Whether your business is global, national, or regional, there’s something to be said about the homey feel of a “neighborhood business.”
A local pizza shop, for instance, probably has a trusted and established reputation in the surrounding community. Sure, you could get your pizza at a major pizza chain restaurant, but why would you when you could get it from Giovanni’s around the corner? Similarly, a florist that’s been in business for 20+ years in the center of town has probably seen its fair share of local students and families for celebrations such as prom, weddings, and religious ceremonies.
You might be reading this thinking, That’s nice, but it doesn’t really describe my business. Perhaps you conduct all business entirely online, or maybe your business has grown to the point that you believe it no longer fits the “local” description.
The truth is, you can (and should) take advantage of whatever attributes your business possesses to market it as “local,” “community-oriented,” or “neighborhood-friendly.” The reasons are entirely psychological, but also entirely powerful. Let’s explore a few of them.
What do all local businesses have in common?
One word: Regulars.
Whether you’ve given it much thought before or not, we’re here to tell you that customer loyalty is the lifeblood of your business. Make a customer happy, and they’re likely to turn into repeat customers. Strike up conversations with neighborhood customers about recent community events, their kids, their job, and they’re that much more likely to return -- because they feel valued. They feel seen. Isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?
The other thing about regulars is that they’ll be very likely to recommend your business to their family and friends, and their vote of confidence in your services might just hold a lot of sway.
Basically, even if you’re not a corner-store type of establishment, or a bricks-and-mortar at all, you should find ways to make your business feel community-focused. Zero in on your target audience and keep them coming back with customer satisfaction surveys, exclusive promotional offers, and newsletters that aim to connect with them.
Local businesses often profit from the fact that their customers feel they can’t get by without them. Maybe a neighborhood convenience store is so well-attended by locals that getting their morning coffee anywhere else feels practically criminal.
Our advice? Be the neighborhood convenience store. Again, whether you’re a bricks-and-mortar or a totally virtual business, you want your customers to feel that you offer invaluable services that make life easier. Humans are creatures of habit, so demonstrate value once, and you can potentially turn a first-time customer into a lifetime customer.
Lastly -- and this one may be a bit difficult to achieve for e-commerce businesses -- but remember that community support is often the most effective type of support.
We’re willing to bet you know what we’re talking about, because odds are, you’ve seen it in your own community. If the beloved hobby shop or farmer’s market, for instance, announces that they’re not bringing in enough revenue to stay afloat, it’s common for the entire town to rally behind that business and do what they can to help.
Why is this the case? Because people are passionate about where they come from. People are passionate about the stores where they shopped with their mom as a kid, and passionate about supporting local agriculture if it’s a big part of their community. Simply: people protect what they love.
If you can find a way to make your business a community gem by bringing people together, promoting good causes, and showing a real interest in your customers, you can turn your business into a community staple too. All it takes is a little dedication, attentiveness, and interest in your customers’ lives. We guarantee, your business will be better for it (and because of it)!