With a Nielsen survey finding that 83% of consumers trust personal recommendations, word of mouth remains one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Your business can harness this ‘earned advertising’ to make a big impact in your local community.
Here are five low-cost ways to boost your local presence and earn the trust, and referrals, of your neighbours.
- Increase your visual presence
You can’t build a customer base in your community if people don’t know you’re there. Take advantage of your location – after all, you’re working in the area where you want to draw your clients from.
If your office is on a high street or in a shopping centre, you can use your frontage to communicate your message. Slogans like ‘servicing [suburb] since [year]’ help to establish your local credentials.
Displaying testimonials from residents, especially if those people are well known in the community, can convey a positive local vibe. Ask existing clients for a quote you can use. And if you win a local business award, don’t be afraid to show it!
Side-street or home-based offices can be trickier for physical advertising as there may be restrictions on what you can display without having an adverse visual impact. However, consider windows (even if they’re in upper floors), banners and sandwich boards, bearing in mind council regulations.
Away from your premises, make the most of your local noticeboard. Pin up well-designed posters and flyers with a community focused message.
- Sponsor community activities
Another way to increase your local presence is to sponsor community activities. Try supplying jerseys for a local sporting team – logo printing and naming rights are common benefits – or contributing tools to a community garden, which groups are generally happy to acknowledge.
Find an activity or cause that fits your brand. For example, you may wish to donate to a pet shelter because you believe having a pet makes a house a home, which could resonate with your home-buying demographic.
You can always contribute to the community through volunteering. This is less about marketing and more about engaging with people. They’ll get to know, respect and trust you and will think of you when they hear of someone looking for your services.
- Educate your potential clients
One way to become a trusted expert is to run seminars that educate the community about financial matters. Local councils or libraries may have rooms you can use if you don’t charge attendees.
Be careful not to provide advice that may be outside your remit. Instead, you could offer more general information, such as explaining how different types of loans work.
You may also want to meet with smaller, targeted groups and tailor your message – for example, invite potential home owners if your specialisation is mortgages, or local business owners if your focus is on commercial and asset finance.
- Go local – digitally
Don’t ignore digital marketing when you’re thinking locally. Councils, chambers of commerce and groups such as Rotary Australia often support local businesses; they may have online directories where you can link to your business website. Also, if these organisations have an e-newsletter, find out whether you can contribute your expertise in a regular article or column.
Having a local focus is a great investment. By growing your community presence, you can boost both your profile and your valuable word-of-mouth marketing.
Contact PLAN Australia for more details on how we can help you grow your local clientele.