Local business marketing and sales techniques often find themselves as uneasy bedfellows. We hate the S word when it comes to the local community.
Plus, sales can be incredibly colour-by-numbers. There are a lot of blogs and eBooks out there that talk about magic formulas and so forth. Sales leaves a lot of us with a bitter taste because it seems like high pressure tactics and manipulation are the way forward.
For those of us who care about our customers and our connection to the wider business community as well as the places we leave, pushing and cajoling people seems like a terrible way to approach things.
Sales blogs often talk about what plugin you are using or how to capture email addresses. It’s about being insanely visible and being intrusive.
But if you, like me, don’t really like having to punch down pop ups to get to content marketing you want to read or seeing someone on every marketing channel all the time makes you queasy, there is hope.
In fact, there are quite a few of us that aren’t suckers for marketing or want to find our next guru in amongst the people who sell us stuff on Facebook.
Here’s some real, authentic ways to generate sales if you’re not really into over promotion and leverage those local business marketing activities in a way that makes you feel comfortable
Define what makes you special
Back in the old days, we called this defining a unique selling position or USP. Now it’s more inflated and broad and encompasses lovely concepts such as personal branding.
The message is still the same: you need to know what makes your business special and communicate it.
There are plenty of people who aren’t running around with mile high billboards promoting themselves the same way everyone else is doing. Actually, most the guys who stand out tend to be different to the cross armed parallax or needlessly attention seeking. But that’s probably for another time.
Anyway- think about what makes you special. Ask yourself a few key questions:
- What is it about my business people like the most?
- What is it that makes my product or service better than the next guy?
- What are the key traits that define my customer service experience?
- What problem do I solve for my customers?
- What is it about my business in this town or suburb that I can enhance as part of my local business marketing tactics?
From here, you’ll begin to see what makes you special. It doesn’t have to be some breakthrough either.
We often forget the little things that we do that make us stand out. But it is these things that are the most powerful.
So go on- ask yourself what makes you, you. What makes you special when it comes to local contributions and how the community responds to you?
Then apply it to your business.
Stay true to yourself
My goodness, it’s super popular to try and fit in these days! I mean everything thinks they are being edgy and cool by swearing all the time.
Or talking smack talk about how they are livin’ the dream and totes passionate <insert super gross YOLO giphy here>.
Honestly, could there be a bigger follow the leader approach to business than being the business rebel that everyone else already is? Yikes.
But here’s the thing- your customers are humans. And humans like to connect with things they think are authentic and a reflection of their values, ideals and who they are. So if you pretend to be something you are not, sooner or later, you are bound to be found out.
This is especially true when it comes to local business marketing efforts and activities. Local business marketing requires you to be genuine and easy to relate to. People want to know that you are on their level and part of their community, not too cool for school and unapproachable.
You can be quirky, stand out, be different and be awesome. But within your community, not in spite of it.
Instead of setting yourself up to topple like a bad cardboard house the minute your branding and appearance doesn’t match the reality of your business experience, be yourself.
Avoid falling for trying to be the cool kids or following the trends. Be the brand, the business and the experience the customer expects. It builds more trust and word of mouth in the long run anyway.
One of the biggest mistakes I see on business websites and marketing material is when businesses forget to encourage action.
You have to tell your audience what they should be doing next!
Give them that click through to the next page that’ll help them make a decision. Ask them to contact you. Entice that sign up so you can reach them with a newsletter latter.
It doesn’t have to be like a cheesy sales person, battering your customers over the head with million pop ups either. It can be as subtle, joyful or educational as you like.
But always let your customer know what the next step you want them to take with your business is meant to be.
If you want them to know you are local to the Illawarra or whatever area you live in, also make this fact known.
Use your contact sheet to display more than a PO BOX. Add a map (Google likes this too for rankings!). Have a “friends of” page to share like minded local businesses. Utilise content marketing that cements your bond with your local area. Highlight any and all work you do with the community such as donating prizes, competing in fun runs, having students visit and so on.
Incorporating channels that demonstrate what your customers should do next and how you fit into the scheme of things will help your local business marketing shine.
Build trust and action
Once you have someone committing to your email list or your sales database, this is your time to shine. Make them feel welcome and bring them to the fold. Remind your customer that you are adding value to their experience.
Some of the ways you can bring extra trust and action to the relationship are:
- Know the local area so your local business marketing efforts seem genuine. Customers are suspicious of businesses that fly the local flag but lack basic knowledge and community participation. Walk the walk!
- Stay true to your word. This means setting realistic deadlines and working to the budget you provide
- Look for opportunities to delight your customer. If you can add a little extra to the experience without the customer asking for it, it can be incredibly powerful
- Be prepared to overcome objections. Be patient with your customers. They don’t know your industry as well as you do and are relying on your to educate them
- Having strong boundaries and clearly defined goals. Saying yes and doing whatever the customer wants doesn’t work in either of your favour. There has to be respect for the guidelines
Taking the time to ensure clear lines of communications and that you actively seek out opportunities to support your clients is worth its weight in trust.
Learn the art of upselling
There are a lot of sales tactics that lack finesse and this area is surely upselling. But you don’t have to jump up and down like an excited Jack Russell to get the next sale.
One of the simplest ways to let someone know you care about their business is to provide a proposal with optional extras. Yes, quote on what the customer wants. But also let them know you have thought about their business.
Let them know you have considered the potential for other ways to help them. And be transparent about it.
Local business marketing via upselling can be as simple as:
- Adding additional line items in a proposal in the “additional extras” section
- Discounting a unit rate for buying in bulk
- Offering a maintenance service that supports the business after you’ve done the critical work at hand
- Breaking your services into daisy chained offerings. Like web content to blogs or web design into the matching email newsletter and social media banners
- Becoming friends with other local businesses to team up on promotions and product offerings
If you already have a happy client bubbling along, it doesn’t take much to encourage more of a relationship.
The real way to generate sales through local business marketing
There are a million and one courses, pre-packaged forms and bright ideas you can take on. But the best way to sell anything is to be comfortable doing it.
If you don’t want to be the telemarketer that interrupts someone’s dinner, don’t be them. Or if you think content marketing works for you even when everyone around you is saying the heyday is over, keep writing.
What works for you doesn’t have to work for the next guy. And that in itself is the secret to lasting sales.
Your business needs to be marketed the way your business needs.
It really is that simple.
Need a hand with your local business marketing? Get in touch now!