Whether you buy into a franchise or you launch an independent small business within your community, the truth is that you’re catering to a local marketplace with distinct geographic boundaries. Although the franchisor will certainly help franchisees with marketing materials, every business will have to tailor advertising efforts to their local audience. And regardless of the type of business you run (supposing you have a real-world presence, as opposed to an online-only operation), you’ll likely find yourself looking for unique ways to advertise at some point. Luckily, there are all kinds of creative ways to promote awareness of your business within the local community, as well as increase visitors and sales in the process. Here are a few strategies to try.
- Demos at community gatherings. One great way to make consumers within your local population aware of your presence is to get out into the community to meet people. And you can do this by attending and/or participating in street fairs, job fairs, charitable events, and other public gatherings at which you might advertise your presence. Depending on the type of business you have, you could use these opportunities to demonstrate your products or services and potentially earn yourself new customers in the process.
- Geo-targeting. While much of your local advertising budget might go towards real-world marketing campaigns (i.e. print, radio, and television ads, for example), you can actually do a lot in the online arena to market yourself to consumers within your geographic region that just happen to get most of their information from virtual sources. And one great option is to engage in geo-targeting in concert with your SEO or online advertising efforts. When you attach tags and titles that help to direct local inhabitants to your company’s online counterpart, you will likely see more visitors and patrons at your brick-and-mortar location, as well.
- Pinterest community pinboards. While Pinterest has so far restricted overt sales tactics via their social media platform, there are certainly creative ways for businesses to advertise through their Pinterest accounts. One innovative option is to create community pinboards in association with your business. In addition to posting photos of your business or your products, you could set up a pinboard for photos of the local environs submitted by community members, just for example, engaging prospective customers and creating personal relationships that lead to professional advantages. Best of all, it’s free!
- Cross-promote. When you operate within a set geographic region, you’re bound to face competition. But you’ll also find that there are myriad opportunities to team up with adjacent businesses, pooling resources to create unique promotional campaigns that bring more customers to both parties. If, for example, you run a local salon, you could partner with nearby bridal shops and florists to offer discounts to brides seeking multiple services.
- Get off the beaten path. It’s not always easy to come up with creative advertising strategies, but you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. For example, you could pay drivers to advertise via stickers on their rear windshields. Or you could hire an AirSign service to skywrite messages to your customers. You could even offer “flocking” services. Just as your local animal shelter might place flocks of plastic flamingos on lawns around town for a fee (i.e. pay to flock your neighbor!) as a gag to raise money for their wards, you could offer flocking related to your business as a means of raising awareness of your brand. If you’re willing to think outside the box, there are unlimited ways to advertise locally.