Ask any business owner and they will agree that more and more customers are looking to shop local. Increasingly, people want to support their neighbours, connect with nearby businesses and make life more convenient. This new mindset and the rise of e-commerce has created the perfect opportunity, even for digital businesses, to grow their businesses locally.
Connect with local businesses to create a pop-up shop
Do you sell homemade jam? Dress shoes? It doesn’t matter. Try finding a local home-grown business that targets similar customers to your business. Are their brand values aligned with yours? If so, try connecting with the business owner to offer the opportunity to have a pop-up shop in their store for a weekend. This can help form a strong business connection, and increase your visibility while gaining new customers for both businesses.
Reach out to local newspapers and influencers
Some local newspapers are willing to create an article about you for free if you simply reach out and ask. You can also advertise on social media with the help of local influencers. Try going on Instagram and searching for popular locations in your community. Review the top posts, and see if you can find a local Instagrammer that you can connect with. More often than not, offering a free product and a simple ask to “post only if they love it” will be enough to get your product on their feed. Taking it further, you can provide them a promo code to post with the image of your product. That way you can track the post’s success, while providing the influencer something valuable to offer their followers.
Take photos of your product in local hot spots
Try bringing your product to popular local spots and take photos. Do you have a cool café that students love close to your business? Take a photo of someone wearing, holding or demonstrating your product in that location and post it online, tagging the business (they may even re-post). Make sure to always tag the location, and the businesses in your posts to increase visibility. This will help with organic searches and it will help grow your social presence while also showing your commitment to your community.
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Offer a “thank-you” discount code to promote repeat business
With every local purchase, offer a shareable discount code. When mailing out your product to every customer try including a “thank you” postcard with a discount code that the customer can re-use or share with their friends and family. This will help win the next sale. A photo of your postcard may even wind up on social media. This not only attracts new customers, but can potentially offer you free advertising.
Offer a free gift with purchase
Notice a large purchase coming through either in-person or online? Try adding a free gift with purchase like a free t-shirt with your logo, or a small product that you sell in store. This will “surprise and delight” your customers, grow brand loyalty, offer free promotion and give your big-spending customers the chance to try new products.
Participate in local events
Try contributing to and attending as many local events as possible. Does your community have local business awards? Markets? Networking events? Make sure to support these events and attend whenever possible. Even if you don’t win or sell anything the first time, your brand is still getting exposure and possible word of mouth attention. Small actions can create a huge difference and before you know it, your local business could be the talk of the neighbourhood.
Never forget the power of perseverance. Connect with businesses, influencers, and locals.
Attend events, and meet other like minded entrepreneurs. Listen to advice, take calculated risks, keep pushing and you will be on the path to obtaining local success.