Every local business needs to know how to successfully market and build their brand in their local community.
It is all about keeping you in the forefront of your community, anchoring your brand as a community supporter, building trust and awareness to the potential customers/clients in your region.
Local Marketing is more than just having a website or a shop front and there are many ways to do it. I live in a large town where small businesses abound. So, I decided to find out just what some of them thought about the local marketing events that they were involved in.
Here are some of their stories that might also give you some ideas to try.
I recently occupied the big leather chair in Mario’s Barber Shop. While Mario sliced and diced whatever hair I have left, I took notice of the many photos on the wall.
They were not photos of the latest hair styles but photos that proudly displayed the minor league sport teams that Mario’s Barber Shop supports… baseball teams in the summer and hockey teams in the winter.
I am sure that whatever town or city you live in, you can recall seeing these pictures on the walls of local businesses.
I asked Mario if this promotional involvement really paid off for his business.
Mario commented “this has been a great help to my business. I get many of the dads bringing their kids here for cuts and they also get theirs done as well. Once they come the first time, they continue coming to me every few weeks. I have some who have been with me for years, till the kids go off to college and university. If I did not have this presence in the community, I would not have a successful business.”
I attended a fundraiser on Sunday for a family that lost their home to a fire. It was held at a local restaurant and a fantastic event.
I asked the owner, Sarah, how holding fund raising events affected her business. Here is what Sarah said:
“I have been holding these events on a very regular basis for a number of years. I look at this as a way to give back to the community, to help others and honestly, I don’t even think about it as marketing. But I keep getting people coming back to the restaurant on a regular basis talking about the events and the good times they had.”
When talking with Gerry who is a local real estate agent, he elaborated on the golf tournament that he and his team put on every year.
“We get 60-80 guys and gals out to the event every year rain or shine. We cover our costs by soliciting signage ads from other local businesses that are placed on each hole. Someone always wants to sponsor the longest drive or closest to the hole challenge. In my business you need to be visible and provide the community with something extra. It certainly works well for us.”
I do quite a bit of driving and I can’t help but notice a sign that catches my attention each time I pass it. It says, “The next 5 miles of this highway has been adopted by Barry’s Automotive Service.”
I decided to go and ask Barry what this did for his local business.
Barry was easy to find, and he could not stop telling me just how important this was to his business. He said:
“This is the best local marketing effort I have done. People keep commenting and asking questions, so I know we are getting noticed. It also helps inside my business because it gives me a chance to do something with my employees. After we spend an hour picking up trash, we go to a local watering hole for a bite and a cold one.
Whatever your business is, local marketing is involved so perhaps put the above ideas to work for you.
The second key to successfully market your brand in your community is that of Referral Selling.
Perfecting the art of referral selling will help you maintain a sales presence locally as most people will refer you to friends in your area who share the same faith, club associations, sports teams, and so on, as they do.
I can’t emphasize enough just how valuable a referral is to you and it makes so much sense to perfect the referral process in your sales presentation.
Look at these statistics I found in an article written by Julia Zasso and published by ‘Less Annoying CRM’.
However, asking your customers for referrals can be awkward. What if they say no? You don’t want to jeopardize your greatest asset: customer relationships.
Have no fear! According to Texas Tech, 83% of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience—yet only 29% do. So, the real problem with referral-based selling isn’t getting your customers to refer your business–it’s making sure that you ask them!”
Wow!!! These stats are a knock-out. So why aren’t you doing it? Can you believe the stat that 83% of customers are willing but only 29% actually do it?
You could be a plumber, a trucker, a hairdresser, a lawyer or any other self-employed small business owner. The truth is that there is a referral-based system especially for your business. You just must find it!
Check out this article http://www.referralcandy.com/blog/47-referral-programs/#best-practices as this has a great collection of 77 referral programs that you can mold into your own.
Another article from hubspot.com lists 14 Effective Ways to Get High-Quality Referrals from Your Customers.
They list the number 1 way to get referrals from customers as… Exceed expectations.
“Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to propel referrals for your business. However, it’s largely dependent on loyalty, which means that this is something you really must earn.
If you want to get your customers (or potential customers) raving about your service, you need to delight them.
Go above and beyond for your customers not just by achieving goals with them, but by sharing their content on social media, citing them in your blog content, and proving to be an indispensable resource for them. Then, the case will be made for you why they should tell their network about the great work you do.”
I am always amazed by one of my favorite radio advertisers – Saul Korman of Korry’s Clothier. Saul never fails to include the names of 3 or 4 other businesses who service his business in one way or another.
Referring the listeners to other businesses has made him an advertising icon in my city. He always goes above and beyond.
In summary, find a referral method that works for you and perfect it. You will be amazed at the results.
So, there you have it. I can promise that if you put some of these techniques into action in your community, you will see good results not only in brand awareness, but also in positive sales numbers.
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