Top tips to help promote your business locally
With local papers, you still need to ensure that what you send them is real news. Make sure you’ve read the publication so that you can see what type of stories they cover. It’s worth calling them to find out who covers your sector and try to build up a relationship. Smaller local papers are often more open to accepting editorial – particularly soft stories - if you’ve taken out advertising as well. Some also run ‘advertorials’ which are paid for (like advertisements) but look like editorial copy. If you offer to run a competition, they might be more receptive to running your news. Running competitions can also be a good way to get the names and addresses of people interested in your products. Some publications may charge, others may have a minimum prize value.
Besides newspapers, take a look at:
Local specialist magazines or freebie magazines.
There are often eat out guides, business magazines, local newsletters,out and about magazines, families Magazine etc.
This is a great avenue for exposure. Tune into your local stations and find out what format they follow. Do they invite guests in? Do they interview people on the news? Do they go out and visit events and report from there? Call the station and ask who you can speak to about guest appearances.
If you would be interested in hearing the story, chances are others will be too. For example, you might be doing something really interesting for charity like drumming 100 miles around your area – get the news reporter to meet you en-route or be prepared to drum right into the radio station. Or it might be that you’re doing something around apprentice week, or to celebrate national breakfast week you’re giving all of your employees breakfast every morning to get the day off to a good start. You could then for example invite your local DJ to join you at the ‘pop-up- breakfast club.
Remember that if you do manage to get on air, you need to be prepared. Radio interviews are typically very short and may even just happen on the phone, so you need to condense your messages down into short, sharp soundbites – and don’t have more than 3. Try to repeat the name of your company or product more than once without sounding like an annoying salesman.
Local listings and advertising
Anything from the classifieds in the paper and local magazines, Yell.com and local directories are worth considering. Ask your own Facebook friends how they would find what you do and start there.
Also look at online sites for your local area. There are lots of Facebook groups for ‘Local Businesses’. People will go on and ask for recommendations for all sorts of jobs! And it’s free!
You can either hold your own events to generate some publicity, team up with others or simply attend existing events to drum up some business – perhaps there’s going to be a village market day. If you hold your own events, you could have an open day where people are invited to view your products/services.
See if you can go and present/show/offer freebies to local groups like the Women’s Institute (they’re not all grey and wrinkly…I’m a member and I’m 39 and I go with lots of my lovely mummy friends), baby/toddler groups, round table, local history society, church groups.
If your local area holds small business awards, consider submitting your company for an award. You may not win but you will be seen to be proactive and may still get a mention.
Local flyer / noticeboard campaign.
It’s worth your while arming yourself with leaflets or flyers and going around to toddler groups, pre-schools, play centres, libraries, NCT group nurseries and even asking to put a leaflet or flyer up on their noticeboard. It’s a great way to reach your ideal target market.
Me, myself and I
And finally…don’t forget your car – it’s a mobile advertising board. Consider having it sprayed or invest in magnetic, removable boards.
This article was written by Michelle Horne from Peekaboo Communications.