There’s so much talk about taking your small business online that it’s easy to forget you have plenty of local marketing opportunities right in your own backyard.
I was talking about small business marketing with my colleague Stephanie Chandler, the author of LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business, the other day. She’s currently the spokesperson for Project Rev, a year-long small business marketing lab hosted by Deluxe Corporation that is working with 10 small business owners to help them take their business to the next level. (It’s too late to get in, but they are sharing lots of marketing tips at ProjectRev.com.)
I asked Stephanie if she would share some of her local marketing tips with you and she was very generous by contributing the tips below. Take them to heart and put them to work in your company.
- Get Off the Island
Entrepreneurs often feel like they are alone on an island, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Reach out and build a network of support with your peers through local business networking groups, trade associations, non-profit organizations or online communities. Not only will this improve your quality of life, it can be a fantastic way to generate business ideas and advice.
- Cultivate Existing Relationships
There is a good chance that you already have a tremendous network of contacts, though managing your day-to-day business can cause you to lose touch. Get in the habit of reaching out to those you already know. Schedule lunch or a coffee date, clip out an interesting article and drop it in the mail, or just pick up the phone and call to check in. In business, the one with the most friends doesn’t necessarily win. It’s the one with best relationships who thrives.
- Refresh Your Company Image
If your marketing materials are out-dated or your website needs a make-over, invest some resources in improving the image for your business. Big brands update logos and product packaging every few years and you should too. Give your website a fresh new design, consider a more modern look for your logo, and make sure your marketing collateral is impressive. If you aren’t sure where to start, search online to find logo design or website design services.
- Build a Community
Even if your business caters to companies around the globe, many opportunities await in your own backyard. While you can participate in existing business events, consider building your own community with a niche focus. For example, if you are a human resources consultant, you could launch a group for HR professionals. Schedule a monthly meeting that incorporates education, networking and other elements that make it valuable for attendees. Sites like Meetup.com and Craigslist.org make it easy to promote groups like this. Best of all, you will benefit from the visibility gained by leading the group while attracting your target customers.
- Start Speaking
One of the best ways to position yourself as an authority in your field is by speaking to large groups. Speaking opportunities are abundant through trade associations, non-profit groups, business meetings and conferences. If you aren’t yet comfortable with public speaking, join a local chapter of Toastmasters to get some experience. When you’re ready, put together a powerful presentation and prepare to dazzle your audience.
Have you tried any of these tactics in your business? How did they work for you? What additional tips do you have to offer?