It seems like the vast majority of information online about how to get more business is all directed towards ecommerce sites. These sites are typically trying to market to a wide geographic area that may include the entire city, the state, nationally or even internationally.
However, trying to find out information about bringing in new customers and leads for a local business that wants to stay local is a bit more of a challenge. There are some simple, low or no-cost options to boost your businesses visibility in your own community, allowing you to connect with local residents and people that work in the area to develop a more robust customer base.
Remember, when determining how to get more business on the local level, customer service and building relationships is going to be critical. Look for ways to welcome customers, to get to know them by sight or even by name, and to provide opportunities to add value to their lives to build loyalty to your brand.
Use Local SEO Tools
About 45% of people use a mobile device to look for a business, product or service when they are out in their community. It is essential to make sure your business shows on Google my Business, that you are on the listing of mapped businesses for easy directions, and that all your contact information on these sites is correct.
You should consider setting up Google my Business, a Yelp account and be listed on the city or community online directory.
Get Involved in the Community
Contributing to the community is always a way to get your business noticed. This can mean volunteering at community events, sponsoring a community activity, donating to charities in your area or even taking on the role of organizing a grass roots type of event, charity or cause.
You don’t have to do everything or spend a lot of money to do this. However, if you can tie your contribution into your brand and your business, you will be recognized. Perhaps consider sponsoring a 5K run for a cause and have your brand on the t-shirt or provide bottled water with your brand on the label.
Join or Start a Local Business Association or Group
Another way to focus on how to get more business is to reach out to other businesses that are in the neighborhood. This allows you to plan special neighborhood events, sales or activities. With more businesses involved the cost goes down per business, and you can take advantage of the increase in traffic to make new connections.
If there isn’t a neighborhood or community business group, consider starting one. It can be as simple as opening up your business for a coffee and donuts meeting in the morning once a month or perhaps meeting at a local restaurant for a dinner meeting one evening a month. Guest speakers from different businesses are an effective way to bring in members and to build networks for planning and learning about local businesses to develop cross-selling opportunities and make referrals.
Host a Focus Group
If you aren’t sure about how to get more business, talking directly to customers or potential customers in a focus group can be a very enlightening experience. You can invite a select group of people to participate in this group.
Offering a meal, a free gift, or another incentive is a nice thank-you and will help to ensure you get full participation. You can hire a facilitator for the meeting or do it yourself, but remember you will ask questions and then get feedback and ideas on what your business can do to offer more to the community. It is important to be receptive and open, so if criticism is difficult to hear hire a facilitator and then wait to get the report.
How to Get More Business with an Open House
Even an established business will see an uptick in sales with an open house. Plan activities or demos, have some giveaway items that are branded, and offer discounts for select items or across the entire inventory.
Have a guest book and collect names and email addresses for people interested in getting your newsletter or your weekly or monthly specials email. This is a terrific opportunity to also encourage people to connect with you on social media, allowing you to easily provide them with information, sales and marketing campaigns in the future.