Every business needs customers to survive. This is more apparent with local businesses that rely on foot traffic mostly – if you do not get enough customers in your store, you shut down.
Branching out to the online world is no more an option. However, thousands of local business owners keep hearing daily that
- “You need to have a website!”
- “You need to be active on social media!”
- “You need to have a list of emails and do email marketing!”
These tactics may sound awesome, but ask any local business owner to implement them and you end up with failure and disappointment.
Here is what’s good with local businesses, apart from livening a community and contributing to their local area – they foster good relationships with their customers. People recognise the owner, trust the business and make frequent purchases. This is way harder when your business is purely online.
As a local business, here is what we would recommend you do, to generate leads locally:
Step 1: Participate in local events
Most towns, cities and neighbourhoods host local events and festivities. This is your chance to be seen, interact with new faces, and make new acquaintances – aka local leads.
This is your chance to shine.
Make sure you have:
a. A stall with your brand plastered anywhere.
b. Apparrel that features your brand
c. Mini catalogues that you can give along with any free samples
d. Free samples
e. A contest ready to run during the event
f. It goes without saying that you need to register all these people that come in contact with you and get their names and emails
If you have no budget to rent a stall, there are some creative ways you can bypass the high costs:
g. Find an exhibitor that sells complementary products (i.e. if you sell coffee, complementary products are books, pastry, art and whatever else you think may fit) and either convinces them to give you a bit of space OR give them a free product to give away to their customers during the event.
h. Alternatively, work with them to bundle together their products and your products in a contest, so that people will add their name and email with a chance to win big (i.e. 2 bags of coffee and a book). Each of you will share their info for your email marketing later.
Step 2. Create partnerships with other businesses
Same as above, but without the local event. For example, let’s say you are a dental clinic. What could be a complimentary service that you can refer people to? Hmm, let’s think – oh found it! You could provide a voucher for a free Spa, hair treatment, or eye check to any of the local services nearby.
But wait, this post is on how to generate local leads, not how to refer people to others.
Well, in the same manner, the hair salon, the spa, and the optician could refer business to you – they just have to give their clients a complimentary dental check (valued as much as you want). This way they give added value to their customers, and you get more people coming to your way.
Step 3: Create Revenue Share With Local Media
Rather than paying for ads for newspapers (who are reading newspapers these days? Anyway) try to contact local bloggers, journalists, directories and newspapers and strike a revenue share deal.
The way it can work is that they will write or say a few things about you, and if they have the infrastructure, they will get the leads and you pay them per lead referred. Jay Abraham, the legendary marketer used this technique with a topical cream called IcyHot. He called every newspaper, every radio station and every magazine and tried to negotiate a revenue share. He eventually strike gold with some of them which would advertise it for free, got all orders, keep their percentage and then forward all the rest to the product owner.
If this can work for cream, I do not see any reason why not to work with other stuff.
Step 4: Add your business to local-focused directories & listings
This one is exceptionally easy. All you have to do is find directories and business listings that focus on your part of the town and add your business, your product or services, your email and your telephone numbers there. A couple of examples are Yelp, Google My Business and Craigslist but there are a hundred of others. Yes, you will be contacted by sales reps who will try to convince you to pay a premium “for added exposure” but in our opinion, this is just a waste of money.
At the end of the day, your customers will only look for who you are, what your services are, whether you have an email and you respond fast if you pick up the phone and oh – your reviews.
Step 5: Optimise your local listings and directories with 5-star reviews
These services were made to help local businesses attract customers. Ok, not really, they were made to help you spend your hard-earned cash on advertising your business to them, but you can use them as such.
If you have customers, asking them to post an honest review on any of your listings would be beneficial. This goes against most of their rules, but if you incentivise them to do so but giving them a discount, a free gift card, a voucher, or a free product or service – you will add a happier and a bit more eager customer.
It goes again without saying that if you go way above and beyond to service the customer, and the customer feels like a king, he/she will leave a good review anyway.
Step 6: Generate local leads using quiz funnels
The final thing you can do is create a quiz funnel. People love taking quizzes for fun, for education, to uncover problems and find out solutions.
With a quiz, you will need to create an ad on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Yahoo or Bing – even on Quora or Yelp.
All you have to do is target the area you want, run an ad with a link to the quiz and some catchy tile like “Which Yogi Are You” (if you own a Yoga studio for example) and start getting leads.
People will see the ad on a local level (i.e. around your neighbourhood) and will start clicking the ad and taking the quiz. In a matter of days you will start generating names, emails and replies to the questions you asked – so that when you follow up or add these people to your remarketing audience, you will send them customised answers to their pain points.
Let me clarify with another example. Let’s say you are a health coach for women over 50. The questions will you ask, will pinpoint the exact problems that face women over 50 i.e. “do you have high blood pressure” or “have you or your family ever suffered a cardiac attack” etc.
When you get these answers, you categorise them and create different segments- i.e. anyone who answered “My current weight is over XXX” will be receiving a call or another ad or even a voucher for a free weight plan or something.
It is really simple – it’s the mechanics that are a bit complicated and business owners who want to create quizzes themselves fail not only in the questions to ask but also in how to segment and follow up. That’s why we recommend having an expert do your quiz and ads and create the funnel to get not only leads but high-quality local leads that generate revenue.