Lead Magnets for Local Businesses : You Don’t Have to Be Online to Market Like You Are

lead magnets for local businesses

 

So, you’re the florist on the corner. The coffee shop next to the courthouse. The diner down the street. You don’t have much in the way of an online “business” – maybe a “presence” or some reviews, but that’s about it. You don’t need a lead magnet, do you? Lead magnets for local businesses CAN be a vital part of any local marketing campaign. Today, we’re going to show you how.

Lead Magnets for Local Businesses – Step 1: The PLAN

As in everything with your marketing efforts, you should start with a plan. A reason WHY you are contemplating a lead magnet. What types of leads are you looking for? Online lead magnets generally “lead” people into an email series, which helps convert them into buyers. You can do the same with your brick and mortar local business, but lead magnets for local businesses can serve many purposes. They include:

  • building a mailing list
  • creating an email list
  • reaching new customers and bringing in  new business
  • reigniting former customers you haven’t seen in a while
  • introducing a new product or service
  • announcing your new online “property” – website, estore, social page, etc.

Decide which of these you want to accomplish, and we’ll go from there.

Lead Magnets for Local Businesses – Step 2: The Nature of the Beast

Now that you know what you want to do with your lead magnet, now we have to decide how you’re going to do that. What sort of lead magnet will you use? Here are some suggestions, based on successful campaigns in the past:

  • a coupon – real AND digital – for a discount, free product or service, or an “add-on” product or service with purchase of another
  • a coupon to apply to “your next purchase” – great way to bring them back in again
  • free information that applies to one of your products or services – how to keep your bouquet fresh, how to prepare for your carpet cleaning, which product is right for your hair, DIY instructions for doing or making something on their own, etc. – this shows them you care about them and want them to be able to use your products and services to THEIR best advantage
  • free information PLUS a discount coupon for a new product or service – educate and inform them about your new addition AND entice them to give it a try
  • a simple postcard or business card dropped in their package or handed to them with their receipt announcing their new opportunity to find you online

Notice how all of these add VALUE to your customers’ experience with you. That’s what lead magnets do for your customer – they help the customer see you as a valuable resource, as THE source, for what your business has to offer. Both online and in the brick and mortar world, the more valuable your lead magnet is for your customers, the more effective it will be as a marketing tool.

Lead Magnets for Local Businesses – Step 3: Getting It in Front of Folks

Your lead magnet can be a perfectly crafted piece of valuable content. It can be directed at your ideal customer. But until that ideal customer knows of its existence, it’s not going to do much for your business. The next step in our lead magnet campaign is to get it in front of its intended audience. And that is determined by the GOAL you chose in Step 1. Let’s break those down:

  • Mailing lists, email lists, introducing something new, making announcements –  All of these should be directed to your general market. Everyone who is a customer or potential customer should be given the offer or opportunity to participate. For existing customers, the best place and way to make them aware is at the check out counter. Here’s where a postcard, coupon, or other “drop in” comes into play. For a mailing list, have a box on the counter. Provide them with the card, and let them do the rest. For emails, you can remind them to do it once they get home, through your online email app, or right there, via mobile. Your new offer can be on hand – either in physical or graphic form – for them to explore and evaluate. Announcements of online goodies can be made in a variety of ways, from a script your cashier says, to signage in the store.
  • Reigniting old customers and/or reaching new ones – These two present a different, but not necessarily more difficult challenge. You can’t use in-store tactics because they aren’t in your store. You have to reach out. There are a variety of ways to do this, using both traditional and digital methods. The US Postal Service has a service for mailing a direct mail piece (postcard, flyer, brochure, or letter) to every address within an area of your choosing. It’s quite economical and easy to use. The newspaper and other local outlets like radio may be a choice, if you’ve got the money for the investment. And then there’s the digital world. If you have social media properties already, use them. Tweet about it. Use Insta or Pinterest and let them SEE what they’ve been missing. Blog about it. Get all of your Facebook fans talking about it. You could, if you have the skills or the money to invest, create a Facebook ad campaign to get the word out, too. Combining offline, traditional marketing and online methods has been shown to be more effective than relying on strictly one way or the other.

You may find that your inhouse people need a bit of coaching or even a script to help them talk to customers about your lead market campaign. That’s perfectly natural. Not everyone has the natural ability to explain new concepts or entice less-than-enthusiastic prospects, and lead magnets for local businesses aren’t exactly common yet. Help can be had, even with something as simple as pointers on an index card.

Lead Magnets for Local Businesses and You

Do you have a lead magnet for your local business? If so, let us know about it in the comments, please. If not, and you’d like to give the idea a try, or wonder just what it would look like for YOUR local business, please contact us here at Bloomers. We can help with all the steps, from planning, to creating, to creating awareness. Get started creating a lead magnet for your local business today!

Marketing Yourself to Main Street – Tips for Local Marketing

local marketing

A copywriter mentor of mine, Steve Roller of the Copywriter Cafe likes to say that he could be dropped in any city where he knows the language and find enough work to last him 6 months or more. Without internet, without knowing a soul when he arrives. He’d simply use his local marketing skills and find local shops and businesses on the streets around him that need his services.

Local Marketing is Different

Could your business survive without the Web? Could you make a living in a strange town or city? Could you make a living in your OWN home town? Do you know what it takes to market to local business owners?

Local marketing is different from online marketing. There are different ways to approach local businesses than you would use to approach an online prospect, even if USING online marketing to reach your locals. Local marketing is different, too, if you are in the B2B sector, as you will often find that many small local B2B guys simply AREN’T online.

Who Qualifies as “local”?

Now, I’m not talking about franchisees, here, like the Pizza Hut and Tim Horton’s. Or local agents for regional or national companies, like insurance agents and financial advisers. I’m talking about truly local businesses, owned and operated and innovated by folks in your city, town, maybe even neighborhood.

The little guy on the corner with the florist shop. The gal down the street at the cafe’. The auto mechanic who fixes your car. The CPA who does your parent’s taxes. Even a larger biz like the car dealer on the edge of town, and the construction firm that built the new town hall, and the law firm on the 6th, 7th, 8th, AND 9th floors of the bank building, as long as they aren’t a “branch” office of some larger firm, they are “local” and need local marketing.

And there’s no  reason why YOU can’t market your goods and services to them. You just have to know HOW. And it’s NOT how you market to the world at large on the internet. Here’s a few tips to help you market yourself to your own Main Street neighbors, wherever your Main Street might be.

You Need to Approach Local Marketing Differently, Even Online

Online, we have these wonderful things called by various names – free downloads, optin rewards, lead magnets (my personal favorite), lead generators. Their entire purpose is to offer enough value to the prospect to get them to sign up for our email list or subscribe to our blog or try our stuff. And they work beautifully at it, too, when the right mix of offer, audience, and value is achieved.

In the world of local marketing, you need to do two things with your lead magnets. In the online world, you can offer all kinds of stuff – discount coupons, tip sheets, checklists, ebooks, you name it. That typically doesn’t cut it in the local marketing world. Your online folks need a taste  of what you have to offer. Your locals? They want to know what makes you different.

Here’s the scenario: You are trying to break into a market that has been dominated by Hank or Al or Kate up the street. Your local customers KNOW what you’ve got, because they’ve been getting something similar from Hank or Al or Katie all these years. So, your lead magnet should be something that tells them how you are DIFFERENT from the competition. What makes YOUR cleaning service, or tax prep, or muffins better than Hank’s or Al’s or Kate’s? Local marketing needs to focus on your uniqueness, not just on what you’ve got to offer. And yes, that goes for the lead magnet you are giving away on your website and advertising on Facebook.

Local Marketing Requires Offline Efforts

For many of those local B2B guys who can’t be bothered to spend much time online, or have their own online presence, you have to go real old school. Walk in and introduce yourself. Have a business card and brochure or other goodie you can leave behind. Again, make sure it showcases your differences with any local competitors, because chances are, they already have someone to do what you do.

And local marketing, even when done online, still needs that personal touch. The phone call follow up instead of the email. The thank you note when someone signs on to your client stable. The card or gift come Christmas time. They aren’t some anonymous internet account, but your neighbor and fellow business owner. Treat the as such.

Let’s not forget that this IS your community, YOUR home town, whether it’s Manhattan, NY with its millions of people, or Mill Creek, WV with its 700 folks. Local marketing may mean showing up for ball games, school carnivals, litter pickups, and the Lions Club’s spaghetti dinner. You may have to buy cookies from Girl Scout Troop #83 or start getting your morning coffee from the corner diner every day. In short, local marketing is no place for introverts or the anti-social. They are your tribe, like it or not, and they’ll expect you to get involved just as much as they are.

Local Marketing is NO Place for Family, Maybe Not for Friends

It’s one thing to be friendly, even form a friendship, with a local client. But it’s never good to mix business and family. And that can include old friends, too. Local marketing should be part of your business strategy to increase sales and income. Local marketing should be approached with the seriousness of any other business venture. And that means you CAN’T be giving discounts to Cousin Erin or taking time away from clients to work on Uncle Joe’s latest “get rich quick” endeavor. (Or worse yet, endorse his endeavor.)

If your family has a legitimate existing business, or someone close to you could benefit from your goods or services, by all means, work with them. Work for them. Take them on as a client. But treat them as you would ANY OTHER customer or client. No discounts. No special treatment. It cheapens you in many eyes, and makes others question your professionalism. And then there’s the “what if” something goes wrong. If you can’t get your Grandma’s order delivered without a hassle, how in the world can they expect you to handle their business?

And for the love of all that’s good business practices, do NOT use friends and family as prospects for your new endeavor. Unless they are the very definition of your ideal customer or client, stick to marketing to OTHER locals. Your family may buy, or hire, but from the outside, everyone will see that they only did it BECAUSE they are friends and family. You also run the risk of alienating the very people you are closest to, by constantly marketing to them when its obvious they aren’t qualified or interested. Commit your local marketing efforts to the rest of town, please.

Local Marketing Can Pay Off

Like my friend Steve, if you get good enough at marketing locally, you may not NEED an online effort. Or as much of an online effort, to satisfy your business needs. Having a bunch of stable, local clients can also mean more peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about changes in this platform’s terms of service, or increases in that site’s advertising rates. You’ve got Main Street in your pocket. Let the internet howl in rage and tear itself apart! (Isn’t it great to see all those online biz folks get in a flurry and huff every time Google makes an algo change or Facebook decides to update its timeline policies?)

Whether your Main Street is a step away, or a world away, from my door here in small town WV (no, it’s not Mill Creek, they’re twice our size), I can help you with your local marketing efforts. Drop me a question in the comments, or hit me up with an email. We “locals” have to stick together.