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Operating a local business is often even more challenging than running a usual business, an already very difficult task. While operating a local business throws up a lot of unique challenges, it also presents a variety of unique opportunities. We all know people who will buy locally sourced products whenever they can, and this is an increasingly common feeling in many parts of the UK.

In order to make the most of the opportunities that operating a local business presents, you will need to market it in the right way. Marketing a local business effectively requires a very different approach to marketing a chain or larger retailer.

Utilise Social Media

Social media is by far the most important marketing platform available to modern businesses. There are numerous ways of using social media as a marketing tool. For example, there is one consumer survey which shows that more than 90% of consumers now consult online reviews before they make final purchasing decisions. However, knowing that customers use online reviews is only half the battle, you need to be able to generate reviews and put them in front of potential customers.

One of the simplest ways of getting more reviews of your products and putting your business in front of more potential customers is to utilise your social media channels. Social media is a great way of putting updates in front of both loyal and potential customers; those updates might as well be examples of positive reviews.

Another excellent way of using social media as a powerful advertising tool is to work customer testimonials into your marketing efforts. Customer testimonials give your marketing a more organic feel, something that is especially effective when promoting a local business. In fact, when you are promoting a local business, whether you operate B2B or B2C, if you are hoping to sell to local people and businesses, you need to find ways to connect with them.

Some businesses are uncertain as to whether their target demographic will make enough use of social media to make investing in advertising on social media worthwhile. However, with the demographics of social media users constantly shifting, and a significant portion of the online population using social media in some form, there really is no reason to not embrace the potential on offer.

Social media is the ultimate platform when it comes to brand awareness. There are a multitude of tools and techniques available to businesses who want to use social media to target specific demographics. If you put up physical adverts or pay for advertising on radio or in a publication, it is relatively simple to control the audience who will view it. This kind of targeted advertising has previously been very difficult and expensive in the digital space, but social media has changed that.

Generate User Reviews

You won’t be able to make the most of your social media pages if you aren’t generating any user reviews to share. Remember, if a customer has a positive experience with your business, they may well come back and use you again. However, what you really want is for your most satisfied customers to go out there and tell all their friends about your business. This is how you will drum up interest and expand your business as fast as possible.

If your business operates any kind of loyalty or reward scheme, look for opportunities to offer your users rewards and incentives for leaving reviews. For example, you could include a review form on the confirmation page for any online orders, and then offer to automatically enter participating users in a raffle for a variety of prizes.

Alternatively, you can encourage your customers to leave their reviews on your social media pages where you can easily respond to them, and they can potentially start conversations. Using your social media page as a review platform is a great way of generating interactions between customers, and therefore fostering loyal relationships with them.

Customised Number Plates

You may well have seen customised number plates on cars before, but have you ever seen them used to promote a business? If your business operates any vehicles in public areas, consider adding the business’s name to your vehicle’s number plates. This is a very simple step to take, but it can make a considerable difference to the amount of exposure that your business receives on a day to day basis.

Any motorist in the UK can purchase a customised number plate, for example through one of the top provider’s britishcarregistrations.co.uk. There are only a few restrictions on what you are allowed to print on a personal car registration plate. Obviously, you aren’t allowed to include anything rude, but it’s unlikely you’d want to put anything controversial on a business vehicle. As long as your number plates are unique, you can register them to (almost) any vehicle you like.

Work with Other Local Businesses

The effectiveness of your marketing efforts can be greatly enhanced if you are willing to work with other local businesses for both of your benefits. Forming a marketing partnership makes it possible to stretch your marketing budget much further than would otherwise be possible. The key to making a marketing partnership with another business successful lies in identifying the businesses that are most suitable for forming a partnership with.

Many businesses enter into a marketing partnership with another local business simply because it is convenient to do so. This is not an efficient approach to take and leads to businesses squandering what should be one of the greatest marketing opportunities available to their business.  Businesses that you partner with don’t have to be in the same industry or field as your business – whatever they do doesn’t even have to be directly linked to what you do – but there should be a reasonable overlap between your customers.

Partnering with a business that caters to demographics who will have no interest in your products and services won’t be very effective. It is also important that whatever business you do partner with is one that your customers can get on board with. Don’t pick any business whose values or tactics conflict with your own, or those of your users.

Give Your Website Local Appeal

Your website is like your digital storefront. It is here that you lay out your business and what you do for the world to see. If you are hoping to drum up local interest, you should try and include sections that will be of interest to local people. This can include a blog that keeps customers informed of news relating to both your business and the local area in general. Make sure that you keep your website regularly updated, and that you advertise its existence around the local area. By generating more traffic to your website, you will increase the amount of exposure your business receives.

In order for any business to succeed, it will need an effective marketing strategy. Promoting your local business in the right way is a crucial step in achieving the maximum possible level of success. Customers can’t take their custom to a local business if they don’t know that it exists. As long as you approach your marketing strategy in the right way, you can make a local business every bit as successful as the larger retailers who operate nearby.