Last Updated: June 27, 2021
Have you gathered the courage (and enough money) to finally test the entrepreneurial waters, but are not sure how to promote your business locally to avoid the financial pitfall?
If so, don’t worry. In this article, we scatter any doubts, insecurities, and dilemmas. We provided nine simple steps to developing an effective marketing strategy for pitching up your ideas to a wider audience and their wallets, and we also put particular emphasis on the post-COVID-19 marketing sphere. Included are the perks of using promotional tools such as press releases and lead generation strategies.
Why Should You Consider Promoting Your Business Locally?
It is estimated that there are 28.8 million small businesses throughout the U.S. This means that once you get on the market, you’re in for a real treat – fighting competition to the end.
A local business that stays around for several decades is rare. Still, learning how to advertise your small business locally with no budget (or at least a limited budget) is an excellent way to reach a future goal.
Local marketing has two crucial virtues. First and foremost, building a reputation within your neighborhood is a step in the right direction to obtaining steady income for you and your employees, as well as a few need-based customers. However, since a flyer, brochure, or postcard are relics of the past, you need to become tech-savvy; a whopping 93% of customers look for small businesses online! Secondly, local businesses played an essential role in recovery from the recession in 2008, so it is reasonable to put faith in them to help the global economy after COVID-19.
DID YOU KNOW? Small business statistics are scary: only one-third of these companies will survive up to ten years, whereas the rest go bankrupt. That being said, finding the best way to advertise locally is indispensable for improving the odds of the survival of your business.
Nine Simple Steps for Promoting Your Business Locally
As promised, we’ve provided you with a comprehensive guide to developing a strategy to make your business stand out in the crowd. Consider undertaking the following steps:
Create and Verify a Google MyBusiness Profile
Everyone uses Google to search for things (sorry, Bing users, but “to bing something” isn’t included in dictionaries). Opening a Google MyBusiness profile allows you to get noticed and customers to write feedback. According to the Local Consumer Review Survey, 87% of Americans read customer reviews to decide whether to spend their money on local businesses.
Consider Google Ads
If you are prepared to set aside some extra bucks to promote your business online locally, Google ads are an efficient option. Such ads are visible right on the top of the search engine results page.
Create a Website
- The digital world of local marketing 101 begins with creating websites, yet 46% of small businesses don’t have a website at the time of online shopping. Profit from this percentage by rocking all search engines with a killer website containing contact info and relevant content.
- Be aware that the website loading time should not exceed three seconds since 25% of visitors will leave afterward. Top website builders can make sure that doesn’t happen.
Learn SEO Skills
Optimizing search engines for marketing purposes amounts to boosting traffic to your website or business blog. Start with finding locally distinctive terms and phrases, as well as posting customer-centralized and share-worthy content.
Turn to Social Media Channels (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Tiktok)
Promoting your business locally is nearly impossible without social media. This is an entirely free and straightforward marketing strategy, so “the more the merrier” should be your motto. Covering various social media platforms will demand differently customized content, requiring you to publish posts, photos, videos, or even animated pieces.
Develop a Loyalty Program
Rewarding customers and developing an alluring program to recruit more is a must for small businesses looking to avoid fizzling from the market. By creating these, you are creating a niche of consumers that you can count on.
Send Email Newsletters
Although emails may seem like an outdated promotional tool given the rise of social media, don’t underestimate newsletters. When nicely designed, they serve as reminders to your customers for any promotional activities or offers.
Actively Participate in Community Events
Some consider meeting customers in person and allowing them to communicate openly with you and your employees as the best way to advertise a small business locally. Barbecues, 5Ks, school dances, and graduations are great opportunities to raise brand awareness.
Organize and Contribute to Charity Events
Having a heart of gold is a desirable characteristic of every local business. Organizing charity events and donating to organizations will show that you are a socially responsible entrepreneur whom the community can rely on.
Consider Lead Generation Strategies
Lead Generation is an umbrella term for offline and online marketing strategies that should spark customers’ interest to buy products or purchase services. Leads are contact and demographic information about customers; these can stem from both non-paid and paid sources. The idea is to build a list of potential customers based on information gathered through sources.
Wondering how to promote your business locally by relying on leads? Common information is obtained through telemarketing, landing pages, local SEO, email newsletters, social media advertising, and participating in events. Be sure to check out our article on the best lead generation companies that could provide you with excellent tips for your small business.
Be aware that generating leads for small businesses can be expensive and challenging, which may easily increase spending. Most leads come at a price—whether you have to outsource or because qualified leads are both time and money-consuming—but when incentives and loyalty programs are added to the equation, you are on thin ice.
DID YOU KNOW? Emails still have a higher return on investment than other lead generation strategies. GetResponse reports the results of a survey on the best time to send marketing emails; the analysis of 4 billion emails suggests that the optimal time frame is between 10 am and 1 pm, while Tuesday has the highest open and click rates among weekdays.
Using Press Releases to Promote Your Business
The purpose of press release promotion is to spread the word about novel products, discounts, giveaways, or events to increase sales and generate leads. Press release distribution services are an efficient way to distribute newsworthy info to a broad audience. Of course, a local newspaper may not pick up your press release, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use social media channels to get needed coverage; you can also offer your press releases to business blogs and websites.
When issuing a press release, two critical things to bear in mind are timing and story. Your press release should be compelling, persuasive, and opportune; our articles on how to write a press release headline and the best time to send a press release are a must-read.
However, this is always a risky promotional tool. Your efforts can easily go under the radar of any news reporter or social media influencer if you don’t manage to step in the shoes of a PR for promoting your business locally.
DID YOU KNOW? A lot of press releases still end with strange figures like “–30–”. This is reminiscent of telegraph communications during the Civil War. The number 30 indicated “end” or “no more” and was used to avoid scrambling the telegraph lines. Another way that press releases say that is with ### or XXX.
How to Promote Your Business After COVID-19
The National Bureau for Economic Research reported in April 2020 that more than 100,000 small businesses closed due to COVID. As we gradually adjust to our new normal and anxiously begin reopening, it is important to thoroughly examine ways to promote your business locally to get back in the game.
The pandemic has brought a transformation of the market and marketing models due to frequent lockdowns, social distancing measures, dependence on online selling, and the prevalence of online communication. A lot of stores, restaurants, and cafés still have limited indoor or outdoor capacity, so digital marketing and courier services help overcome difficulties. In other words, it’s crucial to remain connected to customers and lend them support.
Once we reach a post-COVID-19 point, you should kick off with cheap local advertising. Email your customers that you’re finally open for business, ensure that you have undertaken measures to keep them and your employees safe, and prepare a press release. Inform customers in the press release how you have improved your business, such as turning to contactless payment.
Don’t hesitate to share the financial and health hardships you encountered during the pandemic with your customers. Sharing personal stories can help convey the extent to which you are rooted in the local community, which can help generate local business leads.
DID YOU KNOW? The special COVID-19 Edition of the CMO survey shows that only 24.9% of marketers reported a reduction in loyalty levels. Generally, trusting relationships between customers and companies have remained relatively intact during the pandemic; this is promising for small businesses which heavily depend on that for post-pandemic revival.
The aim of this article was to show the ends and means of local business promotion by explaining lead generation strategies and press release usage. This topic is especially pertinent in the post-pandemic era, as small businesses will be on the frontline for success while being severely hit by epidemiological measures. What matters the most is to embed your local business into the life of the local community by building and maintaining credibility, instead of just running for profit.
First, decide whether you want to be a host of the event or just a participant. Then, target the specific population and tweak sales strategies to cater to customers. Try to come up with hip merch such as T-shirts or badges; also try offering discounts, bonuses, or giveaways to attract new customers and reward loyal ones.
Online presence is crucial for attracting customers, but you don’t necessarily need to own a website for that purpose. How to promote your business locally, then? Well, you can publish on social media or submit press releases to other websites. Additionally, you can have guest blog posts or send email newsletters.
Promoting a business without spending a lot has become relatively easy due to social platforms. You can pitch products and services free of charge on Facebook or Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. TikTok has become popular with younger generations as well, so consider making short, entertaining videos to boost your website traffic and revenue.