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Megan Rutherford: Sales and Marketing Column

Megan Rutherford: Sales and Marketing Column
Megan Rutherford has a diverse background in sales, marketing, and public relations. She has 15+ years of experience in helping small businesses grow their unique markets. Certified as an inbound marketer, Megan specializes in internet & email marketing, search engine optimization, social media, and more. Offline activities include direct mail marketing, public relations, and event planning.

Resources for Local Marketing

Resources for Local Marketing

Small businesses have a wide array of resources to turn to for local marketing. A well thought out plan for local marketing can increase brand awareness and sales, and doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are 11 Top Resources for Local Marketing:

  1. Participate in Local Events- While a sponsorship may be the cost of admission for this, it may be worth it to gain recognition in the local community. Well marketed events typically earn good community participation and make good business sense. A few ideas include local trade shows, golf tournaments, charity events, and much more.
  2. Join the Local Chamber of Commerce- This provides businesses with many opportunities to network with other businesses, attend ribbon-cutting ceremonies and grand openings, gain strategic partnerships, and get listed in the Chamber of Commerce Directory.
  3. Turn to Direct Mail- Consider sending out postcards to customers or purchasing a mailing list that fits your target audience. There are a wide variety of direct mail companies online that will help with designing the postcard, printing, and mailing.
  4. Optimize Your Google My Business Listing- It’s easy to claim a Google My Business listing and allows you to update a website URL, photos, hours, closed holidays, and more.
  5. Get a Yelp Listing- Easy to set up and no cost involved, unless you are advertising. Having a listing will allow you to respond to reviews, interact with customers, and confirm all business details.
  6. Run Ads Online- Targeted ads through the likes of Facebook and Google allow for a business to target customers right in their own backyard. Ad campaigns tend to pay off with immediate results depending on how the ad is structured and ad budget allotted. Just scroll through your Facebook feed and try not to find a Sponsored Ad.
  7. Think About (and ACT on getting) Reviews- Yelp, Google, and Facebook all provide a business with more credibility when reviews are left and increase search engine ranking. Develop a system for your business to ask for reviews from customers.
  8. Local TV is Not Dead- See about getting a business spotlight or other affordable opportunities that may be a good fit for your business.
  9. Partner with Other Local Businesses- A complimentary business that targets the same audience yet offers a different product or service can be a great business partner and a mutually beneficial relationship.
  10. Have Business Cards, Brochures, and Flyers Available- Not everything has gone digital. Eye-catching material with a special offer and contact information can stay in prospects hands for a long time. A business can also distribute these to other non-competing stores and offer to reciprocate by having their marketing material in your business. Coffee shops and other locations also have bulletin boards that allow items to be hung up.
  11. Create a Tradition- Many businesses are known for what they do around a specific holiday. Here are some examples: hosting an Easter Egg hunt for your customers, placing American flags around town for the 4th of July, a pumpkin giveaway for Halloween, or giving out pies for Thanksgiving.

Being involved in the community allows for your small business to gain more support and patronage from the community. With a little investment of time (and money) it can pay off, in the long run, to boost awareness and attract more customers through your doors. Your business may already be doing some of these local marketing tactics without even realizing it and adding more marketing items into the mix helps your business grow even more.

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