Your business model is strong and you know your business has a lot to offer. However, you are facing one big obstacle. Your business is in a small town and there’s a huge city right next door that feels like it casts a shadow over your location.
Marketing in the “burbs” is not always harder than big-city marketing, but it does have to be more carefully planned. Here’s a look at some steps you can take to compete even though you’re in the suburbs.
Establish Your Business As The Local Expert In A Niche
When your business is located in a small town that is near a large city, it is easy for your business to be overlooked since consumers may have a tendency to go to the larger city in search of supposed experts. Therefore, it is important that you are able to establish yourself as a worthy and reliable expert in your niche market right from the beginning.
If you’re like most business owners, you are quite familiar with your field of expertise. However, the key here is to understand how to effectively communicate that to your target consumer base in a way that saturates the market and makes an impression.
For example, it is much better for small-town business owners to establish themselves as an expert in their niche by showing and proving their capabilities. Basically, any marketer can create an interesting tagline and make it sound good, but what your customers are looking for is the evidence of actions to back up those words. The following next steps will help you do just that.
Build Your Local Reputation
If you’ve been sharing your expertise, you may have already started building your local reputation. Three key factors to remember about establishing yourself in a small town is this: Your target market should know who you are, like who you are, and trust you as a brand. But more importantly, they should know where you are. A few good ways you can achieve all this is to:
Be present at local events (e.g. a sporting goods business owner attends and supports fundraisers for local youth sports teams)
Make a formal introduction for your business using local venues, newspapers, radio, etc.
Host an event at your place of business, such as an open house or free seminar
Ramp Up Your Website’s Blog
Your business blog is one of the most valuable ways to demonstrate your expertise in your niche. According to TechClient, small businesses with blogs actually generate 126 percent more leads than those that do not have one. Prospective customers can easily stumble upon your blog pieces while searching for information related to your business, service, or product. When content pieces are tailored specifically to your local target audience, they can make a good impression.
For example, you are the owner of a hair salon and the prom is coming up in a few weeks. You know that clients will be looking for information about trending prom hairstyles. A blog filled with concise language, reliable information, and good imagery can help to establish you as an expert in the beauty business.
Build Your Social Presence
Social presence is perhaps one of the biggest factors when it comes to marketing your business effectively, regardless of where you are located and the size of that location. However, for a localized business in the proverbial shadow of a larger city, social presence becomes even more valuable. A strong social media presence can help a business make an impact far beyond the town where it’s located.
Bourbon Cellar is a great example of a small business that thrives near a large city. It is located in Shelbyville, IN just outside of the much larger city of Louisville, KY. This company uses Facebook’s live video functions to share shots of their location and tasting events, which garners a lot of attention.
Please note not every business is right for social media, so please do your research before starting.
Share Expertise Where It’s Noticed
A second example of establishing yourself as an expert is simply to share your expertise in places where it will get the most positive attention from your target audience. A good way to do this is to be in places where your potential customer would likely be. For example, if you are opening a new auto parts store in a small town, consider attending local car shows or trade events. This gives you the opportunity to interact with your prospective customers and supply advice or information about not only what you sell, but what makes your store/service unique.
Closing Takeaways to Remember
You can compete when the big city is close, you just need to look at your marketing efforts from a different perspective. The value of being involved in your local community cannot be understated as to the positive impact it can have on your business.
More importantly, don’t forget the power of “word of mouth” and the benefits you can leverage from the big city. As you know, there are commuters who live in your town and work in the city. Make sure they are satisfied customers and they will likely recommend your business to their co-workers. Before you know it, you could be attracting those city dwellers to your location.