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Great ideas for marketing in small towns

posted August 20th 2014, 2:44 pm by Scott Hartig

Big business in corporate America has its own playbook when it comes to marketing techniques and procedures. But small businesses in small towns often have to try new things and get local to see an effective marketing strategy pay off.

We run a marketing company in Waukesha county, in the town of Delafield, and we've had to learn a few tricks to be effective in our local scene. Here are a few ideas for you to consider as you learn effective marketing in small towns.

Marketing in small towns:

1. Marketing local means being local.

Embrace what comes from around you. Use local producers, local tradespeople, and local manufacturers. Taking advantage of the locals around you can be effective in many ways. You'll be supportive of what your community creates and produces, and it will provide you a good amount of face time with other business owners in your area.

2. Become the established expert.

Small towns provide some great advantages. For one, your competition will be lower. Chances are, there won't be 10 shoe stores in the same area as you. Chances are...you're the only one. Run with that, and use your service or product to become the local expert. Then, promote yourself and your company as just that in your marketing - the local expert.

3. Give away your knowledge.

To follow up with marketing yourself as a local expert, you also need to feed that process. Give away your knowledge: Write for local blogs and papers, host seminars and webinars, or offer 1 page flyers as walkthroughs and troubleshooting tips. You don't need to give away everything you do - just enough to help people out with the smaller things. You'll find that they'll start coming back to you for the big stuff.

4. Online directories and search.

The majority of search for products and services is local - so make sure you're found. Do searches for your business and make sure all your listings have the right contact details and company information. Find listing services which cover your local industry and ask them to make sure you're also listed.

5. Host local events.

If you're providing lawn care services, don't be afraid to showcase your tips and techniques at local fairs or events. Buy a table or tent, setup shop and, again, give away your knowledge. Being out front in the public will have a two-fold effect: Strangers will begin putting your face with the company and will also start to understand what you do and how you do it. In Delafield, we have a weekly farmers market, which is a perfect place to set up a tent to showcase your product, while also offering free samples or examples of how to use it.

6. Sponsor local activities.

No one's asking you to build the next sports arena and put your name on it. But sponsoring little league teams or other sporting events can be a great way to get your name out there. They also tend to be a pretty cost effective way to do some simple and easy marketing in small towns.

Marketing in small towns by joining chamber of commerce7. Get involved.

Take part and stake your place in local business groups. The local chamber of commerce is a great place to start. We do marketing in Delafield and are listed as such in our local Delafield Chamber of Commerce. In addition to this, there are often other local networking groups and small business groups to get involved in. Do some searching; they shouldn't be too hard to find.

8. Practice good inbound marketing.

The Internet is at the crux of  local marketing, too. In addition to local search and directories, get out there where your audience is talking. Social media is a great place to start. Do you have a product that sells itself when people see it? Then, make sure you're on Pinterest and Flickr. Write a blog and talk about what you know. A blog is also a great place to start giving away your expertise, establishing yourself as the expert (we wrote some great reasons to start a blog in this post). Start a newsletter and send it out consistently. Have a website and manage it properly, practicing good local SEO (while making sure you've written it for your readers, not for Google's robots).

There you have it, 8 good ways to start marketing in small towns. This list is only a thin sliver of the options out there. If you're looking for more ideas, try this blog which covers small town marketing in much greater detail.