If you own a business in a small town you might have discovered that getting the word out and enticing people through your doors isn’t exactly easy.
In fact, marketing in a small town can seem more daunting than marketing in a larger city. But it shouldn’t. There are a lot of benefits to being located in a small town, some of which I’ll cover below.
So let’s dive in!
1. Establish Yourself, or Your Company as an Expert
One of the great things about doing business in a small town is that you’re probably not competing with dozens of similar businesses to stand out and get noticed.
Establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, or a trusted source of information, is a very effective way to stand out, get noticed and create a positive reputation for your brand.
Start by knowing exactly what your expertise is.
If you own a landscaping company your expertise is probably knowing how to make someone’s property beautiful, increase their curb appeal, increase the value of their home and give them an oasis they can enjoy without leaving their back yard. In a nutshell, you’re the experts at creating beautiful, inviting outdoor spaces.
Once you’re ready to own your expert status it’s time to get the word out.
The best way to do this is by SHOWING people rather than just telling people. Using a slogan like “We’re the lawn care experts” isn’t enough.
You want to demonstrate that you, and your staff, know what you’re talking about! One of the best way to do this is by giving away your knowledge.
At first this may seem counter intuitive, but think of this way…ultimately most people will not have the time or desire to do your job. Maybe some people will do some of the little things you suggest, but when it comes to the bigger jobs you’ll be the first company they think of because they know, like and trust you.
Here are some great ways to share your knowledge and establish your expertise…
- Write for a local newspaper, or suggest an “Ask the Expert” column.
- Create a blog as part of your website. Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customers and write helpful advice about your industry. For the landscaping company this might include advice about: yard beautification, maintaining a healthy lawn, gardening, easy ways to increase the curb appeal of your home, etc.
- Host a free seminar during the evening or on Saturday morning. Think of your ideal customers, what would they find so intriguing that they wouldn’t be able to pass up attending?
2. Make Face-to-Face Connections
People do business with those they know, like and trust.
This truth is very pronounced in small towns. You’ve noticed it, haven’t you?
If you’re the new kid on the block, and do not have many connections in the small town where you do business, it’s important to get out there and meet people. Not only meet them, get to know them.
Here are some ideas…
- Shop local, yes you. Rather than driving to a nearby city to get your groceries and run your errands get out and support the local butcher, bank, market, salon, and other businesses whose services you need.
- Rather than a cliche ‘Customer Appreciation Day’, go out in the town and do an act(s) of kindness. You might even get some good press.
- Attend local business networking events. The Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start inquiring about events in the area.
- Attend local events where your customers and potential customers will be.
3. Make Online Connections
Yes, face-to-face networking is a great way to meet people in your community – but in a lot of cases those same people are also online following their favorite people and brands on social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
To stay connected, and relevant, it’s a very good idea to find out where your ideal customers are hanging out online…and join them.
4. Get Found Online
Make sure that your company and products/services can easily be found online by people who are searching for a local provider.
If you own a spa you’ll want to make sure you’re at, or near, the top of the results when people search Google for things like:
- spa in [your town]
- where can I get a massage in [your town]
- pedicure [your town]
- and so on…
5. Sponsor or Host a Local Event
Could your company create a signature event to host every year for your community. Not a “Sales Event” but something that will attract the right people and give you a name in the community.
For example, Renasant Bank is located in the Southern United States where they are crazy about college football. So one year they hired a 6-story JumboTron and hung it overlooking a public park.
More than 4000 people showed up to watch the games and enjoy food from local restaurants that were set up at the event. The bank also set up a private hospitality tent for clients. It was such a success that that we heard
they planned to do it again the next year.
Be creative. If you can go big, that’s great – but it’s not always necessary. Just make sure it’s something people will want to attend and tell their friends about.
So there you have it – 5 ways to market a business in a small town. But, this list is not exhausted, share your ideas in the comments below…