There are so many marketing opportunities available to shop owners, but none are as dependable and residual as your own local market. Have you even checked out the potential sales in your back yard? There is little doubt that the Internet provides a incomparable mass marketing opportunity, but these shoppers are rarely loyal to your site consistently. You see the mass shoppers on the Internet have so many choices, they are easily swayed from your shop’s search results over pennies. What value does a strong local marketing campaign offer your Internet business?
Referral sales convert higher and are more consistent than any other sales technique. Additionally, the local sales market is far more likely to deliver dependable residual sales. I am certainly not saying you should concentrate solely on your local market, but neglecting it is passing up a valuable sales opportunity.
What do you have to offer the local market? How about no shipping costs as they can pick their item. Pride is a big one, believe it or not many Americans would much rather do business with a local merchant over a larger faceless business. Many times shoppers will even pay more to shop locally.
There are some very specific optimization techniques to help your store better attract a local market as well as your www mass market. Very simply put, you can optimize your site for both, very easily.
- Always display a toll free and a local phone number.
- Use your address in your template pages.
- Register your business with Yahoo Local Directory, Google Local Business Directory, and other local offerings. Most are free.
- Offer local free pickup of purchases, or even deliver them yourself!
- Link out to local attractions and community sites.
- Advertise on local sites.
- Offer a price break or coupons for local shoppers exclusively.
These are just a few great ways to better get your store noticed in web search by your local market. Do be afraid to think outside the box, the ONLY bad marketing idea is the one you don’t try. Some of the greatest marketing success stories of all time were expected to fail.
Local hands on type marketing can be very labor intensive, but I have some easy ways to get your name out there for little or no cost and very little work!
- Get business cards, and not home printed card either. Put your picture and location on these cards, and spend the extra 5 bucks to include a local coupon or special deal on the back.
- Ask businesses you normally patronize to display your cards… Hell, give then a link in return as it also benefits you. Do this right, buy some cardholders for .50c a piece and display your business in a professional light.
- Leave a couple of cards on the hand dryer in the bathrooms you visit. Okay, I know this sounds crazy, but folks who find them assume you put them down to wash your hands and forgot them. Hmmmm, they were valuable enough for you to pick up, so they are given the impression that the cards were important to you… And thus they are interested in why.
- Flyers are okay too, but I tend to use business cards as they have a much greater retention rate. You see, brochures and flyers can be bulky and therefore far more likely to end up in file 13. Business cards on the other hand are often collected like someones own personal directory and easily slip in to a pocket or purse without damaging them.
- NEVER, EVER leave home without a few cards in your pocket. Opportunities will arise, be ready!
- We have been doing something rather interesting, my husbands idea actually. We bought decent looking promotional pens and have been distributing them in a most unorthodox manner. Just tossing pens out at local events really converts little, but we are not doing that. In this digital age we live in, we use our bank cards to pay for almost all purchases… Just like over 40% of the rest of the American public. So, we stock the vehicles and every time we sign a receipt we use our pen and leave it! Folks take pens from businesses regularly out of habit, accident, and even because they liked the way it wrote. If they take and are not given it, they are more likely to hang on to it!
- We always leave several pens at businesses who are likely to have to purchase many replacement pens. Places like restaurants (servers), local carryout food shops, gas stations, banks, and yes… Your local schools. Our kids have a ton of these pens in their book bags and lose them regularly to our advantage.
- Support your local charities and schools. Sports are very successful advertising opportunities in most local markets. Buy an Ad in that football program, the investment is small and the return is local notoriety.
- Sponsor a local ball team or bowling team, this is also pretty inexpensive and carries a great deal of weight for your local reputation. When you do this, make sure you visit a few events (games)… Your presence only strengthens your local reputation.
- Join your local BBB (Better Business Bureau), they will provide you with plethora of great marketing opportunities locally. Additionally, other local merchants and potential customers alike recognize this as a mark qualifying your business as dependable and trusted.
- Offer special deals to other BBB merchants… Increase your own local network, receive special prices and service in return and fantastic referral business.
- Offer a few free or pro-bono products and services locally a year. People like merchants with a high community conscience and are very likely to use your services or products in the future if you are charitable, locally.
- Put your web address for your store on your vehicles. Something simple and unobtrusive will bring some sales in and again bump up your notoriety as a local business.
These are just a few of the things we do locally and I wanted to share them with you. The honest return on your local campaign is very likely to be 40% of your business and will fast become your “bread and butter” sales. Our local sales are about 30% of our business and growing every month. We see about 5 to 10 referrals a month and have boosted our sales with our local campaign quite a bit.
So go local and build your business on a solid foundation of trust and reputation.