The majority of small businesses are confined to a limited geographic area. Most organizations of this size are local companies and must necessarily focus all of their resources into one town, zip code or neighborhood within a city. To do otherwise, especially in parts of the country that are isolated from other urban areas, would be wasteful when a company has a very limited marketing budget to begin with.
Marketing efforts that are attempted when a business is just beginning its life should immediately focus on that small community. More importantly, they should establish an organization as a valuable and integral part of a local area. This can be done in a number of ways. Consider the following suggestions when starting a local marketing campaign.
There are variations to be expected that depend on regional preferences and cultural heritage, but by and large, all communities have seasonal events. There might be summer celebrations, patriotic holiday gatherings, winter festivals or even commercial expositions. Regardless of their specific nature, these events should be a priority for any small business just learning to fly. First and foremost, these gatherings will show locals that an organization has invested the time and energy to understand its community.
Another important benefit that these events provide is to introduce small business owners to other community figures. It is likely that other businesses and groups will realize the importance of such gatherings and attend accordingly. Get a feel for the key figures in an area and begin to make contacts.
If a small business owner is from a town, it is easy to recount that area's history and implicitly acknowledge it in marketing and community outreach efforts. If the owner is a newcomer, she should humbly mention that she is still learning about the legacy of an area while still paying tribute to it as best an outsider can. Insular areas have a great deal of fierce pride for their historical figures and the efforts of previous generations. Get in tune with this by visiting the local library, striking up conversations with community leaders and simply talking to the locals.
It is one thing to pay lip service to the flavor and stories associated with a community, but actually helping that area may be the most important effort to make of all. Discover which non-profit groups are the most prominent and do the most good in the eyes of the community. Small businesses that make a real difference and use some of their resources for things other than themselves will be in good esteem with a community.