As a local business, you serve a relatively small group of customers. Many of your customers know each other and talk to each other, which is why you can and should be using advertising strategies that national businesses are not using. This article will introduce you to four such strategies.
1. Run a referral program
Referral customers are the best customers you can have. First, they will instantly trust you because their friends trust you. Second, they are less likely to be price resistant compared to other customers because if their friends are paying your prices, it means that your prices are justified. Third, if a problem occurs, they will almost always try and resolve the issue with you first. Here, again, it’s the matter of their friends trusting you. If their friends are saying that you are good, you must be good and if something doesn’t go the way it is supposed to, it must be an exception that you can quickly resolve.
For all these reasons, a referral program is a must for any local business. When it comes to referral programs, most businesses get the part where they need to have a special offer to new referred clients. What they often miss is that thanking the existing customer that has referred his or her friends is as important. You want to always encourage and show appreciation for the behavior that you want to repeat, even if it’s via something as small as a ringless voicemail with a thank you message and a postcard.
2. Go above and beyond to exceed the expectations of your customers.
This may not seem like a way to advertise a local business, but in reality, it is one of the best advertising strategies you can use. When your customers buy your product or use your service, in their minds they have a picture of how things should work.
What you want to do is exceed this expectation. It may be something as small as a jar with chocolates at the front desk in your office or ringless voicemails with reminders about appointments and ringless voicemails that thank the customers for stopping by and doing business with you.
The reason this is so critically important is that people do not talk about ordinary things. They either talk about terrible events or outstanding experiences. Obviously, you want to be in the latter category.
3. Become a local expert in your field
All media in your local area, including local newspapers, TV, and radio, need interesting and engaging content. Let’s say you sell insurance in your local area. You can write articles and give interviews about the inside secrets of buying the right insurance. You can provide tips about tax benefits of various types of insurance. If you create a series of such articles, it is very possible that there will be a newspaper in your area that will be very excited about publishing them. You could also write a book about the inside secrets of buying insurance in your city. Then, you could self-publish the book, donate some copies to the libraries and also be giving the book as a gift to your clients.
All of this is very smart positioning that is very likely to provide you with invitations to local TV and radio shows. When you do get to speak, you don’t even have to talk about your business. You can talk about your book, your articles and the way you help people who are looking for solutions in your area of expertise.
When giving interviews and having appearances, make sure to invite your current customers to watch the TV shows and listen to the radio when you speak. Make invites and information available via multiple media, including email, regular mail, website announcements and friendly ringless voicemails.
4. Partner with other businesses in the area
When thinking about other local businesses, most business owners typically first think about their competition. You want to use a different approach. First, create a profile of your customers. How old are they? How much money are they making? Are they single, married, married with kids? Then, think about what other products and services your customers buy locally. It doesn’t matter if these products and services have nothing to do with your business. For example, let’s say that you sell insurance and you figure out that a significant percentage of your customers go to a certain dance studio. You can partner with the studio and organize a special thank you event for your customers and prospects with performances by the teams from the dance studio. Announce the event in advance, ask people to RSVP and then send both email reminders and ringless voicemail reminders to increase the show-up rate at the event.