Let’s clear the air here. Advertising is not evil. In many cases, it’s not even expensive—that is, so long as you do it correctly. However, I’ve learned by working with small businesses like you over the years that you typically don’t have unlimited marketing budgets. Therefore wherever you spend your hard-earned marketing money must provide a sufficient return on investment (ROI). That being said, here are seven advertising tips that, if leveraged correctly, can save you a fortune in marketing dollars while still allowing you to become a “rock star” in your own backyard:
➊ Be In the Know and Get Involved
Know what’s going on and rub elbows regularly with the who’s who of your local area. I’m a firm believer that wherever you choose to play—play hard.
➋ Be a Connector
Now that you’re tuned into the people, businesses, and events in your local area, always look for ways to connect them in ways that add value—people to people—people to businesses—businesses to people—people to events—and businesses to events. Trust me; your thoughtfulness will go a long way.
➌ Educate, Educate, Educate
If you like to speak, regularly conduct local seminars and webinars. If you like to write, publish a blog or a newsletter. The key idea here is that regardless of the marketing medium you choose for delivery, position yourself as the local authority on your subject matter.
➍ Become a Local Media Darling
Get to know and regularly find ways to contribute to your local media; This goes for online sources such as local websites and Internet radio and offline sources such as radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more. Remember, it’s one thing if you tell me you’re great. Maybe I’ll believe you. Maybe I won’t. It’s quite another if an unbiased and respected third party such as the local media tells me you are great.
➎ Local Search Engine Optimization & Submissions
One of the first places people look—yes, even locally—for a business that provides what you do is online. They search in one of the many search engines like Google or Yahoo. Many of these search engines realize the vast amount of local searches, and the potential revenue stream now offers local search engine counterparts (e.g., Google Local and Yahoo Local). In most cases, this is a separate submittal process from the main search engine. Get listed in both!
➏ Have a Content-rich and Useful Website
Face it. Online color brochures just don’t cut it any longer. To be considered a viable solution for most consumers, you have to go the extra mile and provide them with clear-cut incentives to pay attention to and ultimately buy from you. Fortunately for small businesses, the Internet makes this possible at a very reasonable cost. Think of your website as an extension of your office or storefront—dress it up and nurture it the same way you would your physical space. Leverage it to magnetically attract your local target market by regularly providing resources to improve their lives.
➐ Share the Wealth
Give back to the community—period! But, regardless of how you give of yourself, at the end of the day, find ways to leave your community a little better than when you got there.
So In Closing
Think for a minute—with gas prices continuing to rise—the costs of many products and services we use every day are, as a result going up as well. We’ve got companies adding fuel surcharges to your tab now—travel costs have skyrocketed—and quite honestly, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. We’ll get there. It’s just going to take some extreme creativity and some time. In the meantime, as a small business, it’s even more reason to step up your game locally.
Customers are already incentivized by these rising costs to look for better deals. If they can save money by grouping together trips to several local businesses as opposed to spending the money traveling afar to get what they want, there’s a good chance they’ll look to fill their needs locally first. Be ready for this trend! Take immediate action on any or all of the 7 tips shared here to position yourself for success as the “rock star” in your backyard.