Marketing Your Local Business
One of the greatest advantages of having a local business is your community.
Every town has its own unique “thing” and you can play within it or add something missing from the town.
Finding a market within your local audience can eventually prove to be your company’s biggest asset.
I am going to list below a few tools you can use to find what market positioning your business should take to maximize potential.
In St. Petersburg Florida where I am based, we are a small town that has a lot of everything.
Breweries, Restaurants, Games, Concerts, Festivals, etc.
We also have a lot of insurance agents, realtors, financial advisors, and doctors.
Marketing in St. Petersburg, FL, is getting harder and harder as the city grows.
If your business has a lot of competitors, it may seem like everything is done and every angle is taken.
Maybe you are just too close to your industry to see it.
Ever heard the expression “couldn’t see the forest for the trees”?
Taking a step back and analyzing your competitors may show you an opening in the market.
Make a Positioning Map of your competitors. This is a type of 4 quadrant chart (pictured below) that allows you to visually see where market openings are. Usually, these charts use the X and Y axis for quality and price. However, depending on your industry you can change the axis with a common theme. Giving your local audience something they don’t know they need is a great way to attract new customers and set a long-lasting foundation for your business.
Ask anyone, and they will tell you I love surveys. Market research is a no brainer! “Why are my products not selling?” “How do I get more clients?” These are questions that proper market research can answer.
Here is the best way to get accurate data from a survey:
- Ask yourself what information you want to get from the survey
- Write each question so that the answer is helping solve your issue
- Keep the survey as short as possible (10 questions at most)
- Get the right people to answer your survey
Most localized market research will cost money. The best and most cost-effective way to get a survey answered is to set up a booth offering “Free Money”. The booth should be located near a central part of your industry (Big competitor or your business’ neighborhood). When people approach the booth you offer $5 if they fill out your survey truthfully. This method helps with rejection and allows you to pick a spot in the shade to set up your booth. If you have the extra budget, I would also recommend utilizing a service such as Survey Monkey to collect survey answers from your defined target audience. This can run from $250-$1500 depending on how defined your audience gets.
This is a great tool for hearing from the ‘people’ of what they want or what they are looking for. Then you take the information you gathered and find commonalities. Within the common denominators, you will find a plan on how to bring in more local customers and fill a void your competitors have overlooked.
The last tool is social media. I know, I know, ‘social media’ is becoming one of those marketing terms that give you a headache when you hear it.
Well, there is a great way to utilize social media in a local business that can really help you connect with your audience. You can even use your own personal social media for this step.
Where do your customers commute to for certain products that they can’t get where your business is? What are they commuting for?
What is a popular local activity that your customers are doing? The more you know your customers the more you can tailor your business to them. This will attract more customers that are similar to your ideal audience and help spread word-of-mouth when someone discovers your awesome business that feels perfect for them.
In conclusion, the best method of marketing your local business is research! Can you imagine a town with no gas station or grocery store? That would be so easy to think “We need a gas station in this town” and if they built one, the money would come. Now in your business, it is almost that simple but with a little more work. Take a step back, pitch around some far-fetched ideas with your staff. Brainstorm what you could change. Listen to customer complaints and take them as constructive criticism to improve your business.
Let’s continue the conversation,