One of the best ways for a small business to ensure a steady flow of income is to get repeat local business.

If you can get the local community on your side, they’ll be sure to come back again and again. They’ll also recommend you to others in the area and direct visitors toward you. 

It can be tricky competing with other local businesses who’ve been around for longer than you, but it’s not impossible. 

In this guide, we’ll share some tips on how to promote your business locally, including:

  • Signing up for online directories
  • Encouraging online reviews
  • Introducing loyalty programmes
  • Partnering with other local businesses
  • Joining local groups on social media
  • Working with the community

This guide will focus particularly on promoting your business locally. If you’d like more information on how to grow your business in general, then check out our article. “How to grow a small business”.

Signing up for directories

Even though you’re looking for local business, a lot of people will still find you online. Signing up for directories like Google and Facebook will make it much easier for people to find you. 

Google My Business

Google offers a free listing service that anybody can sign up for. When people look on Google, your profile will appear with reviews, photos, and your location. A service like this will be a huge boost to your business, as people are much more likely to come to you if they have more information. 

For more detailed information about advertising with Google, check out our article, “How to advertise a small business on Google”.

Promote your business locally (Facebook)

Facebook provides a similar service, but this one is dedicated to your Facebook page. If you register, Facebook will automatically send ads to people listed in your local area. 

Unlike Google My Business, you’ll have to pay for Facebook’s online directory service. But it has the added benefit of showing up on people’s actual newsfeeds, instead of them having to search for you themselves. 

Encouraging online reviews

After the public has found your business online, the first thing they’ll look at is your reviews. Businesses with a large number of reviews will appear higher on search engine rankings, so encourage all of your customers to leave a review if they can. 

Aside from the search engine rankings, reviews are a great source of feedback for your business. Obviously, good reviews are great for attracting customers, but even negative reviews can be useful. They’ll let you know what’s working and what needs some improvement. 

Introducing loyalty programmes

There’s a reason huge chains like Starbucks and Costa have loyalty schemes, they work. 

Allowing people to build up points with repeat visits will encourage them to come back because they don’t want to feel as though they’re missing out on some kind of reward. 

It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy, even a small incentive is enough to convince most people. You can produce small stamp cards fairly cheaply. Every time a customer uses your business, stamp their card. Then, after enough stamps, you can offer them some kind of benefit, like a free product or discount on their next visit. 

Partnering up with other local businesses

Joining forces with other local businesses is a great opportunity for both of you to grow. It helps if the business is related to yours, but it’s not a necessity. 

You can start small by leaving leaflets and ads in each other’s windows and verbally recommending one another. 

If you want to go even further, you could give each other discount vouchers to hand out, or even just start selling each other’s products in your stores. 

This is a great opportunity for advertising, but it’ll also help you get to know other business owners, increasing your reputation and giving you an ally in the local area. 

Joining local groups on social media

Check on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and you’re bound to find a group dedicated to your local area. If one doesn’t exist, you can make one yourself and invite other business owners to join. 

Local groups like this are a great place to post ads, blog posts, and other promotional materials. 

For the best results, you should post regularly and include lots of pictures and links to your website. You should also try your best to engage with other business owners’ content too, and reply to any messages you get from customers. 

Groups like these are a great place to add a personal touch to your business, making you feel more approachable to potential customers. 

Working with the community 

Alongside your online relationships, you should also work to improve your local reputation by participating in local events. You could even organise some of your own. 

Some community events you might consider are:

  • Charity events, like sponsored runs, walks and cycles.
  • Local competitions, like art, writing, or talent contests. You can ask for submissions online and have your followers vote for their favourites.
  • Local markets and fairs. You can ask to set up a stall or sponsor somebody else’s. 

Again, this is all about improving your local reputation by letting the local community get to know you. People are much more likely to visit a business they think they can trust. 

Manage your finances with Countingup

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Find out more here.