Tag Archives: Local Marketing

11 Easy Local Marketing Ideas (Part 3)

8. Engage In A Conversation With Local Contacts Using Social Media

It seems that no conversation about marketing these days can be complete without the discussion of social media. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Gowalla, FourSquare… the list of tools seems endless.

While there is simply not enough room in this short article to explain everything about how to use social media, here are some useful rules to remember:

  • It’s all about opening relationships, not about closing sales. Engage in conversations and try to really get to know the people you’ve met through social media.
  • Each tool gives you access to a different slice of the population. Make sure it is the (“slice”) you’re going after as your customers.
  • Master one tool at a time. Once that one is working, delegate /outsource it and add the next one. Rinse and repeat. Trying to get all of them going at once will kill you. Besides, mastering just one tool may be enough for you to create a comfortable inflow of prospects for your business.
  • First and foremost, figure out how you can target new contacts / friends / fans / followers based on their geographical location. It can be done. However, each tool is different and most of the training out there doesn’t pay much credence to this very important issue.
  • Budget your “social media” time. Set that kitchen timer to 30 minutes, and when it goes off, you’re going to send out that last chat, close that website and get on with your “normal” work.

9. Create an Advertising Co-op With Other Local Businesses

Befriend a few local businesses that target the wallet of the same customers as you do and come up with a way to advertise all of them together while sharing the cost of advertising. Say, you go ahead and buy a larger ad in the newspaper than you normally would and then use that space to run several smaller ads: One for yourself, one for the butcher, another one for the bakers, and a yet another one for the candlestick maker. Or consider your own in-house version of Val-Packs that you manage and hence don’t have to pay a premium on (in fact, your ad could be free because you put in the sweat equity into managing the co-op).

10. Offer a Daily Deal

Now that Groupon has become so big and powerful that they can turn down two multi-billion-dollar buy-out bids from Google, not a day goes by that we don’t hear about a new “daily deal” site trying to carve out a piece of that pie. With daily deal sites mushrooming around the Internet, you have a variety of options available to you and, with some of them, certain negotiation power. Only do a daily deal on the terms that will allow you to provide good service and maintain your brand’s reputation.  Create a mechanism of capturing the contact details of your first-time guests and have a “bounce-back” offer ready to bring them back the second time. Remember: You don’t have a customer until they’ve bought from you twice.

11. Develop a Network of Local Centres of Influence

Somewhat similar to #9, this tactic allows you to leverage the client / customer base of other local businesses. However, in this case you are going to sit down with a few friendly businesses and create a formalized referral agreement between all of you. A good example would be a real estate agent, a mortgage broker, a lawyer, and an interior designer, etc creating a “team” that takes care of all aspects related to a real estate transaction.  A marketing consultant could work with an accountant, a graphics designer, and a computer technology person. A restaurant, a local baker, a “loot bag” store and a wine-making place could provide a complete “birthday package”. I could continue but I’m sure you have a few ideas by now that you can start implementing in your business.

Now that you have read these 11 Easy Local Marketing Idea, which ones are you going to implement this week?


Small Town in Texas Uses QR Codes to Save Money, Increase Tourism, and Manage Projects

QR (Quick Response) Codes are a relative novelty on the North American continent. However, in Japan, they have been around for over 20 years and have been successfully used for… like, everything. They are just a part of everyday life.

This is about to happen here as well. (You could be reading this post just a few months after I have created it and it may all seem old news by then.)

While many businesses are looking for more ways to use QR Codes in their marketing, here is a great example of a local government using QR Codes creatively and smartly to save money, attract more tourists to their town’s landmarks, and better manage their projects.

What makes QR Codes so useful is this:

  • Everyone can generate them free
  • Everyone can read them, also for free, with their cell phone
  • And you can assign practically any function to it. After all, all you need to do is associate it with a link to a website, and then the website can do whatever you want)

We are going to be covering a lot of ways to use QR Codes in small business marketing. Some examples will be obvious and some less so. If you come across a great example, or have a personal success story to share about how you use QR Codes in your small business marketing or operations, drop us a note and we’ll be happy to give you a moment of fame on this website.

Local SEO: People Talk About You Behind Your Back!

FACT 1: Google has built a website for your business.

FACT 2: Because Google built it and Google is hosting it, this website probably attracts more visitors than your “regular” website.

FACT 3: If you are like 98% of business owners out there, you didn’t know about that and you didn’t claim your website.

FACT 4: And since you didn’t know about this website and didn’t claim it, it’s anyone’s guess what type of information is on it and what type of reputation this website creates for your business. People quite literally use that website to talk about your business behind your back and you are not privy to that conversation.

FACT 5: These (largely orphaned) websites are called Google Places.

See, Internet marketing is no longer about someone sitting at their London office and drop-shipping a container from Beijing to a customer in San Francisco. I mean, this type of stuff still takes place online. But it’s no longer the “main thing”.

The “main thing” now is much more about:

  • A local soccer mom checking out pizza deals to see where she could take Johnny after his game so he could replace the calories he’s expended on the field…
  • A Dad looking up the store hours of operation and the fastest route to get there because the kitchen sink is leaking and needs a new washer…
  • Or someone with a tooth ache looking which dentist could see him the fastest.

These are examples of how Internet is being used today. It is important that we understand this.

And Google understands this too. And so do Yahoo and Bing. Now if you type “chiropractor toronto”, Google assumes (correctly!) that it’s a local search and it gives you a bunch of results from Google Places that are local to you.

See, if you are looking for a chiropractor in Toronto, you wouldn’t want to see a chiro from Singapore at the top of your search, even if that chiro had hired the best SEO (Search Engine Optimization) consultant in the world and has the most “optimized” site on the planet. Google will try to show you the results that are local — and hence more relevant — to you.

The fact that Google pays so much attention to local search, and Yahoo / Bing play catch up but are rapidly moving in the same direction, changes how the online marketing game is played. And every time the game changes, it gives you a chance to profit in a major way but only if you act fast.

How do you spell OPPORTUNITY?

11 Easy Local Marketing Ideas (Part 1)

Here are some easy-to-do local marketing ideas.

1. Lawn Signs

Put a sign outside your store or in the window of your office and provide some sort of incentive to lure the passes-by in. This could be a coupon or an offer to receive some valuable free information. Think about using a QR Code on that sign. These days, almost everyone walks around with a smart phone in their back pocket.

2. Cork boards

Print out a simple flier with a tear-aways at the bottom. Make it easy for your prospects to take the information about your offer with them. Now take these fliers to local community centres, hockey arenas, libraries, swimming pools and anywhere where there would be a “community” cork board. Who said local marketing has to be super high-tech?

3. Give Away Flyers for Other Businesses

And have these other businesses give away your flyer to their customers. Once you set up a deal like this with one business, go talk to one or two more. Then rinse and repeat. Imagine how many people a bunch of local businesses can send to you.

4. Create or Sponsor a Contest

Contests are fun and are usually hugely profitable. The best part is that the topic of the contest doesn’t really need to relate to what you do. They position your business and you as an active member of the local community and offer great opportunities for media placement. Pumpkin Carving contests, Best Halloween Costume contests, Karaoki contest, you name it… Just make sure to get the schools and local community groups involved and don’t forget to distribute a coupon or a special offer that everyone that shows up to the contest may partake in.

Start with these easy local marketing ideas and will give you a few more next time.