10 ways to boost your local profile
Whether you’re a not-for-profit organization or a striving-for-profit small business, local profile is essential – not just to attract the right customers, but also to attract top talent, business partners, sponsorships and support.
Even in a smaller community, maintaining a steady presence in the market can be expensive. Advertising, direct mail and other traditional cost-centres of marketing have their place, but can be strengthened with many low-cost methods. (Not to presume that investing time doesn’t come at a price, but it may be more accessible than cold hard cash.)
Our team has brainstormed 10 pretty smart and simple ways to boost your local profile without breaking the bank.
1. Volunteer. Yep, we’ve said it before and we’ll keep saying it. Volunteering is good for the soul, and great for business too.
2. Support a charity. A few marketing dollars go a long way with a non-profit, and it’s easy to support charities in other ways too, such as group events, or promoting their good work to your customers.
3. Community engagement. Most municipalities – particularly Guelph – put a strong emphasis on public engagement as a means of city building. Have your say in future policies, network with some great people, and better understand the workings of local government.
4. Network. If you’ve joined the Chamber of Commerce (and you should) or are part of other business networking groups, get active! Sure, it’s a whole lot of cut veggies, cheese cubes and grip ‘n grin effort, but your next opportunity could be at the next event.
5. Stand out with signage. Our great big red ‘M’ has been an incredible investment in community presence. We could’ve put up another flat sign, but for the same budget we chose to differentiate.
6. Social media. Yes, it’s a time-killing effort that can be ineffective without a strategy. There are plenty of terrific articles online to help guide your strategy (or, hey, WE can help!). Define your approach, put the effort in, and you’ll be on your way.
7. Media stories. Local editors welcome business profiles from time to time. Or, to really stand out, issue news releases that draw on your expertise to offer tips or commentary on current events. Before you know it, they’ll be calling you for a quote.
8. Free seminars. This is an age-old strategy because it works. Nothing is as effective as an opportunity to really engage with your market and share your knowledge.
9. Collaborate. Most organizations can identify like-minded businesses or groups that target your market, without directly competing for their business. Consider a collaborative marketing project to share customers and costs.
10. Ask customers. The people who have benefitted from your product or service like being asked for their opinion about the best way for you to market, and are usually flattered to participate in a quick phone survey or be invited to an evening focus group. The feedback will be golden.