Most small businesses are built to meet the needs of the communities around them. Many have built a small yet dedicated customer base. But with the easy availability of online shopping and big retailers around them, small businesses can find it challenging to get their message across and attract more customers. Most of the available marketing channels such as online marketing, billboards, TV & radio spots, etc can be expensive to use and complex to navigate. And in seeking high-tech and sophisticated solutions, we seem to have forgotten some simple and easy to community marketing channels. With the holiday season around the corner, these community marketing strategies can be very economical and help small business owners grow their sales and profits considerably.
Partner With Non-Competing Businesses

Study your neighboring businesses and your customer. What else could they be shopping for? If you are the neighborhood convenience store, it is highly probable that your customers are frequenting the nearby salon or garage. Identify some possible partners who are not your competitors and reach out to them. Form a working relationship and create a joint or cross-promotional marketing plan. You can access better advertising platforms working together than on your own, like local TV time or billboards. Pool your resources.

Partner With the Local Newspaper or Newsletter

Almost every city has a local newspaper or newsletter. Partner with them and place informational spots. These spots are very economic. They are delivered to the people who are often your customers. Use this local connection to spread awareness about your business and the service you offer.  More often than not, people prefer to shop within their communities for daily necessities and services. The local newspaper or Newsletter can be a simple way to create a lasting connection.

Hold a Raffle or a Contest

Customers love contests and freebies. Have you noticed how quickly the “samples” vanish? So design a few promotions around raffles and contests. Proactively engage your customers. Try to make the contests unique. For example, you could host an eating contest (hot dogs, noodles, pizza, burgers, etc.) or hold a beauty contests. Contests like this will attract customers and increase customer recall. You might even get mentioned in the local news or newspaper creating even more free publicity.

Adopt a Local Charity or Educational Institution

Charitable activities can add a great deal of publicity to a small business. Partner up with a local charity and support their efforts through donations or labor. You can also check out local educational institutions such as schools and community colleges. See what you can do to help. It could be help a soup kitchen drive or the middle school fund drive. Promote the collaboration to their network and yours so that it creates a win-win. This positive collaboration will help you create a lot of goodwill that will translate to increased customer loyalty and profits.

Keep your Website Relevant

Big or small, almost every business has a website these days. The trouble is that they are often cluttered and out of date. A website can be a great tool for promoting a business, if used wisely. You need to make sure that the website is current and reflects not only what is currently happening at the store, but also any future events or promotions. This will keep the website relevant and help promote the business.

Don't forget to make sure that your customers have a fun, positive experience. Business owners, especially small and medium ones, often do not adequately plan ahead. So if there is increased customer traffic, they are not prepared to deal with it leaving customers harried and unhappy. Plan ahead, hire a few extra hands, and make sure that every customer who comes in feels appreciated and taken care of. These are the experiences that a customer will remember, return for, and recommend.

Do you have suggestions that can be added to this list? If so, comment below!


 
 
Below is an article by  Gregory Ciott (www.helpscout.net) which gives some great insight about how a business owner, small or big can create loyal customers. It is a good informative read and I have provided only the introductory paragraph below. The link to the article is provided below that. 
By  Gregory Ciott
It would almost seem comical to limit something as important as customer loyalty to a single defining factor.
It would seem even more ludicrous to claim that there is "1 defining thing" that creates superstar customers who become self-appointed advocates for your brand.
It would seem comical: but that's before you consider the research on the matter that definitively says there is ONE essential element to creating loyal customers.
Do you know what it is?
If not, you're about to find out!
Revealed: The Social Construct that Holds Society TogetherStay with me here, you're not about to read a treatise on the rise of civilization.
The #1 thing that creates loyalty in anybody (that includes your customers) is the social construct of Reciprocity.
Reciprocity is a social norm that's been evaluated and debated since the days of Aristotle, and it has been said by many scholars to be one of the single defining aspects of social interaction that keeps society whole.
Why is it so important?
Additionally, how can it help us create loyal customers?

 
 
 
 
Creating a food or drink product to sell to the mass market can be quite challenging but it can also be extremely rewarding and potentially very lucrative. It takes passion, desire and an almost obsessive interest in all things food or drink to succeed in the industry. That is why Clip Creative a London and Nottingham based creative and PR agency have brought together all of their food and drink marketing secrets and experience to create an innovative infographic that explains step by step how the world of food and drink marketing really works. The first stage of the infographic explains that once you have refined your food or drink product you need to let people know about it. Your target audience will vary from consumers, foodies, buyers from the multiples to industry chefs and many more depending on your objectives. Branding, packaging design, marketing and PR is essential in the creation of a successful food or beverage company as this will elevate the brand image and ensure you generate sales and stay ahead of your competitors.
 
 
If you are wonder how to start advertising your business using Google AdWords, the below infographic could show you how. This information can help you to make right decisions while arranging the first steps in your advertising campaign. It shows the first issues you will face and provide decisions.
 
 
Being able to leverage social media for success in business may seem daunting if the goal or path is not clear. Hence,  below is a roadmap that can guide you towards achieving social media success. In the weeks to come I will be posting resources that will be educational & provide more guidance. 
Social Media Roadmap
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