In today’s digital age, we have the ability to connect with people all over the world. While it has its obvious advantages, it’s easy to forget the loyal customers right next door! Given, many companies operate best in their local areas. Today we talk about small businesses and how local businesses can use tools to their advantage! According to a 2017 study by the ICSC, 89% of adults in the United States shop at small businesses (2017). Shopping small and local businesses is so much more than celebrating Small Business Saturday, too. How do you regularly connect with your customers? According to Kennedy in her editor’s letter for the Dallas Market Center magazine, the “small business momentum” keeps customers returning to their favorite local businesses (2012).
Using Word of Mouth to Your Advantage
Word of mouth marketing is a great way to connect with your community! In the ICSC study, they found that Generation X is the most likely generation to shop small businesses (2017). Think about what we know about generation X (roughly those born between 1965-1980): they are still working and active in their communities often with their children. What’s more, the number one reason for shopping at small businesses was their desire to help the local community. People want to help their communities if given the chance, and you can capitalize on that chance by meeting that desire!
Think about Where You’re Located
While we’re focusing on local business, it’s important to understand your local area! Think about if you live in a rural, suburban, or city area, and think about what that means for your customers. Are you located in an area where there’s a lot of busy traffic at certain times of the day or week? Do you have seasonal offerings where your revenue increases noticeably? Do you serve more tourists or locals? These are all questions you can ask yourself, and then tailor your offering to meet those customer needs.
Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities
Most towns have some form of networking events and opportunities.. You can meet many people at conferences, expos, and even networking happy hours! Be sure to always carry a few business cards with you, and you’ll be surprised at how many clients you can make by developing positive relationships with others in your community.
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Of course, when we talk about networking, we have to talk about social networking. Be sure you have a good website to ensure people can find what they need when they search for you (Kennedy, 2012). Approximately 45% of all shoppers use social media to influence their decision on whether to shop at local stores (ICSC, 2017). With these kinds of influences, it’s important to keep up with one or two social media accounts regularly. In addition, social media advertisements are a great way to get inexpensive exposure for your company. Especially as a local company, be sure to include an address button so people can quickly Google Maps their way to shop! Local news channels are always looking to feature small businesses. Whether you pay for a news feature or invite the channel for an interview in your location, you can gain great exposure. Camera shy? No problem! Most local news channels feature some sort of calendar or paid advertisement so you can advertise on their website and get more customers!
You’re more than a small business--you’re a local business that helps build up your community just by being present. With that, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of all of the perks of being a local small business! Looking for more small business advice? Contact Adam Kae & Associates today for a free consultation!
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Kennedy, C. (2012). “Shop Small” Gains Momentum. Gifts & Decorative Accessories, 113(10), N26.
Small Business Shoppers Support Physical Stores and Communities: Local Eateries are the Most Popular. (2017). Industry Conditions, 1–6.
Rosen, C. (1986). Expanding business. Society, 23(3), 50-55.