Interviews with Successful Online Marketers & Entrepreneurs

Next-Level Marketing Tips for the Small Local Business

If you’re just starting out in business, it can be a scary thing to tackle the marketing and branding for your business (even more so if you’re on a tight budget, which so many small-and-new business owners are). 

Image Credit: Lisa Fotios

Luckily, there are a whole host of ways you can creatively, and in some cases very cheaply, market and brand your business to best engage with clients and customers. These are tried-and-true tips that many businesspersons have done to grow their brand and see tangible success. 

SEO

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a super important part of any online marketing strategy. You go to Google (or Bing or whatever search engine that strikes your fancy) and type in a product, or service. How likely are you to scroll down and choose the twelfth website listed? Not very. You’re going for the results right at the top! 

Getting to the top is your goal. As a business, you want to be listed as close to the top as possible, to be seen, attract customers and be considered among the best options on offer. You do this by hiring an SEO company that will ensure that you always stay at the top of the search listings. It’s an ongoing process, as the world of SEO is super competitive, so you want to hire a company that is diligent and works hard for you every day. 

Social Media, Website and Apps

Engaging with your customers is 90% of the battle. Having brand recognition and brand loyalty and customers who not only recognize you on sight, but know and trust you, even love you, is key to growing your business and brand. One of the main ways you create these relationships are by utilizing social media (sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and more), having an accessible, easy to use and engaging website, and in some cases, depending on your business model, an app. 

Customers and clients love to be able to hop on their phone and engage with the things they love, and the brands they love are no exception. Posting pictures, deals, incentives, coupons, even the odd poll or q&a session will keep customers excited and interested in your brand. Offering a newsletter sign-up on your website is also a good idea; people still love to sign up for those to this day!

 People love to feel that they are a part of things, so radio silence on your end just won’t do. Getting out there and showing your customers you consider them a friend will do more for your business than any sale ever will. 

Graphics, Logos and More

People shop with their eyes. Before anyone ever buys your product, they look at your logo, your color scheme, your packaging. They make snap decisions based on the designs you use, deciding if the product in question looks like something they’ll enjoy. 

This is an area in which you want to spend the money to make sure that everything looks great. You want logos, designs, packaging and website content that fits in with your vision, your style and your product. It needs to be visually pleasing, easy to read, colorful and fun. Aesthetics are so important with any business, but especially those that sell goods and services. A smooth, professional and exciting look is a must, must, must. 

Networking

Most businesses do all their marketing and promotion via the internet nowadays; the aforementioned social media, websites, and apps. 

However, there are subsets of folks who don’t exist mainly online like the rest of us, and you want to be reaching out to those “old school” people too, as well as making business connections outside of the web. 

Invest in a business card with a simple-but-savvy design, a smart-looking logo and all your pertinent information, and don’t be afraid to pass it out to clients, to tack it onto bulletin boards, and include it with mailers and packages. Print up coupons and sale flyers, splashy looking thank-you cards, bookmarks, stickers, and other little “goodies” that your clients and customers might like. Everyone loves to get a little something free, and it’s a quick way to throw in some hidden marketing for you. 

Teaming Up

If you have a local small business, teaming up with another local business is a great way to get fresh eyes on both enterprises and make money via a joint venture. For instance, a local brewery might team up with a local coffeeshop/roaster to release a limited-edition coffee stout. A local publishing house might team up with a local clothing designer to produce one-of-a-kind literary themed t-shirts, with part of the proceeds going to charity. The sky’s the limit. 

People love to support local businesses, and when two team up, they’ll be more than happy to indulge the creative ventures you’re offering them. And having local businesses as part of your support system is a huge boon to your business, and theirs. 

Participation

For local businesses, participating in your larger community will really get your name out there, and you’ll have the added benefit in giving back, which will make you feel good and make others feel good about purchasing your products. Charity events, auctions, fundraisers and benefits are all things that you should be participating in, donating your time, your products and if you can afford to, proceeds from your sales. 

Sponsoring local sports teams or non-profit groups, getting your logo on merch for local 5ks and other activities, and participating in local markets, craft events and sales are also good ways to get that brand recognition and local support. 

These are just a few small ways to get your name out there and create some brand loyalty and client engagement for your business. There are hundreds of other creative and easy ways to keep your business growing and thriving; with just a little hard work, motivation and creativity, you’ll be heading up a successful venture before you know it! 

About John-Shea

Internet Marketing Entrepreneur