Being an entrepreneur can be hard. The to do lists get longer and sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why thinking locally is a good idea. Having a loyal, local following allows you the flexibility to do business both in person AND online. You also get more chances to bond and build trust with your customers. By building a local name for yourself aka starting small…you can grow without losing your original clientele. More and more places will want to do business with you. You will thrive. This optimism is what’s going to propel you, to drive you to be better.
#1 Customer Service
One of the best ways to promote your business in real life is to provide excellent customer service. Customer service is all about listening to their unique needs and doing your best to meet and exceed them whenever possible. Word of mouth and referrals only happen when you do good business. Don’t disappoint. If they are not satisfied, offer a solution. Don’t let them leave empty handed. Try offering incentives so they’ll want to post a positive review.
#2 With Touches
Marketing is a 7-9 touch process. People will see or hear your name 7-9 times before they buy into your product. Everyone is different and maybe you’ll win some right away. It’s important to know that the market is more saturated than ever. With attention spans shorter than ever, touches will help you build your brand. Touches cover all types of marketing. If you’re promoting on social media, doing events and using fliers and yard signs, someone could be exposed to your brand multiple times a day.
#3 Stay Connected
Online promotions are a great way to make business transactions happen. There are so many platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Alignable, Snapchat, Pinterest, Linkedin, etc. You can also use free services like Mailchimp to send out email blasts and make a blog with WordPress or Wix. The key is knowing how to use each platform to suit your needs. You’ll want to switch up your marketing approach too. Social media allows for you to keep your customers up to date in real time, while your website and email blasts will show what makes your brand unique.
You can also encourage foot traffic on social media. You don’t just want likes, you want them coming through your door. Whether they are already checking in from Facebook to your location or you are the one trying to get them in…everyone will be able to see that your business is the place to be! You want to get their attention with as few words as possible. If you’re unsure what you want to say…look what others in your field are doing. How are they using these platforms to build their brand? Take stuff that you like and leave what you don’t like. Don’t be afraid to be bold and even funny if it works for what you’re selling.
“OMG…It’s so hot! Stop by 8-11 today free Glurpees.”
“Calling all fashionistas…flash sale on all athleisure from NOW to 9PM! Even our designer king/queen joggers are half off! Yassss!”
“Bring a friend and get half off your massage! Then go downstairs and enjoy free sundaes! #friends #BFF”
#4 Talk Business
Bringing up your business or product mid convo can feel dangerously uncool. When you’re around friends and family, all you want to do is just chill and enjoy their company. Who wants to be that sales girl or guy who can’t stop talking about their amazing plant fertilizer or sneaker app? No one. Still, eventually you’ll notice that a topic will come up that’s related to what you’re selling.
Like, suppose you sell a vegan protein powder. You’re working out with friends who won’t stop complaining about how crappy whey protein makes them feel. You ask them more and more about what they are looking for in a protein powder. They just want to feel strong and energized. Boom! Now’s your chance to propose a solution. Instead of whey–your protein is powered by plants and leaves people feeling their best. When you ask questions, you put focus on them, not your products.
That way, you just happen to have the solution. It doesn’t look contrived and you made them feel special. You addressed their needs. Next time you’re in a social situation, don’t be afraid to plug in your product in. Better yet, try wearing your own apparel or bringing something edible that’s made with your product. Turn every compliment into an opportunity! The worst that can happen is they say “no thanks” or make fun of you but who cares? At the end of the day, we all gotta be paid!
Whether you like to be around people or not, you have to eventually meet your customers in one way or another.
“Wait…what?! I’m in business for myself because I’m an introvert.”
Just look on the bright side. Now you don’t have to spend all day in an office full of long meetings, politics and ridiculous water cooler talk. How you spend your days are up to you. If you want to sacrifice a few hours weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly, that’s up to you. Events are a great way to promote your business and no matter how small you start…growth is inevitable. Plus, it’s good for the brain to get out and try new things.
So what kind of events can you do? Events are supposed to be fun and community oriented. Some examples are: paint runs, charity races, paint and sip nights, parties/balls, and open houses. When at the event, stay engaged, asking how you can help. You always want to come from a place of giving instead of asking. What you want is for people to speak positively about you and your brand. A great way to do this is by winning their trust. You’re here to make the world better…not worse.
You can design fliers for free on Canva and then take them to local businesses. You don’t need to say much, just drop by with a smile, be friendly and say that you want to leave some fliers. You can also offer to cross promote and take their fliers. Try coffee shops, community centers, fast casual eateries, gyms, daycare centers, churches and other popular gathering places. You can also think about where your customers like to go. Craigslist is a great way to post your flier virtually.
#7 And finally, there’s those yard signs.
Next time you’re at a stop light…observe. You’ll notice signs are all over the place but where’s yours? When designing your sign, make sure your business name and contact information are clear along with what you do. Your sign will be concise, to the point and easy to read. Put the signs up in the early morning or late at night when no one is around. It’s best to keep things mysterious, making people wonder “how did they get there?”.
Drive around your area and see if you spot some good spots to put your sign. It’s trial and error, so don’t overthink things. Also, don’t take it personally if the signs eventually are removed. It happens all the time. Avoid crying if they go missing from the strip of grass in the middle of the busiest intersection. Your life isn’t over. What matters is persistence. Carry on and keep planting signs!
And whatever you do…don’t grab the sign and start spinning and dancing like you’re at an 80’s themed party. You will look the fool unless your business is the circus.