A small business often has to compete with a variety of competitors, from large-scale chain stores and reputable online retailers to other small businesses in their local vicinity. While eclipsing big businesses may be more of a long-term goal, it’s entirely possible for a small business to set itself apart from local competitors within their first several years.
A business can set itself apart from the local pack by focusing on a few things.
Local Competitors – Search Engine Optimization
SEO is huge when it comes to local recognition, primarily because Google and Yelp are becoming increasingly popular methods of local search, regardless of a business’s type. To achieve quality SEO, businesses begin to implement strategies that include::
- Well-written blog posts published on your business’s web site, with lucrative industry-relevant keywords featured several times throughout. This increases visibility in search engines.
- Updated listing information on Yelp and Google, with relevant contact information and hours of operation. This allows convenience for potential customers.
- Links from respectable web sites that point to your business’s web site or blog, asserting your business’ legitimacy and positive reputation.
These strategies are hugely beneficial to a SEO strategy; it dramatically increases the likelihood that someone in search of a business’s services will discover them online ahead of local alternatives.
Local Social Media Engagement
Quality SEO will make it likely that leads will be continually delivered to your business online, but it’s still up to you to convince them to become a customer/client. For locals, their trust in your business can be boosted if you show interest in local happenings, especially via social media.
For example, a local business that sponsors or posts about a local event, such as a charity walk or bake sale, will be regarded fondly by locals, who see such participation as reflective of genuine care for the local community. Next time a local is faced with the decision to choose between your business or another local business who did not participate in the event or increase awareness of it, your business will likely be the better choice in their minds.
In the case of a business like this one, it can use social media and its web site to show enthusiasm about an event in the nearby area to attract the attention of any locals participating in it.
Emphasize Local Goodness
How is your business different from its competitors? That’s what your potential customers want to know, both locally and beyond. If your business uses any locally sourced advantages, such as a restaurant using local ingredients or a legal firm whose lawyers were all born and raised in that particular town, they will be regarded as an old friend in the neighborhood, as opposed to the new kid on the block. This is very advantageous when it comes to appearing more reliable and knowledgeable than other, perhaps less locally representative businesses.
It’s also useful to clarify specifically on your business’s web site which areas you serve, especially if you’re located in a more rural area. For instance, this HVAC business lists very clearly on its home page that it is proud to serve customers in the surrounding local areas. This way, potential customers will have no doubt your services are available to them and are more likely to move forward with their decision to hire you.
Be Active in the Community
Business owners should make a reasonable attempt to be a part of their community, whether it means having friendly conversations with locals at the neighborhood restaurant or becoming involved in local charitable organizations. If the face of a business is regarded well in a community, that community is likely to provide the business with a never-ending source of customers.
It’s very important for a business to separate itself from other local competitors. It’s absolutely possible, however, through search engine optimization, community activeness, local emphasis and locally targeted social media engagement. By implementing these tasks into their business strategy, a local business will reap the benefits.