One of the best ways to grow your business is getting your local community to buy local. Here’s our guide for how to do it.
How To Encourage Your Local Community To Buy Local
With a little effort, you can get more of the local community to buy from you, here’s how to do it.
- Online - Customers usually do some research online before making a purchase. List your products online so customers can see if you sell what they want. Even if you’re not selling them online, having your products listed there can help bring traffic into your store.
- Website - People expect businesses to have a website. You can either build your own or hire a professional to do it for you. Make sure to include a blog that you will post to frequently. Consistently adding relevant content to your website keeps it fresh, gives people a reason to visit, establishes your expertise, and can boost your search engine rankings. You can also provide home delivery service (free if possible) and add a "buy online pickup in-store" option to your website to make it easier for people to get their purchases.
- Press Releases - You can submit digital press releases to online platforms or your local newspaper. Most papers will publish your press release in their print newspaper and on their website. Press releases can be either big news or just a simple reminder that you’re open for business. Participate in activities, such as community-based events, that would be newsworthy and generate good PR with a press release.
- Social Media - Most people use social media. They also frequently use their cell phones to look for businesses near them. Pick a couple of social media platforms, and start interacting with your community there. Some ways you can engage with your customers are by offering contests, discounts, or sharing special offers on your social media pages. If you don’t have the time or energy to manage your social media, it can easily be outsourced to a professional.
- Video - Search engines love videos and YouTube is now the world’s second-largest social media platform. Starting a YouTube channel is free. You can also share videos on your website, blog, and other social media pages.
- Online Directories - Google and Bing offer free listing services (Google My Business and Bing Places for Business). Yahoo charges a fee but also lists your business in MapQuest, Yelp, WhitePages, and about fifty other places online.
- Chamber of Commerce - Chambers of Commerce serve local businesses. They usually provide educational resources, networking opportunities, and a local membership base. Joining the local Chamber of Commerce lets you make connections with other business owners, meet new potential customers, or even develop partnerships. Being a member of your local Chamber also gives your business added credibility in the eyes of local customers.
- Customer Experience - This is what you have the most control over, and your best opportunity to encourage people to buy from your store.
- Providing excellent in-store customer service.
- Have an easy-to-use website. Most customers visit a website before going into the physical store, so make sure it’s a good first impression.
- Get to know your customers’ shopping habits. Most people will go online to compare prices, read reviews and get inspiration before making purchases.
- Use data to develop customer insights and technology to automate processes like figuring out your highest value product and what’s bringing in the most margin to give you a better understanding of your customers and products. Automation gives you back time to spend on the business.
- Uniqueness - What’s your business’s unique value proposition? Highlighting your unique qualities is essential when it comes to helping people choose your business. What makes your business special? Maybe you donate part of your sales to charity, or you offer special discounts for other local businesses. Whatever makes you different is something you need to communicate to customers.
- Community - Loyal community members routinely support local initiatives and you should too. No matter what local events you choose to engage in being active locally will build more recognition, and make customers more likely to support your business.
- Offers/Discounts/Coupons - Offering special discounts for in-store purchases is a great way to get people in the door. Share special offers, coupons, or discount codes, on your social media channels that can be redeemed in-store. This keeps people engaged on your social media and drives in-store traffic.
- Loyalty Program - Loyalty programs are an inexpensive way to keep customers coming back. It can be as simple as handing out punch cards and rewarding people with a punch when they make a purchase.
Want to know more about local marketing? Read our article, What Is Local SEO? or contact us.
Tags: buy local, strategy