Whether you are building a small business with ready capital, credit or a small business loan or investment, keeping a tight rein on your budget is vital for long term success. With all the marketing ideas floating around, it might be hard to choose what will be most affordable and effective. Experience shows that local marketing fulfills both those requirements.
A Handshake and a Smile Still Wins Big
This doesn’t mean you go around politician-style and grin at everyone you pass on the street and tell them about your business. Instead, get involved with local business community, talk to other local business owners, mentor entrepreneurs at the community center, write articles for the newspaper or business circulars in the area. The idea is to become known and respected in the community. Carry business cards with you wherever you go and don’t be shy about hanging them out if asked about your work.
Networking Spreads the Marketing Message
Organize cross-promotion opportunities with fellow business owners. If you sell printed t-shirts, maybe the man who runs a scooter store would like to offer some scooter t-shirts to his customers in exchange for you handing out an advertisement or coupon for scooter rental. Host local events where business owners can come together and discuss mutually-beneficial arrangements.
Become a Benefit to the Community
Build those all-important relationships between business and community by getting involved and giving back. Run a booth at street fairs and local carnivals. Sponsor a kid’s sports team or other organization. Donate products or services to community groups, schools and churches.
Keep it Local Online Too
Local marketing for small businesses is not all about visibility in the community. The largest concentration of consumers is on the internet and you need to focus on attracting local attention there as well. Use keywords that incorporate your town or state name. Post on local message boards or start a community site yourself.
Marketing with a small budget can be a challenge for even the most creative small business owners. Once effective and appropriate local advertising and networking opportunities are identified, getting more funding from a source like AFN can push your company toward even greater recognition, respect and profit.