When you are a small business entrepreneur it can sometimes feel like you are constantly butting heads with the “big guys.” They seem to have all the people, time, money and advantages, and it feels like you see their advertising everywhere you go. It might seem insurmountable, but just remember that bigger isn’t always necessarily better. Because of their size, they are often impersonal and slow to respond to consumer needs. They can’t pivot quickly like a small business can.
In this age of impersonal relationships, consumers really don’t like feeling that they are insignificant. When they call businesses with a question, they don’t like being told that their “call is important” for ten minutes. They want to talk to a friendly person who will answer the phone immediately and provide a needed answer. Small, local businesses have advantages that their larger competitors just can’t match. Here are a few marketing tips entrepreneurs can utilize to boost business right in their hometown:
• Be mobile friendly: If your business serves any type of a walk-in crowd, make sure they can easily access your website using a smartphone.
• Local Chamber of Commerce: If your business is more B2B, then you might want to check out the benefits of being in the local Chamber. Monthly meetings can be a good place to search out leads.
• Business cards: It might seem a little old school, but you still need to have a good quantity of business cards to hand out whenever you meet prospective customers.
• Business associations: Many industries have local trade groups. If yours has a local chapter, you might want to join to pick up ideas about how others in your niche market themselves.
• Trade shows: Local groups will sometimes sponsor trade shows that appeal to consumers or businesses. Find one that is right for you, and then develop a strategic plan to make it work for you. Don’t just show up and hope to attract people to your booth or table.
• Local advertising: Local newspapers or radio stations often have affordable advertising options for small businesses. A radio broadcast from your business for a special occasion can do wonders to get the word out about you.
• Community groups: Local theater playbills or school event programs often offer affordable advertising options. You’re helping out a good cause and getting your name known in the community.
• Local websites: As you meet other local business owners, discuss ways your businesses can benefit each other online. Perhaps you can review their business in one of your blogs, or post a favorable item on your Facebook page, and they can return the favor. This gets your name in front of a whole new crowd.
You should always be on the look-out for referral opportunities. If appropriate, you can also ask customers to review your business on local sites such as Yelp. Your small business can compete big-time!