A small business specifically focused on attracting local customers has an advantage over businesses with a broader scope. While it still takes some time, effort and strategizing, building up a reputation within the local community is easier than doing so nationally or internationally.
The most obvious advantage to gaining local exposure is increased referrals and customers, but that’s just the start. By becoming a member of the local business community, you will gain valuable new connections, knowledge, and get the priceless benefit of contributing to something larger than yourself.
Every small business owner has a number of options to choose from to raise the profile of your business in the community. Think carefully about which methods are right for you and your business. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1) Sponsor a charity event.
2) Help plan or host a local networking event.
3) Partner with other local businesses.
4) Give speeches and presentations to relevant groups.
5) Contribute articles to local publications and blogs.
6) Contribute to your local public radio affiliate.
8) Register your website with local directories.
9) Optimize your website for relevant local search terms.
10) Join local business organizations and actively attend networking events.
11) Sponsor a local party, art, or music show.
12) Write articles with valuable advice on local attractions and issues on your business blog.
13) Become a mentor to students and young businesspeople with an interest in your field.
14) Sponsor an educational contest related to your industry that encourages young people to learn more about it.
15) Start an organization or meetup that provides value to other professionals.
16) Offer classes for people interested in learning more about what you do.
17) Create and promote online instructional videos that teach people valuable information about your trade.
18) Participate in local conferences as a speaker, exhibitor, attendee or sponsor.
19) Research who some of the most prominent experts and business people in the community are, and look for opportunities to meet and learn from them.
20) Interview other local small business owners for your blog.
21) Join local LinkedIn Groups and Google Communities and participate (don’t just promote!).
22) Interact with other local businesses, individuals and organizations on social media.
23) Provide eye-catching t-shirts with your business name and logo to friends, partners and customers.
24) Donate a portion of each sale to a local charity, or let customers choose between several for the percentage of their purchase to go to.
25) Start a scholarship for local high school students.
Many of these boil down to seeking out opportunities to get involved in and give back to the local community. One of the nice perks of this approach to business is you get to feel good about the work you do, and benefit professionally at the same time.