5 Local marketing tactics specialty retailers can easily capitalize on

As a small business owner, you don’t have the resources to market your business like your massive, corporate competitors. But that’s no bad thing. If anything, your small size can be leveraged as an advantage over those bigger companies who have a harder time connecting to their local community. 

You’re a part of your community. It could be where you went to school or where your kids grew-up, but it’s also where you chose to set up shop. So how can you bring the personal touch to your community that a bigger company just can’t? Keep on reading, and we’ll give you some ideas.

If the phone rings, pick it up.

This seems obvious. But, did you know that 62% of phone calls to a small business go unanswered? They don’t go to voicemail either, they just ring, and ring, and ring. Only 38% of calls actually go to voicemail. 

62% of phone calls to a small business go unanswered

Even more shocking is that 70% of small businesses answer less than half of the calls they receive. Yikes! Not answering calls, not returning calls, and not having your voicemail system set-up sends a poor message to your customers. They expect an automated answering prompt and poor service from the big box stores – and this is a simple way to wow them with a better alternative.

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Give your customers another incentive to stay loyal with a customer loyalty program.

69% of consumers say their choice of retailer is influenced by where they can earn loyalty program points/rewards. That means if you don’t already have a customer loyalty plan in place you could be missing out on a large amount of sales, as 58% of consumers also say that they buy from stores and brands whose loyalty programs they belong to at least once a month.

Put together a customer loyalty plan and promote it both online and offline. Make those who have joined feel special by sending out an exclusive newsletter that only they receive filled with special deals, early access to new products, and exclusive sales. Show your customers that you value their loyalty by rewarding it. 

Getting involved in the local community is key 

By sponsoring peewee sports teams, becoming a sponsor for a charity event, using a company workday to volunteer for local nonprofits, or getting involved with your local chamber of commerce – you’ll not only be marketing your business to those in the community, but you’ll be showing them that you’re invested in your community as well. Showing those in the community that you care about them will in turn make them care about and become invested in you and your business.

Also, don’t forget to share your involvement in the community on your social media pages. Nothing crazy or over-promotional required, just enough to show you care about making your community a better place.

Invite the community into your store

No matter what you do, taking an opportunity to invite the community into your store as guests, not just as customers, can be a great move (and a great way to generate some content for social media). 

Whether you host an event for a charity or hold a mixer or workshop for guests to come together, learn something, or try an exciting new product – finding a creative way to reach new people can be rewarding for all involved. Plus with tools like social media and email – it’s easier than ever to organize.

Connect with local non-competitors

Find other local businesses that aren’t quite your competitors and form a strategic partnership with them. You’ve probably seen a restaurant partner with a brewery or distillery for a special event. But this type of strategy isn’t just for the food-service industry. There are surf shops with burrito counters, bike shops with cafes, and more. Where could you shake things up?

It could start as simply as sharing and commenting on each other’s social media posts to boost your reach (especially if you offer a complementary service). Progressing further, you could even consider more active collaborations like product bundles, deals, events, and more. With a little after-hours brainstorming, you can find a number of ways to mutually grow your businesses.

You have a local advantage, use it actively 

How did you use your local advantage last year? Or, have you resisted partnering with local businesses? It’s not uncommon for small business owners to feel protective of their ideas and energy, but establishing deeper roots in your community as a brand can have a powerful impact.

Now, go out and show your community that you’re there for them. We have a good feeling that they’ll return the favor.

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