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Local Marketing: 10 Easy Ways to Sell More to Your Neighbors

Aug 17, 2007
Have a business that's purely local, such as a hair salon or dry cleaners? Or simply want to beef up your client roster with more folks from your local area?

Here are 10 simple solutions to your local marketing challenges ...

1. Make sure that your website specifically targets your local market. People are increasingly heading online to find local vendors. Make sure to broadcast your site's URL to all of your prospects and clients, and ask your web designer to ensure that the website is search-engine friendly for people seeking information about vendors in your city.

You might also investigate pay-per-click search engines such as Yahoo! and CitySearch, which offer targeted marketing to people in your local area.

2. Network. I know that the odds are good that you might consider the term "networking" to be almost as bad as a four-letter word, but I assure you that there are ways to meet other businesspeople in town that won't make you feel uncomfortable. Most of us have access to local organizations that are full of nice people just like you who simply want to meet other like-minded people.

The local Chamber of Commerce and other industry-specific organizations in your area are a good starting point. Just make sure not to just go to meetings -- make an effort to get to know people or even volunteer for a leadership position where you can show off your responsibility, reliability and talent.

3. Partner with other small businesses catering to the same group of prospects. This seemingly simplistic tactic works for both service- and product-based businesses very successfully.

If, for example, you are a graphic designer and are seeking additional design work, you will benefit from getting to know a local copywriter or printer who knows plenty of prospects who might need your services. Alternatively, come up with a plan that sells quantities of your wares to local businesses as gifts/rewards for their clients and employees. Either way, it means more business!

4. Give talks at local organization meetings. If you enjoy public speaking, seek out associations full of your target prospects and volunteer to give speeches for free in exchange for the chance to market yourself and your services/products.

5. Send direct mailings to local prospects, and make a quick phone call to each prospect a few days later. The beauty of local prospects is the fact that you can afford to call your prospects for free as a way of following up.

6. Write articles on your area of expertise for the local paper, organization newsletters or your local business rag. Here in the Los Angeles area, for example, there are quite a few possibilities to choose from in the immediate area, and looking beyond what's in close proximity, there are dozens of others in Orange County, Ventura County and beyond.

7. Don't underestimate the power of a good Yellow Pages ad. Local businesses still look in the phone book to find sources of assistance for many types of their needs. The key in all this is to use the space in your ad wisely -- include more copy than your competitors and share insights in that copy about how to select a (Fill in the blank) and give them reasons to get to know you.

8. Hold a contest and get local press for it. Could your business benefit from the added attention of a contest? Get creative and go for it!

In all of these suggestions, I've focused on how you can find new clients, but don't forget: One of the very best ways to make more profits is to get your current clients to spend more on each purchase and/or get them to come back to you more often.

With that in mind:

9. Make sure to educate your current clients about what you do. Regardless of how many clients you have, you need something in place to keep them up to date on what you and your business are capable of.

Recently a listmate on a discussion group I participate in mentioned that she lost business to another vendor because her client didn't know that she could provide that particular service. How much business are you losing because your local clients don't have a clue what you do?

10. Set up a loyalty program designed to keep your current clients coming back for more. Depending on your business, you might want to send out coupons, freebies or even simply send out an update of the types of products/services you offer.

The good thing about most of these methods is their low cost. Regardless of your business's location, make sure to study your local competitors' marketing methods and see what works. Then give it your own personal twist and reap the benefits.
About the Author
Are you a coach, consultant or other solo service professional who's struggling to grow your business? Find out how you can attract more clients more easily with Jennifer McCay's FREE audio course and FREE weekly marketing lessons at http://AvenueEast.com
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