How to Attract Local Clients

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.
Enjoy!

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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.

Traditional Advertising

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

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So, how do you attract local clients?
Post your comments below.




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12 thoughts on “How to Attract Local Clients

  1. Felicia says:

    Just recently I pitched my business to groupon, I am on a long waiting list to see if it will be accepted and posted live for my city. Sites like this are going to be huge for small businesses.

    Also, I liked some of the more traditional idea of setting up a booth at expos.. could be something to try this summer!

    Thanks for the tips, Great post!

  2. Amber McDougon says:

    Good Advice.
    Hosting an unique event in your town could also boost awareness and networking (such as a benefit, give away, or summer cookout).

  3. Sarah says:

    Really good offline networking tactics. I always try to support local businesses, but if they are helping out the community by volunteering then I will be even more willing to support them!

  4. Corry says:

    I do not think that very many people realize how huge local advertising is. This is a multi-billion dollar business. That is why Google has just recently made an attempt to purchase Groupon for 6 billion dollars. Google is also making a huge push into the local market themselves, in a variety of different ways.

    The local market is huge, which I think many of us Interent marketers tend to forget about, as we have such a huge target of people to work with. After all, it is the Internet!

    Good post, havent seen one this in depth in a while.

  5. Nice list of ideas Michael and Case.
    I sell mobile SMS text marketing to local clients and knew about these ideas. I just never did any of them, Yet! I appreciate the prodding and expect I will set up some fliers and join my local Chamber of Commerce to get started.
    I have been relying on SEO to my site, and it works OK, yet the face to face meetings seem to work better for me.

  6. Corry says:

    There is a ton of value within the chamber of commerce. Especially if you live in an area that has a decently sized population. I think that is a good place to start Clay.

  7. Harrison says:

    Wow this is actually really helpful. I’m a freelance graphic designer and really love doing work locally. I never thought to get a billboard or try advertising in public transit.

  8. Paul says:

    I used facebook to promote my watch business..
    if you had a lot of friends, it works so good..
    but if you don’t, i think you should try michael strategies.. Good Idea..

  9. gary says:

    There area some great ideas here, some of which I have used, but some I wouldn,t have thought of.

    Its easy to get into a mindset of sticking to a few channels of local marketing, but we really need to cover all bases in order to be successful.

    http://www.localsearchspecialist.co.uk

  10. Emilio says:

    There’s a huge benefit in attracting offline clients. As a consultant, I see way too many perfectly savvy, extremely eager people expend huge amounts of energy working for little to know money for clients that they meet online, when an offline small business or corporate client could’ve paid 5-10 times the amount for maybe 50% less work.

    In fields that are saturated with online workers like web design, hitting the street and using traditional advertising may create more of a return on investment.

  11. hum says:

    Google moves closer to the local search results of all time and also a professional SEO, I always asked by clients who want to attract local customers how they can increase their ranking in local search. The way to do this is to get links to local sites – sites that think mention the name of the city in the content, local directories and of course including your full address on your website.

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