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  • Writer's pictureJim Humphrey

Five Neglected Local Marketing Ideas

As small business owners, we often overlook some of the most basic local opportunities as we pursue scaling our product and services to meet a larger market. Here are five simple ideas to explore when considering ways to grow and engage with your brand in your own back yard.

1. Develop a local business referral network

All businesses regardless of size can benefit from a B2B referral network. For example, real estate agents, lawn care, contractors and others depend heavily on referral systems and community interaction. Many of these industries overlap, and all rely on some form of referral.

Take the opportunities you have daily while you’re out networking in the community. Spark your local marketing ideas by collecting business contacts and have them ready for potential recommendations as the need arises. When your neighboring businesses see that you’re sending them customers and business opportunity, they will most likely reciprocate and keep your brand in mind for future promotions.

2. Host or lead educational events

If you want to become a product or service expert and a noted resource to your community, always offer something of value even if you receive no immediate compensation. What immediate value can you offer to other local business owners or residents?

A prime example that comes to mind and located in most medium to large size communities are building suppliers like Home Depot and Lowes. Both offer free weekend workshops and seminars on various home improvements such as how to install a sink, tiling a backsplash, basic electrical awareness, and etc. Both companies provide a value to customers that often lead to a future purchase that leads to future value and so on.

If you are a mechanic, try teaching a course on basic maintenance and car care or winterizing your vehicle. A better informed potential customer can soon become a paying customer once they recognize your expertise and willingness to share knowledge and value. These types of complementary events build trust between your company and your audience, while at the same time promoting your brand.

3. Engage in networking events

One of the best ways for business owners who want to connect with other companies in the local area and form strong partnerships, is to engage in networking events. The key is to be engaging, anyone can attend. Once at an event, actively engage with other business owners regardless of industry. Be prepared to both learn from others and share your business why, how, and what.

If you can’t find a networking event in your area, create one. Some events are informal mixers to mingle at your leisure, while others are more structured with local speakers or lessons. Experiment and determine what works for your needs.

4. Get involved in causes related to your brand

Recent studies show roughly 60% of millennials care whether or not the companies they work for and purchase from give back to their community or other social endeavor. People ages 18-34 are more likely to work for companies who have a heart for charitable giving and community engagement.

Our customers want to see us supporting local causes and giving back. This significantly contributes to their decision to purchase and determines their level of brand loyalty. Additionally, these forms of sponsorships, donations and event participations create additional opportunities to promote your brand to new audiences and potential customers.

5. Assist with local events, festivals, music events, and sports competitions

If you really want to connect with customers in your community, then you need to be an active part of that community. Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how few business owners do. Make it a priority to support your local events and sports teams and genuinely get involved using your business. Show that you care.

People can see through a company that is fake, or doesn’t care about the community based on its actions. If you walk the walk with those community partners around you, your customers will be more likely to walk through your doors when the time comes.

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