Small Town, Big Business: How to Market Your Startup Locally

how to market locally

You just brought the business of your dreams to life, but you’re just not interested in opening up shop in a sprawling city. You’d rather trade in the pricey rent and taxes for somewhere more affordable and less densely populated, like a small town. There, your dream of running a startup where everyone knows your name and where your business can be a local fixture can finally come true!

However, let’s be practical about the reality of your arrival to a new neighborhood. Customers may be hesitant to visit simply because they don’t know anything about what you have to offer. A lack of foot traffic means you might go through a few months of middling sales — but that can all change with the right marketing approach. Make and leave your mark with these tips that’ll encourage the community to warm up to you and your business.

1. Put a plan of action together

What can you offer that will make a big impression on locals and encourage them to visit, make a sale, and spread positive word of mouth? Strategize your goals and objectives for your target audience and its market and tailor them specifically for a smaller area. In between planning for ways that your business can get involved with the community and establish a presence, focus on what makes your business special and highlight what sets it apart instead of blending into the crowd.

2. Create a unique, consistent logo

Consider your storefront for a moment. What makes it memorable? While the primary goal for a brick and mortar business is to draw customers inside, they might be hesitant to make the first move when they don’t know anything about you. One of the best ways to advertise what you do and leave behind an impression that sticks? Create and trademark an original business logo.

If you need some design advice, our personal tips include keeping the design and color palette simple and consistent to brand your company and easily convey its message. The logo should be able to translate across all mediums including on your website, packaging, and marketing materials and using the same colors helps establish trade dress to further distinguish your product and company. From snagging the attention of window shoppers to giving your shop some built-in recognition, your logo brands your business more than you might think it does!

3. Advertise in the local newspaper

In the era of blogs and Facebook advertising, placing an ad in the newspaper may seem antiquated and unnecessary. Before you judge too much though, take into consideration that local papers have loyal readers. In small towns especially, these readers are looking for news on what’s happening with their local government and community announcements about new store openings and upcoming event celebrations. Take out and customize an ad to give your startup some early buzz and great local press!

4. Meet and greet with the locals

Ultimately, the most effective marketing tip is the one where you get up and go outside to meet and greet with members of the community. Here are just a few ways you can make your welcome to the neighborhood a warm one:

  • Host an open house for your new business. Offer freebies and raffle giveaways, bring in a food truck and some live music, and encourage everyone in the community to bring their friends along for the event.
  • Head to a networking night to mingle with other professionals or local events where potential customers may be. If you’re not sure what events are coming up, inquire with your local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Take your business cards with you wherever you go and strike up a conversation with passerbys. Even if you’re waiting in line at a coffee shop, you can still introduce yourself with a friendly, enthusiastic attitude that’ll encourage everyone to visit you and get to know more about you — and your business — one-on-one.

 

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.