It’s a scary statistic; 3 out of 4 small businesses ultimately fail. While there are many factors that determine success or failure, most small businesses don’t have any local marketing plan. That means that they don’t have enough local visibility, they don’t have a plan to attract new customers and they have no way to promote their credibility and value.


You would think that with all the experience and knowledge that entrepreneurs have accumulated over the years and the online communication and research tools now available that the percentage of small business failures would ultimately decrease.


Apparently, that hasn’t happened. Why?


The simple answer is this: most small businesses don’t have a marketing plan. They decide one day that they are going to start selling products and services. They open a store and wait for people to show up to purchase whatever it is they’re selling. As a result they never have enough customers to make money. The result is that the cost of doing business ultimately exceeds the amount of revenue they receive from sales. They run out of money and go out of business.


If you own or operate a small business selling products and/or services locally you must do 3 things well to survive and grow.


  1. Increase your local visibility.
  2. Have a plan to attract new customers.
  3. Develop relationships which promotes credibility.


Why these three things; it’s all about marketing.


Visibility + Value + Credibility = Profitability


Why increase your Local Visibility?


Local marketing is all about increasing your local visibility. If potential customers don’t know you exist – they aren’t going to purchase whatever it is you’re selling.


The simplest, most powerful and cost effective way to increase your local visibility in our world today – get your business listed everywhere you can online.


Here are the facts:


  • Almost all consumers use the Internet is some way to shop locally.
  • Consumers who find a local business online 50% more likely to visit that store soon.
  • There are hundreds of very powerful websites where you can list your business.


Simply increasing your local visibility isn’t enough to survive and grow your business. You must use that online visibility to attract new customers.


Why have a plan to attract new customers?


Effective local marketing must include a plan that clearly helps you define what it is you are doing for your customers. Consumers are in control of the marketplace. They can research, shop, compare options and make purchasing decisions online without ever leaving home or talking to a sales representative.


If you don’t know what to say to a potential customers when they ask you why they should buy your products and services – you need to consider doing something else.


You wouldn’t intentionally purchase a product or service you knew you weren’t going to be happy with – neither would anyone else.


The simplest, most powerful and cost effective way to attract new customers is to use your website to tell them about yourself and the product and services you sell. Content you post online works for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 day a year.


When you post content online you are developing brand recognition and  establishing yourself and your business as the local experts. The content you post online can answer consumer questions, define your the products and services you sell and convey the value of purchasing your products and services. Ultimately this content attracts new customers.


As you start to gain more and more customers, you can start developing relationships.


Why do you need to develop relationships?


Local marketing is all about effectively communicating with your customers. When you communicate effectively, you start to develop relationships. When you develop relationships, you turn satisfied customers into loyal customers. Loyal customers then become brand advocates and subsequently your best salespeople. They promote your credibility and value.


These local customers will generally be glad to give you feedback and may offer to write an online review. Don’t be afraid to ask for online reviews. Don’t ask people to create fake reviews under any circumstances, nor should you set up a computer in your store for the purpose of getting people to write online reviews for you from a single location.


Instead, provide people a business card with a link to a click through “Landing Page” with links to review sites, coupons, social networks and more. You can also provide signage within your office or store with a QR code to the same landing page.


A click through landing page is single online page that is designed to quickly direct visitors to information they may need or want and that you want to help them obtain quickly.


Author: Jim Merrick