Are networking and community building some of your favorite things to do as a small business owner? If so, you’ve got a huge advantage over the competition. And if not, don’t worry; we’ve got some great tips to help you market your business by getting to know the people in your neighborhood.
1. Network with Enthusiasm
When you get out there and start meeting the people who live near you or your business, you’re able to get to know your potential customers and business partners. Anyone you meet could become the source of a sale or a referral, as long as you’re a friendly and honest person.
Just by making conversation, you might meet potential vendors or suppliers of products or services you want to sell under your brand. And of course when you become a friendly, familiar face in your neighborhood, friends can become customers. These friend-customers will look forward to buying and recommending your products or services, whether you have a storefront or you do all your business online or at home.
2. Nurture Your Community
Repeat business is key to the success of most businesses, and repeat customers are most likely going to be found in your community. “Community” might sound like a daunting word, but all you need to do is look at your street to see what other stores and residents are located around you in order to see who you can reach out to.
Keep a finger on the pulse of community events, and volunteer to help out. You might even consider holding your own events in the community for a chance to get your brand out there.
3. Trade Promotional Power
Small communities thrive and become healthy when business owners can communicate and cross-pollinate each other’s businesses with paying customers. It’s hard to be out there by yourself, and it’s no fun! So get to know other business owners, especially those who aren’t direct competitors in your niche.
Choose some businesses with products or services that you believe in, and form a pact to inform each other’s customers when one of you is running a promotion. You can start a group Facebook page to make communication between trusted business owners a no-brainer.
When another business is running a promotion, let your customers know about it. That way your customers will benefit by being informed of a sale on a great product or service. Likewise, you will broaden your own customer base when other businesses send their customers your way when you’re offering a promotion.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Competition
As you reach out to your community members, you’ll be able to learn who is in your corner and who isn’t. There are some people you’re not going to get along with, but that’s to be expected. You can’t take it personally.
Either way, get to know them! Watch what they’re doing, what they aren’t, and strive to do better. Being friends with your competition can be both fun and a learning experience. You can get ideas from each other, and even run competitions among your employees. The fact of the matter is, competition is a part of life, and it can help you be a better business owner if you let it.
5. Social Media = Free Marketing
As a small business owner, the word “marketing” might make you feel worried about the money you don’t have to spend on it, but the great news is that, these days, so much can be accomplished for free online. You can start a blog and a newsletter to draw in readers who are interested in your journey.
You can also choose the right social media platform for your business. Get online and look at what your competitors are doing with their social media pages and see what customers react favorably to and what they ignore. Chat with other business owners and customers to get the word out about your business, and also to find out what kind of social media events drive sales.
No one ever said that owning and running a business is easy. By putting yourself out there and meeting people, you’re going to learn new things every day about yourself and your business. With every conversation you’re going to get better at marketing your small business.
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