Over 50% of Americans purchase from a local business at least once a month. There are lots of benefits of shopping local, but one of the biggest reasons why 70% of consumers prefer purchasing from local stores is to support and boost their local economy.
Despite online shopping growing at a staggering rate, we’re witnessing an ever-increasing number of people supporting local businesses. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 80% of millennials have begun to make extra efforts to purchase locally.
And while the demand for local options is higher than ever, the competition is higher than ever as well. If you want to position your local business as credible, trustworthy, and authoritative, you need to build a strong brand that your target audience can’t resist.
Not only does this involve improving your online presence and working on your local SEO but also includes giving back to the community and building positive customer relations.
Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, building an irresistible local brand isn’t something you can do overnight. It’s an ongoing process and you need to do it right.
5 Tips Local Businesses Should Consider to Build an Irresistible Local Brand
To help you understand how to build a strong local brand that endures, we’ve put together five proven tips that local businesses should consider.
1- Build Healthy & Long-Lasting Community Relationships
There’s a big difference between residing in Buffalo, New York, versus Decorah, Iowa.
If you reside in a large city like Buffalo, New York, then the people you may know would probably include your next-door neighbors, friends from high school, and a few colleagues.
However, if you live in a small town like Decorah, Iowa, then you likely know at least half of the town’s population—from neighbors to police officers to restaurant owners. It’s just a simple fact that smaller towns have more of a close-knit feel than big cities.
Much like people in small towns are all about building relationships and trust, the same applies to small businesses.
We live in a world where online shopping is taking over. And while retail giants are giants for a reason, many modern consumers find themselves favoring local options. And this doesn’t just apply to retail stores. If you run a local burger shop, there’s always a franchise like Burger King or McDonald’s to compete with.
Local businesses can gain a competitive edge against big businesses by prioritizing long-lasting, positive customer relationships. If you’re not sure where to get started, try:
- Delivering a great customer experience
- Prioritizing customer satisfaction
- Implementing a customer service team
- Giving back to your community each time you make a sale
- Creating community-driven promotions
- Participating in community events
2- Improve Your Online Presence
It’s no surprise to anyone that the majority of Americans shop online. From clothing to freshly baked cookies, almost anything can be purchased online these days. You can even book cabs, order food, hire a coach and do so much more online, all thanks to rapid technological advancements.
Because online shopping is so popular, it’s crucial for small businesses to establish a strong online presence. In fact, 76% of consumers will look up a local business online before heading over to the physical store. For example, if you run a fast-food restaurant, then chances are people in your neighborhood will hop onto Google, type in a keyword like “best fast food restaurant near me,” and go through the results.
If your restaurant has more positive reviews than other local options, they’ll probably choose to visit your restaurant.
From building a visually appealing and highly functional website to creating and optimizing your Google Business Profile to interacting with your audience on social media, we’d advise you to work towards building a strong online presence. And while doing so, make sure that you are laser-focused on your Local SEO efforts. Make sure to:
- Create & optimize your Google Business Profile listing.
- List your local business in directories or review sites like Yelp, FourSquare, and others.
- Ensure Name, Address & Phone Number (NAP) consistency across different platforms.
- Target and optimize your website with local keywords.
- Create high-quality local content.
- Optimize your website for mobile.
- Create location pages (if you serve multiple locations).
- Make gathering and responding to reviews a priority.
3- Give Back to Your Community & Customers
75% of consumers want businesses to give back to their communities. As a small business owner, you may not have an enormous budget to tackle world issues. But what you can do is give back to your community.
This may involve hosting weekly, monthly or quarterly food drives or building employee giving programs that will allow your employees to give back to the community.
Giving back to the community will help you:
- Position yourself as a trustworthy brand.
- Make a positive impact.
- Differentiate your business.
- Build positive customer relationships.
- Attract new customers and retain already existing ones.
- Boost employee morale and attract top talent.
And while giving back to the community should be a priority, it’s equally important to give back to your customers. Try offering freebies or special discounts to your loyal customers. This will make them feel valued and increase the likelihood that they’ll tell their friends and family about your business.
4- Position Yourself as an Industry Thought Leader
Consumers like to interact with and purchase from well-established brands that know what they’re doing. You already are an expert at what you do—are you conveying your industry knowledge to your target audience?
It’s important to show your customers that you are the go-to source for information and guidance in your industry. Whether it’s product-related information or local news, you can build thought-provoking blog posts, news articles, social media posts, and guides to position yourself as an industry expert.
And if the content you create provides value, people will be way more likely to purchase your products or services—or at the very least, they’ll share your content and increase your brand’s visibility.
Keep in mind, however, that we live in a fiercely competitive world. If you are spending your top dollars on building content, we’d advise you to do it right. And that’s where a strong content marketing strategy comes in.
Building a content marketing strategy will help you systematically improve your organic rankings, reach more local customers, and gain insights into the pain points and problems of your target audience. And with rightful implementation, you’ll be on your way to positioning yourself as an industry thought leader.
5- Stay Consistent But Adapt When Necessary
Whether you are planning to kickstart a community-giving program or rolling out high-quality, thought-provoking blog posts, you need to ensure that you are consistent with your efforts.
Investing precious marketing dollars in the first month only to not show up in the second month may hurt your reputation more than help it. Our tip is to start slow, test the waters, and increase your efforts by doing more of what’s working.
And while consistency is key to success, it’s important to note that consumers’ needs and wants are ever-changing. So don’t be afraid to pivot and adapt to their changing needs, which will further allow you to build trust and increase customer loyalty.
A Strong Brand is the Backbone of a Successful Local Business
If you want your local business to be successful, establishing a strong brand is crucial.
Not only will it help you stand out from your competitors but also increase customer satisfaction and build trust. Furthermore, it’ll help you build positive customer relationships and position your business as an industry thought leader.
The competition is fiercer than ever, but so is the demand for local options. If you want your small business to succeed, ensuring strong branding is crucial, and there’s no better time to get started than now.