As a startup or small business, you should never ignore the importance of marketing to your local community. There’s no question that
Here are a few strategies you can start with:
#1. Promote Through Community Events
In each community, there should be tons of opportunities to get the local market’s attention. One way to expose your brand to the masses is to attend local events – be it a health fair, trade show, or even a local festival. But rather than simply showing up, you need to a strategy that will align your brand with the event’s subject. For example, if there is a local health awareness event, highlight how your company handles workplace health and safety. If possible, spread your message through branded freebies such as t-shirts, pens, or cellphone covers.
If there are no local events scheduled in the foreseeable future, consider launching one yourself with the help of other local businesses or an influential guest speaker. Doing so will help you save costs and attract more attendees. You can also spread your event through social media to maximize the exposure you will get.
#2. Donate Freebies as Contest Prizes
In addition to participating in events, you can also raise brand awareness by donating freebies as prizes in various contests. For example, if you run a bookstore, you can offer books or gift certificates to a spelling bee contest in a local elementary school. If you sell sporting goods, then be on the lookout for local competitions that are open for prize donations.
A straightforward way to find local contests is to perform a quick Google search that includes the keywords “contest” and your city name. Also refer to local newspapers, radio stations, magazines, malls, and school websites.
#3. Pick the Right Office Location
Not a lot of B2B and tech startups pay attention to their physical office’s location. After all, most new companies prefer to build a brand remotely because it’s less costly and more manageable for smaller teams. As a result, they miss out on huge advantages such as the ability to seek mentorship, develop fruitful partnerships, hire skilled jobseekers, and obtain funding from local VCs.
If you desire to move to a better location, a more economical way is to opt for shared office spaces. Apart from visual appeal that is useful for reputation building, other considerations in picking an office space includes contract flexibility, size, maintenance services, and the presence of accelerators or incubators. Lastly, make sure that your physical office is accessible to you and your employees. You can make exemptions by allowing some remote work, but as much as possible, you should require physical attendance—at least occasionally—for a tightly-knit company culture.
#4. Advertise with Other Local Brands
No startup can survive in a competitive industry by itself. Upon settling to a new location, be sure to scout the area for prospective business partners. Understand their services and the type of traffic they attract to determine if you can work with them in promoting each other’s brand.
For example, if you develop a productivity app, you can partner with a local gadget store so they can spread your software through promo codes with every smartphone purchase. To return the favor, offer discount coupons or gift certificates that are redeemable at the gadget store. Of course, this example won’t apply to all startups. You need to spot similar opportunities where you and your prospective partner can benefit from each other’s foot traffic.
#5. Print Advertising
Launching a print advertising campaign can be time-consuming and costly, but it can lead to massive success when executed correctly. Remember that there are several ad opportunities you can utilize depending on your current location – from newspapers to yellow pages. With a small budget, the space for your ad would probably be limited, which is why you must go big in terms of design, relevance, and emotional impact.
Apart from traditional print ad channels, make sure your walk-in customers find your online content by optimizing your in-store materials. For this, simply include your Facebook username, Twitter handle, or blog URL in printed materials – be it product packaging or posters.
To make it even more convenient for visitors to find you, you can utilize a QR code generator like GoQR or QR Stuff. With QR codes, visitors only need to scan with their phones to be taken straight to your site.
#6. Advertise Your Location Online
Ultimately, you need a mix of offline and online strategies to bring people to your business. To bring more people to your building, make sure your physical location is visible online. A good strategy is to take advantage of free marketing channels such as your company blog and social media pages to bring more walk-in customers to your location.
You can also leverage the appropriate “finder” app that can lead potential customers to your brand. For example, restaurants can upload their information on sites like Zomato, while general startups can leverage a review site like Yelp. To make your business more searchable in Google apps, particularly on Search and Maps, you can enlist your company for free on Google My Business.
#7. Create SnapChat Geofilters
Another way to be found by online users is to let social media influencers do the talking. By leveraging SnapChat Geofilters, you encourage the local market to visit your location and share about your brand in social media. It works by enabling exclusive filters whenever the user is near your physical business location.
Big companies like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Starbucks have launched similar campaigns in the past with great success. With a little creativity, you should be able to replicate their results as long as your Geofilter aligns with your brand and is appropriate for social media sharing.
Taking the Next Step
Remember that a solid brand requires a comprehensive marketing strategy that involves both offline and online techniques. To learn more on how to balance these two components, you can refer to this post on how to integrate online and offline marketing campaigns.