In a down economy your local market becomes critical to your business success. Your local market is where most of your loyal customers come from, and establishing a strong local market foundation allows your business to grow outwards.
Here are some tips to build your local market:
- Join your local chambers of commerce and every community group you can to network.
- Reach out to your local newspaper and local media outlet and offer story ideas.
- Become your town’s know it all and resource person. (One local business person used this idea to create a spreadsheet that got mailed around with everyone’s teacher assignments in town.)
- Create referral and loyalty incentive programs.
- Use cause related marketing and sponsor local events and causes for exposure.
- Offer to be a speaker or teach a class related to your business. For example, if you sell home decorating products, offer to speak about home decorating.
- Partner with other local businesses to promote each other’s businesses.
- Create a Facebook page and post current events, coupons, and information about other businesses in your town as a free community service site.
- Connect and network with people who live locally on social networks.
- Get testimonials from locals and use them to become your “celebrity” spokespeople.
- Make sure your business comes up on local search engines and directories.
- Make each interaction memorable. Turn your car into a moving billboard, give out magnetic business cards with a free branded pen, distribute T-shirts with your business name and logo, and most importantly become known for incredible customer service that generates praise.
Using these tips will help you create a sustainable business relying on a whole town of loyal customers that will weather any economic storm.
So how are you connecting to your local market?