Probably because of its global character, many people wonder if you can attract local clients through the Net.
That would be very interesting for local stores or service providers, and even for big companies who just want to attract local clients for their local departments.
Michael Cash has a few great ideas about this topic, which he shares in his guest post below.
I’ll let Michael do the talking.
The Internet allows nearly any company or organization to conduct business internationally.
For example, consider the case of orb audio, which is a high-end home theater equipment company that was founded in 2003 in New York City.
In 2008, the company began to use Internet ads and country-specific web pages to market their products overseas during a time when the U.S. dollar was beginning to decrease in value.
Within 18 months, international sales rose from 10% of Orb Audio’s business to 35%, and they found themselves doing business in places as diverse as Australia, Finland, Zimbabwe and even Easter Island.
However, while going global is certainly advantageous, it is absolutely essential for a business to stay involved in the local sector. Business relationships with local clients can prove to be longer-lasting due to their personal nature.
A business can interact with local clients by conducting face-to-face meetings and by allowing the client to see their operations and meet employees. Strong relationships formed in this way can ultimately lead to more profit.
Many Internet companies have realized this, and sites like Groupon and LivingSocial have become extremely popular by working with local businesses to provide special discounts to customers in specific cities.
Your business can similarly thrive by attracting local clients through the use of traditional advertising and networking.
There are plenty of traditional methods for advertising your company’s services.
For example, you may have a company that specializes in graphic design, providing services such as logo creation and web site design. While you could certainly do business almost exclusively online, there are likely many local clients that would do business with you if they were aware of your services.
Some of the most surefire advertising methods include outdoor techniques such as:
• Posting flyers around town
• Setting up a booth at relevant festivals, markets or expos
• Renting a billboard
• Advertising on public transit
Getting a booth at a local festival or business expo can provide the most personal way to interact with potential clients. Sticking with the graphic design example, you could attend a small business expo in your area and personally show other business owners some of the web sites your company has designed, if the festival venue has wireless internet.
If you ran an office supply store, you would be able to attract local clients by allowing them to handle the actual products you sell, which is an option that long-distance business relationships cannot provide. Look for these types of social opportunities by checking with the local chamber of commerce.
Other typical forms of advertising include:
• Local radio spots
• Television commercials
• Cold calls to potential clients
• Sponsoring local school functions
These types of advertising can potentially give you the most local exposure.
Sponsoring a local sports team, school yearbook or music concert is a great way to advertise your company – especially in more rural areas.
If you offer Internet-related services, be sure to mention that your business is located in the area and is interested in helping local companies.
Online and Offline Business Networking
Being in contact with other businesses can be a huge advantage when trying to attract local clients. The businesses can be clients themselves or they can refer their customers to your company if you’ve made your presence known.
For example, a business that sells networking hardware may have customers that need to get one or more web sites up and running in the near future.
If you’ve done some business networking, that company may refer those customers to your web design company for help. Offline networking tactics include:
• Business card distribution
• Joining local professional organizations or associations
• Joining the chamber of commerce
• Volunteering with non-profit organizations that could be clients
Of course, the Internet provides some excellent networking opportunities, even for networking with local businesses. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can allow you to easily network as well as attract many local clients.
For example, Facebook lets you to list any networks that you are a part of (college, city, region), which in turn allows you to browse and contact any Facebook member or business in your local area.
A good way to gain some attention on a social networking site would be to offer special discounted rates/deals to people who follow your business. For example, the Hotel Max in Seattle, WA attracts local attention by sending out Tweets such as this:
Other social networking sites such as Meetup.com and Foursquare have a very local focus, and it would be very advantageous to participate in those sites in order to network and attract local clients.
Michael Cash works in the field of Internet marketing and local business. With a passion for helping people and writing, he also enjoys writing for various websites and businesses
So, how do you attract local clients?
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