and engaging with the ideal customer to communicate the value and benefits of the product or service.

The key components of marketing include;

  • Market research
  • Market segmentation and targeting
  • Product positioning and marketing messages
  • Branding
  • Advertising
  • Sales and distribution
  • Pricing
  • Customer relationship management. 

All of these elements work together to create effective marketing campaigns that reach the ideal customers, differentiate products or services from competitors, build brand awareness and loyalty and drive customer acquisition and retention.

So when I tell people that I have my own marketing company and they look at me with a vague empty look. I need to say “ I help business owners promote their products and services, get more customers, sell more shit and make more money.” That’s pretty much what I do.

So where to start with marketing

Here are five simple ways to market a small business locally. You can do these yourself or you can give me a call and I will do them for you. 

1) Create a website

I still feel after 15 or so years of working with websites business owners don’t value them enough. A website is essential for every small business, whether you are selling products online or promoting your services. Websites provide a platform for potential customers to learn about your business, services and products. It’s like having a sales person promoting you 24 hours a day / 7 days a week. 

Ensure that your website is useful for your potential customers, give them exactly what they need and make it easy for them to buy from you or get in touch with you. 

Some suggestions for pages and content for your website:

  • Products or Services page. Outline exactly what you are offering. Use images, bullet points and ensure you break up the content so people are not reading pages and pages of text. 
  • About Us / About Me page. Tell your customers who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it. Share your store, share your passion and give people a reason to buy from you as opposed to your competitors. 
  • Contact Us/ Contact Me page. Tell people how you want them to engage with you. How you want them to contact you.
  • Testimonials / Reviews page. It’s important to show potential customers what you have done before. How you have helped others by providing you products or services. Have some pictures that go along with your testimonials or reviews. Ensure they are real. Don’t make up testimonials or reviews. Use existing ones or reach out to current customers and ask them for a testimonial that you can post on your website.
  • Home Page. Include a brief introduction, show your products/services, a testimonial and contact info. So people who just need the summarised version can get exactly what they need quickly. 

2) Leverage Social Media

Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin and Tik Tok as tools to reach your ideal local customers. Create social media accounts for your business and share quality engaging content that resonates with your target audience. Use local hashtags and join local groups to increase your visibility and reach.

Your social media content doesn’t need to be you pushing your products down the throats of your ideal audience. Create content that provides helpful information, education and entertainment. Don’t take yourself too seriously and be prepared to respond to comments and shares of your posts.  My suggestion is to be as authentic as you possibly can. 

Here are some tips for Facebook that you might find helpful:

  • Use engaging visuals: Eye-catching images or videos can grab attention and increase engagement with your posts. Use high-quality visuals that are relevant to your brand or the message you want to convey.
  • Informative and educational content: Sharing valuable information, tips, or how-to guides can be highly appreciated by your audience. It positions you as an authority in your field and encourages people to interact with your posts.
  • Storytelling: People  love stories, so incorporating storytelling into your Facebook posts can be highly effective. Share personal anecdotes, customer success stories, or narratives that resonate with your audience.
  • User-generated content: Encourage your followers to share their experiences, photos, or reviews related to your products or services. User-generated content can create a sense of community and authenticity, and it often leads to higher engagement. This is easier to do in some industries than others. So I suggest you give customers your social handles so they know how to tag your business. 
  • Contests and giveaways: Running contests or giveaways can boost engagement and reach on your Facebook page. People love the opportunity to win something, so consider offering prizes or exclusive discounts to encourage participation.
  • Behind-the-scenes content: Offering a glimpse into your company’s culture or behind-the-scenes processes can humanize your brand and create a stronger connection with your audience. Share photos, videos, or stories that showcase the people/your team  and values behind your business.
  • Interactive content: Facebook has interactive features like polls, quizzes, or live videos. Leveraging these features can increase engagement and get people involved and participating.

Try a few things and see what works for your business and your customers.

3) Offer promotions, value add or  discounts

Offering promotions, value adds and discounts to customers can help attract new customers and retain existing customers. 

I don’t actually believe in discounts. It’s proven that you need to have a substantial increase in business just to cover the profit you have given away on a discount. For example, if you discount 20% and your profit margin is 30% you need to get 200% sales growth to cover that discount. So before you go discounting, work out how many new customers you need at a lower price just to cover your costs and remain profitable. 

However, I do believe in adding value and creating promotions to attract new customers. Look at what you can give a customer that adds massive value but doesn’t cost that much to provide. Something like a free gift with purchase or an additional service when you buy the first one. An example would be a free digital photo pack – valued at $50. This may just be two green screen photos that cost you about $5 to print and sell at $25 per photo. 

Or let’s say you are offering services, you could potentially offer all new customers during May a free digital marketing audit or a free ebook to help with social media management.  Add value that is helpful to your customers and easy for you to provide at a low cost.

Consider partnering with other local businesses to create joint promotions or offer exclusive deals to customers who refer friends and family. An option I am working with at the moment is, if someone books 3 nights accommodation at our clients hotel they will receive FREE whale watching to the value of $119 per person. This is a gift of significant value and helps with business during winter months.

4) Attend local events

Attending local events like trade shows, festivals, and fairs is an excellent way to showcase your business to a local audience. Consider setting up a booth, handing out samples, or offering special promotions to event attendees.

Let’s say your business hosts kids parties. There are loads of kids at school fairs and fetes. Set up a stall and promote your business. It may cost you a couple of hundred dollars for the stand and wages but you may end up with 20 birthday parties. 

While you are there run a competition, give everyone a chance to win a $500 birthday party if they enter. You collect their details and end up with a healthy database of warm leads. 

5) Utilise local directories

Online directories, the digital version of the yellow pages. The biggest ones are Google and Yelp, they can help your business appear in local search results and direct thousands of people to your business everyday. Ensure that your business information is up-to-date, including your address, phone number, and hours of operation. Even post on these platforms regularly to get more traffic and attention. Encourage customers to leave reviews on these platforms to improve your local search ranking.

Also look for industry specific directories, where you may be able to pay a small fee to have your business listed. The best way to find industry specific ones is to Google your competitors and see where they are listed or other big successful businesses in your industry.

These are just a few quick tips to help you market your business. If you need help, I would love to help you. Please give me a call today 0491 729 043  

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