To say that small business ownership is fraught with challenges would be an understatement. Between money management, client relations and active recruiting, many small business owners have quite a bit on their plate. However, while these particular facets of business ownership are certainly important, finding effective ways to promote your enterprise is equally essential. Even in smaller communities, you can’t simply expect people to flock to a business with which they’re unfamiliar. While drumming attention in a small town is arguably easier than attracting customers in a major metropolitan area, this isn’t a task to be taken lightly. Fledgling entrepreneurs looking to generate interest in small town businesses can benefit from the following pointers.
Create Locally Focused Web Content
In addition to updating your business’s website on a regular basis, you’d do well to produce new content for it on a consistent basis. Not only will this help bolster your search ranking, it will provide regular visitors with incentive to keep coming back. Furthermore, if your enterprise exclusively caters to a specific city, township or state, the content you produce should reflect this. Not only will locally focused content help connect your enterprise with a local audience, it will help give you a leg up in local search results. Needless to say, rising up the ranks in local search rankings is considerably easier than boosting your ranking on a national scale.
When crafting blog posts, feature articles and other forms of locally focused content, make a point of inserting search terms and keywords that are likely to connect with a local audience. Terms like “affordable graphic design in Ladysmith, WI” or “best burgers in Antioch, IL” can prove effective at directing local search traffic to your website. However, you’ll also need to avoid keyword stuffing – i.e., excessively plugging keywords into your content. Not only will this make your content seem disingenuous, it also stands to draw the ire of Google and other popular search engines. If you’re found to have engaged in keyword stuffing, don’t be surprised if your ranking takes a tumble.
Be Present at Local Events
Attending events frequented by local business leaders can be a great way to make your presence known in a small town. Local fairs, job workshops and dedicated networking events all represent prime opportunities to connect with other entrepreneurs and build valuable contacts. Additionally, if these events are open to the general public, consider producing some promotional items and distributing them to attendees. For best results, make sure these items are of some practical use to people. Custom engraved pens, tote bags, notepads and hats are all solid examples of promotional items that recipients are likely to get a fair amount of use out of.
Purchase Ad Spots in Local Media Outlets
Although online marketing is undeniably the way of the future, there’s still a lot to be said for traditional media outlets – particularly in small communities. Furthermore, depending on the nature of your business and its target demographic, going the traditional route may serve to better connect you with your intended audience. So, if the crowd you’re hoping to reach skews older, purchasing ad spots on local television and radio outlets may prove worth your while.
While it’s hard to deny that print media is on its way out, many small town newspapers have continued to do reasonably well. This is due in large part to newspapers being the only consistent source of local news in communities of a certain size. If this describes the locale in which your business is based, buying ad space in your newspaper or other local circulars is likely to be a smart investment.
Small business owners have to wear many hats. In addition to acting as recruiters, mediators and supervisors, many fledgling entrepreneurs need to play an active role in promoting their enterprises. While this can certainly prove difficult in larger areas, it isn’t exactly a cakewalk in small towns, either. As many business owners have discovered, a lack of competition doesn’t necessarily mean a slam dunk, especially for enterprises that pertain to niche industries. Instead of simply assuming that prospective customers will discover your business on their own, why not take steps to make the existence of your enterprise known?