If you’ve got a new business that’s finding its feet, then getting it up and running and being able to attract a crowd is going to be crucial. You need to be able to launch it and build a connection with an audience to get to the point that you’re able to get a positive cash flow. For a lot of businesses, that’s going to mean starting with a local market. However, just because you’re not competing across the globe doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to be able to get your audience’s attention.
You need to make sure that your business can get some presence in your local market and here are a few ways you can do that.
Understand the local market
You shouldn’t start trying to reach out to or to make a connection with the local market until you have a good idea of who, exactly, they are. Do your target market research so that you get a good idea of what your demographics are to help you better craft your marketing message. Don’t neglect to do research on what competitors you might have as well. This can help you better carve out your niche or at least start using marketing messages that pose you as a noteworthy alternative to what already exists out there in the market.
Start targeting locally
Once you know your local market, it’s time to start reaching out to them. You don’t need to start going door to door to reach a local audience, however. Platforms that you might already be using, such as social media platforms, usually have local audience targeting built into them. When you set up an advertising campaign on social media, make sure that you use local advertising options so that you can set the specific location of the users that you want your ads to appear to. Of course, digital isn’t your only option, either. If you’re able to acquire a list of leads, there is evidence that physical mail marketing can be just as, if not more effective, than email campaigns.
Use search engines to your advantage
There are other forms of digital marketing that can be very advantageous for local campaigns as well, and few of them work better than search engine optimization. SEO is typically about helping your business be more visible to those who are searching for keywords related to what you offer. However, you can use local SEO efforts, such as registering with local directories or setting up a Google My Business account so that your web pages are even more likely to appear to those who are searching in the local area. Another effective way to gain local SEO is to start writing content on your website that is related to local events or areas.
Invest in good physical advertising
Digital isn’t the only way to go, of course, and especially not when you’re targeting a local market. Aside from direct mail marketing, which has already been mentioned, there are other ways to get a lot of locally based eyes on your business. One of the most tried and true methods is to use billboards and posters in highly trafficked areas. Depending on where you are based, the most visible ones can start to become costly to hire, so be willing to look for slightly more niche areas where you can put your mark. So long as it is visible to either those who are walking or in their cars, you can start to put your business’s existence in the minds of your audience.
Set up a local address
Just because you’re targeting a local audience doesn’t mean you already have a local address that they can look up. A lot of businesses are being run from home or from remote locations, which can make it much cheaper and easier to set up, but can make it harder to establish a presence amongst your market but virtual office space can help with that. What is a virtual office space? Definitions depend, but mostly it means having an acting address for your business, even if it’s not where you’re situated most of the time. Some of them can come with physical offices you can use temporarily when you want to, however.
Focus on the relationship with local customers
Don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth, especially when it comes to the local market. If you focus your efforts on maintaining good relationships with your customers, then they are more likely to mention your business to those that they know, live with, and work with. There are plenty of ways to do this, both through great social media communication, offering active customer support and making your business easy to access, and even doing little personal touches such as sending thank you notes with products.
Take pop-up opportunities
If you can make a physical appearance now and then, it will greatly boost your chances of making an impression on your local customer base. Local trade shows and business conferences can be a great opportunity to set up a booth, even for the purposes of talking about what your business offers and simply getting some leads. You don’t need to generate a lot of business from these events in order to increase your presence, but a lot of companies find trade show appearances to be the main generator of new business. Aside from trade shows, you might find the opportunity to set up a pop-up booth where you can offer samples or talk about your business with locals, be it for areas such as open markets or for specific seasonal events run in the town.
Work with other local businesses
If you’re trying to gain a foothold in the local market, then there are few who can better help you get a leg up than those who are already firmly entrenched in it. Don’t limit your research or local businesses to those who are likely to provide some competition for you. Take the opportunity to meet with other local business leaders or, if they run a business that is adjacent or related but not in direct competition with yours, you can reach out to them directly. A good way to start doing this is to start sharing what they post on social media or to offer an online cross-promotion with them.
Get involved in local charity
Not all of your dealings with the local audience have to be purely commercial, either. In fact, winning some goodwill can go a long way in helping you to make a name for yourself. Take the time to research local charities and non-profit organizations or groups in your area, and the events that they might be running throughout the year. These organizations are typically looking for corporate sponsors or even signal boosters, so getting involved how you can or offering what resources you can may help you develop a much better image with the locals.
Network in the area
There’s nothing quite like going out and shaking some hands to make a good impression. Whether it’s at local networking events, fairs, or other seasonal events, make sure to bring some business cards with you to keep them ready at all times. You never know who you might run into and what opportunities are there to take.
Your dreams of business success may not end with a local market but for a lot of services and products, they should start there. Hopefully, the above tips give you some ideas on how to start growing the presence that you need.