Competing with superstores and chain businesses has long been the bane of a small business owner’s existence. But with the rise of the “buy local” movement, these business owners are finding that customers are more and more interested in reinvesting in their community. In order to tap into this growing segment of the population, you can use these five marketing techniques to attract more local customers.

Coupons

Discounts are one of the most compelling ways you can draw in new customers. Offer coupons and discounted merchandise, or free products or services for first-time customers. There are a variety of ways you can deliver these discounts to your customers, including social media, direct mail, newspaper inserts and e-newsletters. Try incorporating different methods into your marketing campaign to discover the most effective techniques for your business.

Local Events

The easiest way to find customers who are interested in supporting their local economy is by attending local events such as flea markets or festivals. If you don’t sell physical products, you can sponsor these events or set up an information booth to attract attention. Additionally, you can host small events on your own or in partnership with other local businesses. These may include tastings, product demonstrations or flash sales.

Social Networking

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are becoming the most powerful tools a small business can use. These networking tools can put you in direct contact with local customers who might be interested in your products and services. If you operate in certain neighborhoods, you can also look for local neighborhood Facebook pages and introduce yourself and your business in these pages. Be sure to offer exclusive discounts to your followers to keep them coming back for more.

Loyalty Programs

 The most important part of attracting new local customers is retaining these customers, and loyalty programs are among the best ways to do this. You can offer different levels of discounts and rewards, depending on how much your customers spend with you or how often they visit your store. These programs are inexpensive to maintain and require very little time commitment, so they offer a high return for the effort you put in.

SEO

There are some effective strategies for boosting your presence in local search engine rankings, including adding locations to meta content, creating separate sites for each store location, and setting up a Google+ business page.

Rebranding

Some companies may need to reorient their marketing efforts to fully focus on the local aspect of their business. You may even design a separate campaign for this purpose that’s designed to capitalize on the “buy local” movement. By positioning your company as a small, community-centric company, you’ll tap into the consumer’s drive to support their local neighborhoods. This can be accomplished with advertisements that feature local attractions or customs, or you can even use real customer testimonials.

By practicing these five marketing techniques, you can expand your local customer base and help turn your small business into a pillar of the community. Discover more tips for auditing your local business’ website.

Have any of these practices worked for you? Do you still need help? Let us know in the comments.

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Megan TotkaMegan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com which helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. Megan spends much of her time establishing new relationships for ChamberofCommerce.com, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence, and contributing to a number of publications on the web. Megan can be reached at megan@chamberofcommerce.com.
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