Posted by : Amanda Stein Wednesday, September 18, 2013

If you’re a small, local business competing against a Goliath-sized corporation, it can be incredibly intimidating. The bigger business has the advantage of having an already established brand name, a bigger marketing budget, and devoted customers.

However, small businesses often offer a lot more personal attention, better deals, and support the local economy, which appeals to a lot of buyers. What small businesses need to do, then, is to get some exposure and communicate the benefits that they can provide to the customer. Here are 5 tips to help small business owners do just that.

Nurture relationships with current customers. If you already have a loyal customer base, don’t neglect them while you’re trying to drum up new business! One great way to keep in touch with existing customers is to send out a monthly newsletter talking about new products or changes in your company. You can also personally email or call devoted customers when you have a new product or deal on the market to show how much you care about their business. And keep in mind that customers who have a positive experience with your business are more likely to tell their friends about you.

Sponsor a local event. If there’s an event in your town like a 5K race or a food festival that really brings the community together, look into sponsoring that event. That way you’ll give your brand exposure while also supporting a good cause. And you’ll be sending the message that you care about your community, which will lead local consumers to think of your business positively. Another bonus of sponsoring a local event: you can network with other local sponsors and potentially work out a relationship in which you can benefit one another. As long as you’re directly competing, most small business owners are happy to help (and get help from you!).

Keep your website up to date. According to a survey conducted by comScore and Group M Search, 58% of respondents turn to search engines like Google and Bing first when making a purchasing decision while 24% visit company sites first. That’s almost a quarter of potential customers whose first impression of you is based on your website—and many of the consumers who use a search engine may find themselves directed to your company website, as well. If your website is out of date, that sends a bad message and is likely to scare some of those potential customers away. Try posting local news stories or stories specific to your company or industry, and have a company blog that you update weekly with original content.

Establish a social media presence. Social media marketing is something that small businesses can use just as well as larger businesses —or sometimes even better, when they get creative—because it doesn’t require a huge budget. Make sure your business has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed that you update regularly, and make sure that you’re engaging with the online community through these channels. Try posting interesting questions for followers to weigh in on and always respond to any comments on any of your social media pages. Also consider making a series of clever YouTube videos that tell a quirky or funny story related to your industry but aren’t overly promotional.

Become a trade show presence. Are there any industry trade shows coming up in your area? Make sure that you have a booth and outgoing company reps there to promote your company. Trade shows are a great way to directly interact with people who are interested in your product and to form relationships with other local businesses. Make sure that you have a giveaway item with your company logo on it to further spread awareness of your brand, and follow up with potential customers and clients through a phone call or email within 24 hours. Use your presence at a trade show to tell the community how much you want to connect and work with them.

Bio: Juliana Weiss-Roessler runs Weiss-Roessler Writing with her husband Josh. Her writing has been featured on high-traffic websites, such as, and in major publications, such as PARADE and People. Along with her husband, Juliana lives in Austin, TX, with their two tiny-but-rambunctious dogs and one tiny-but-rambunctious baby boy. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

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