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With the Internet broadening our marketing potential, it’s tempting to forget about the importance of marketing your business locally.

Whether you plan to establish your business in your hometown, or you intend to eventually outgrow your local area and become a global leader in your field, these tips will help you get your brand out there in your community.

brand awareness local communityLocal citations game strong

If your company’s success depends on custom in the local area, you must prioritise getting your business to appear in local search results. Make sure that your business comes up on all the local business listings available, prioritizing listings that you know locals use most in your area. Local citation sites abound, and the various options come with their own pros and cons which depend on numerous factors. Once you know which site will be the most effective for your business, it makes sense to devote most of your energy to SEO for this particular website. That said, avoid putting all your eggs in one basket—Google should always be on your list of primary citations, but you may also have success on lesser-used sites like Yelp, Bing, Foursquare and even Linkedin. You’re also missing a trick if you haven’t searched for your competitors to see what local citations they have targeted their SEO efforts on. At the very least, you want to ensure you’re covering those bases, and ideally coming out tops.

Do good deeds

One of the most effective approaches to building local brand awareness is to assist your local community in important ways. As a local business leader, you’re in a strong position to emerge as a well-known figure in your local community. Speak to local charitable organisations and social workers to identify the most pressing needs your community has, and work out how your company can help.

When you’ve done your research on what your community requires, it’s time to set about devising a creative way that your business can make a real contribution. Donations are always amazingly helpful, but they are only one possible way that your business can be of help. You and your team may prefer to roll up your sleeves and be more hands-on in your approach to community upliftment. You could also fund a community festival or host a fund-raising event that raises awareness for a cause that is in line with your brand values.

While the issue at hand will be the focus of the event, don’t hold back on displaying your brand—everything from tear-drop banner flags to Corporate Cakes are great ways to show that you care. Of course, it may seem a little cynical to display your company logo at a charity event, it’s important to take the opportunity to make your community aware that you are willing to show up and do your bit. This is a great way to demonstrate that your business is not only concerned with your bottom line, but you also want to support locals in need and make a worthwhile contribution to your community. Research demonstrates that consumers are more likely to patronize businesses that support charities. A massive 99% of customers will opt to buy from a company that donates to local causes, over a company that retains all of their proceeds.

Brand identity

If you’re seeking out ways to foster trust in your business, brand identity has a crucial role to play. Especially if you want to get your brand out there in the local community, it’s important to start with a strong brand. That way, your local efforts towards brand awareness with be based on a strong foundation. Whether you’re marketing your business through social media, a pop-up banner campaign, or in other ‘real word’ ways, it’s crucial that your brand’s copywriting, logo, colour scheme and images all point towards a consistent brand identity. To achieve a cohesive brand identity, it’s recommended that you bring a branding agency onboard to help you make sure that your email communications, marketing and website accurately convey your vision and brand values. A water-tight brand identity is one of the things that sets established companies apart from less ‘legit’ seeming startups. 

Rack up positive reviews

The idea that word of mouth matters these days may sound dated in comparison with more complex marketing strategies, but research has repeatedly shown that customer feedback (of the positive kind) has a strong impact on how trustworthy your brand is perceived to be, regardless of how creative or compelling your own marketing is. Other research suggests that we often underestimate the importance of verifiable opinions and experiences when it comes to consumer decision making. Whatever market you wish to break into, soliciting customer reviews is an excellent way to generate trust in your brand. This is even more important in the local market, as word tends to spread very fast. Before you know it, your brand could be either endorsed or slandered by the local community. 

When it comes to racking up reviews for your business, it’s crucial to adhere to a couple of well-known best practices. For example, you should never pay for reviews, as customers tend to sniff these out fairly easily, and will be put off you’re your product. What you can—and really should—do is actively solicit reviews from your customers. Emphasize to them that you are genuinely seeking sincere feedback to help you improve your product or service. Not only will genuine reviews bolster your brand’s local reputation, but they can help you improve the service you offer.

Having your review section loud and proud on your business website is a great way to encourage customers to give you feedback. You could opt to solicit feedback via email or in person at the point of sale. Remember to emphasise quality over quantity—a couple of negative reviews can quickly tarnish your brand’s reputation. If you do land an unfortunate a negative comment, it helps to treat it as an opportunity to connect with a customer and correct their experience by hearing their grievance and doing everything you can to make the situation better.

Be a local networking superstar

The importance of networking for business success and advancement is not groundbreaking, but it’s a good idea to remind yourself of this from time to time, especially if you’re interested in marketing your business locally. Showing up at a networking event might be the last thing you want to do after a hard day’s work, especially if you aren’t clear on the pay-off for your out-of-hours efforts. As a business leader, you know better than anyone that time is money. You can’t afford to waste time networking unless you’re guaranteed a concrete pay off in business terms.

They key to making it work locally is to be selective about which local networking opportunities you decide to show up for. Before you RSVP to a networking event, do your research to find out whether it will offer the types of opportunities that your business will benefit from. If your target audience will not be in attendance, simply do not go. Secure in the knowledge that you are not missing out on anything crucial, you’ll also be saving your energy for the events that will actually count.  Less is undoubtedly more in the networking game. Instead of turning up to every available event for a quick meet-and-greet, you’d do better to attend fewer events and make a genuine effort to connect. 

If you’re just getting your feet on the ground with your business, getting your brand out there in the local community is crucial. These tips will help you promote your company locally.

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