The internet has given even the smallest local business huge opportunities for growth, if your business is currently based in your bedroom you could, in theory, attract customers from anywhere in the world! This gives businesses today massive benefits and advantages, but it doesn’t mean you can just forget about your local customers either.
Despite the benefits and advantages of the digital world we now live in, the fact of the matter is most businesses will still need the support of local customers to survive. Unless your business is very niche such as event staffing services or as a very strong digital presence, you’re not going to be able to sustain yourself on international customers alone.
But attracting local customers can be a bit of a conundrum for businesses today, many businesses are so focused on the digital platform that they forget about the importance of local customers. So, to help you start getting locals through the door or on your website I’ve outlined five common mistakes most businesses make.
When you know what the mistakes are you’ll know exactly how to avoid them and what to do instead. Attracting local customers is easier than many people think you just need to approach it in the right way.
Not Using Local Social Media
OK social media is a powerful tool when it comes to promoting your business on a global/ international level but that’s not all it can do. Social media is also a great way to attract local customers as well and you can utilise it in many of the same ways as you would when attracting international customers to do it.
Search out local groups on sites like Facebook or even any local influencers and market your products directly to them. By doing this you can get in contact with potentially hundreds or even thousands of local customers and market your products/ services to them. Don’t be pushy about it but don’t be afraid to talk to locals either.
Not Catering To Your Local Audience
If you want to attract local customers then you need to tell them why they should spend their money on your goods/ services. So, you need to be clear on why your business is different, what do you do or offer that a competitor doesn’t?
Do you use local ingredients, do you support local groups, or do you offer something unique no else does? Find your unique selling point (USP) and market that to your local audience so they can see what makes you different. This will help you stand out from the crowd and help build local support.
Not Asking For Their Support/ Feedback
This seems simple, but many businesses won’t do it! If you want support from your local customers then you’re going to need to ask for it. Now some people might not enjoy asking this, but you really shouldn’t be afraid to.
You don’t have to be overt or blunt about it though there are many ways you can ask people to show their support in more subtle ways. Encourage happy customers to leave a review or to share their experiences with friends and family. You could even implement a reduction or discount policy for anyone who refers your business.
Never underestimate the effectiveness of word of mouth when it comes to attracting local customers. It’s one of the oldest ways to attract customers and promote your business in your local area and it still works today. So, when you provide an excellent service and have happy clients encourage them to share those experiences with others.
Not Using Local Advertising/ Marketing Techniques
One of the prime mistakes many businesses make when it comes to attracting local customers is that they simply don’t put much time or effort into local advertising or marketing techniques. Things like posters and leaflets can be seen as pretty old fashioned by many people nowadays but they are very effective when it comes to attracting local customers.
Combine these promotional methods with something like a local sales event and you have a recipe for success! If you’re running a clothing shop for example and want to get more local customers through the door setting up a promotional sale and putting posters around heavily populated or popular areas to advertise it can give your business a big boost.
You can also enlist the aid of other more old-fashioned techniques like advertising in your local paper or magazines. You can of course, still use digital platforms as well but when it comes to attracting local customers don’t underestimate how effective the more old-fashioned techniques can be.
Not Getting Your Face Out There
If you’re the owner or head of your business then you will need to get your face out there, you don’t want to stay hidden in your office or behind the scenes if you want to attract local customers. You’ll need to get your face out there and actually talk to people, yes you might have the staff to do the majority of customer-facing roles for you but that’s not an excuse to stay hidden.
Get out there and talk to people, introduce yourself as the head of the business and talk to people about what you provide. You could even talk at town or city meetings to introduce your services and inform people about special offers and sales.
Yes, it can be a little scary, but every business owner/ manager will need to get comfortable in front of a crowd, building a more personal connection with your local community will help a lot when it comes to attracting more local customers and support.
So, that’s five different ways your business can attract local customers and help build a strong relationship with your local community. We might be living in a digital world these days but that doesn’t mean you can forget about the people close to you. Local support is still essential to any businesses survival so get out there and meet your neighbours.