Are you looking for ways to market your small business? If so, you have probably found tons of information on promoting your business on a global scale and plenty of tips on expanding your reach to a wider audience. This information is helpful if you aim to transform your business into a multinational corporation. But not so useful if you are trying to capture the attention of a local audience.
In a world where most businesses hope for international acclaim and celebrity endorsements, the plight of small companies operating on a local level is often overlooked. It is assumed that every entrepreneur wants to expand their venture to reach the rest of the world. Not every business model is suited to operating internationally. For example, if you run music classes for children at your local community center you are unlikely to be hoping to attract a global audience. Instead, the success of your business relies on capturing interest on a regional scale. However, whether your business is operating globally, or just within your home town, the need to promote your company remains the same. No business is too small to market itself in the hope of attracting new customers. Without customers, you have no business. Therefore, continuing to raise awareness of your company and promoting your business to reach new customers in your area is essential. While the principles of marketing your business may be the same whether you are operating on a large scale or at a local level, your focus will be different.
Research Your Competition.
Having a strong understanding of who your competitors are and what they offer is vital. Without a clear understanding of competing companies, it will be impossible to market your business successfully. Spending time researching similar companies is essential. During your research, it is helpful to identify what your competitors offer their customers, how they promote their business, and how successful they are at achieving this. This information will help you develop a strong understanding of the local market you will be operating in.
Operating a business on a local level can really up the stakes when it comes to the competition. When two similar companies are trying to attract the same customers in a small geographical area, things can become fiercely competitive. If possible, you need to avoid an intense rivalry with your competitors. If you are too busy competing, it can sap your energy and become an unhelpful distraction. Instead, it is far better to focus on making your services or products the best they can be while quietly keeping an eye on the competition.
To make your business unique, you will need to find a way to differentiate your company from similar companies in your area. Ensuring that you have something new to offer and are not merely replicating an existing business in your area is essential. You will need to focus on your differences to market your business and help it stand out from your competitors. These differences will become your unique selling points and your key marketing messages.
Get to Know Your Target Audience.
As well as researching the competition, you also need to understand your target market fully. Having a clear understanding of the audience that you are trying to reach is vital. This understanding will help you appeal to your audience through your marketing efforts. You will need to consider factors such as; how much disposable income they may have, how they will buy/access your product or service, and why you believe that they need to buy your product or service.
Knowing exactly who your products or services appeal to will help you to decide on the best platforms to use to reach them. This will enable you to pitch your message just right and increase the chances of successfully reaching your target audience.
Develop Your Marketing Plan.
Many small businesses avoid writing marketing plans as they believe that their operation does not warrant one. While you may feel that there is little point in writing a marketing plan for your small business, the benefits that it brings should never be underestimated. The process of writing a marketing plan is an excellent way to organize your thoughts and see how various marketing tools could work well together to reach your target audience.
Formulating a marketing plan enables you to take a methodical, logical approach to market your business. Your marketing plan will help you get your promotional strategy organized, and all the details are written down in one place. Having your entire marketing strategy contained within a plan will help you to maximize the benefits of your promotional activities and to deliver the results that you want to achieve. You will be able to refer back to your marketing plan again and again. This will help you to monitor the progress of your strategy and ensure that you stay on track.
It is useful to incorporate time scales into your marketing plan. Working to timescales will help you plan your activity to suit the requirements of the time of year. For example, your promotional activities over the holidays may be far different from the rest of the year.
Decide on Your Marketing Budget.
Many small business owners take a hit and miss approach to their marketing budget. This often results in plenty of ad hoc spending without a clear plan. To ensure that you spend your money wisely it is vital to calculate a realistic marketing budget. During the first year of trading, this budget may be an educated guess. However, your first year’s marketing activities will provide you with valuable information that you can use as your basis for deciding your subsequent year’s marketing budgets.
Deciding on a marketing budget and how it will be divided between activities will help you keep your spending on track. Don’t forget to monitor your marketing spend and record the success of each campaign promptly. Doing this will help you understand the return on investment each activity provides and will help inform next year’s marketing strategy. Closely monitoring your marketing spend and understanding what works best will ensure that you can put your money to work and focus on the promotional efforts that bring the best return.
Choose Your Marketing Tools.
Your choice of marketing tools requires careful consideration. You will need to select the best tools for the job to help you to get the most from your marketing budget and to reach your intended audience. While many businesses focus on online marketing, the value of offline, traditional marketing methods remains clear when marketing at a local level.
You may not have previously considered using printed flyers, but they can be an extremely valuable promotional tool for a local business. Choosing high-quality flyers to distribute in your local area is an excellent way to reach your target audience and grow interest in your company.
Advertising using posters is a great way to raise awareness of your new business on a local scale. You will need to consider the best places to display your posters around town to maximize their visibility to your target audience.
Social media is a useful tool for reaching your target market and interacting directly with them. Posting content regularly is a great way to communicate with your potential customers and to build a relationship with them.
Successfully combining offline and digital marketing methods, and monitoring their effectiveness closely will help you reach your audience. From there, you can start establishing your customer base.