How To Use Content Marketing To Grow Your Local Business

Do you like to buy from local businesses?

Late on a Saturday afternoon I normally make a trip to a butcher near us.  I go to buy a piece of meat to cook for dinner on Sunday.

We do our normal shopping at the supermarket but I like to get the meat from the butcher.  I don’t go to him because it’s cheaper or even because I think the quality is better.  I go to the butcher for his advice.

You see it doesn’t matter whether he has a long queue behind me or not, he’ll take the time to talk to me about what I’m buying and how he would cook it himself  I’ve really learnt a lot from him and suggested others use him.

Without him realising, my butcher has been using content marketing to grow his local business for years.  Sharing his knowledge which has led to his customers encouraging others to go to him.

Do you want to grow a local business?  Here are four content marketing tips that will help you do it.

1.  Create content that suits your business

Different types of businesses suits different types of content.  It’s important to understand the type of content that will most appeal to your customers and fits your product or service.

My butcher is just sharing advice in his shop, but he could easily write that knowledge down and put it into a blog so that his customers and prospective customers could view the information from home whenever they needed it.

He could even go as far as recording some videos explaining about different cuts of meats and how to cook them.

It wouldn’t mean he had to stop the personal approach of telling people in his shop, but his knowledge could be viewed by a larger local audience.  He’d be seen as the local expert, the guy to see when you want advice and not just the product.

Likewise a local hairdresser could use content marketing to suggest styles, how to care for your hair, what types of colours suit different skin shades.  This content would need to be very visual, galleries of images and videos rather than just written text.  As the saying goes, “a picture can tell a thousand words”.

2.  Create content that is useful

Content marketing works so well because it’s about attracting people who have questions or issues and giving them answers and solutions.

Sometimes business owners worry that sharing too much knowledge is bad for business, that customers won’t need them anymore, but actually the opposite is true.

By openly sharing knowledge people will get to know, like and trust you and when they need your product or service who will they turn to?  Will they turn to Google and search for a stranger or go to the person who has already given them some of the answers?  Definitely the person they trust who has already helped them.

Giuseppe Colombi at Best Choice Accountancy in London is doing this well.  He’s using a written blog and is sharing a lot of information that will help contractors with their tax and accounts.  He’s really getting into a lot of detail and his readers will appreciate it and know he’s there to help them when they need an accountant.

3.  Create content that is shareable

Everyone likes to share a story, something they’ve seen that was useful, looked great, or was funny.

When using content marketing to grow your local business it’s important to create content that gives people something they will want to share, this helps expand your audience.

There are two reasons people will share your content:

1.     It was so helpful that they want others to benefit from it and in the process look good because they’ve shared it
2.     It looks so good they want to show others

Kerstin Losch from Kerstins Kitchen often shares recipes for really nice dishes that are written simply and include great pictures.  These recipes are shared by her followers on Facebook and Twitter and all of the time it helps promote her local catering business.

I recently saw some images of the garden rooms from Lynn Fotheringham at InsideOut Buildings in Lancashire and shared them on Twitter.  I’ve since told lots of people about them because the garden rooms looked so good and the more I read about them, the more I appreciated the craftsmanship.  I liked the story of Lynn’s business and wanted to share itAnother example might be a local plumber who creates videos for his website, showing how to complete small DIY jobs around the house.  He won’t lose business by sharing the basics but gives useful information for potential customers to share with each other.  All of the time passing around his name ready for when someone has a larger job that needs a professional.

4.  Create content that calls for action

Creating lots of content is all very good, but it won’t grow your business unless you ask people who consume it to take action.

Each piece of content should teach about one subject, more than that and you’ll overwhelm people.  It should also have one call to action, if you ask people to do too many things there is a greater chance they’ll do none.  Here are some examples:

  • A local hotel could publish regular recipes and ask readers to subscribe to receive them by email.  The hotel could include occasional offers for special occasions such as Valentines, Christmas, Anniversaries and Birthdays when the readers might come out to eat rather than cook at home.
  • A local clothing store with a thriving Facebook page could make a call to action for readers to “Like” it’s page, building engagement with new customers and gaining an opportunity to regularly show them images of clothing that can be shared with the readers friends at the touch of a button.

The Bottom Line

Content marketing works so well for local businesses because it allows you to naturally teach people what you know in order to develop long term customer relationships.  If your content is good, people will get to know, like and trust you and be keen to buy your products and services.  Creating great content will give your customers something to share with their friends, family and colleagues.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Write a summary of one piece of content that you can create that will teach something useful to your prospective customers.  Then make a plan for what media you’ll use for the content and set a deadline for when you’ll have it published.

Robert Peters

Robert Peters is a small business advisor, coach and consultant. Through his Fresh Eyes Consultancy he helps micro business owners grow sustainable and profitable businesses. Sign up for a free copy of his guide on how to avoid the feast and famine cycle and take the stress out of micro business sales.

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  1. I love your first point here Robert. The trouble with off-line conversations is that they have no legs. They aren’t portable. Once the conversation is over, it’s over. No one else can benefit from it.

    I am a huge proponent of in-person networking and off-line public speaking to grow a tiny business, but learning to archive that type of content pays huge dividends!

    Thanks for writing this Robert!
    Russ Henneberry recently posted..The Wrong Way to React To OPM (Other People’s Marketing)My Profile

  2. I like your point about the butcher, Robert. Content marketing is not just online – sharing tips face-to-face is also a way to do content marketing.

    Many butchers have leaflets with recipes in their shop. That’s content marketing, too. I’d recommend to use these leaflets to promote an email sign up form on their website so that people can receive recipes and cooking tips by email (and then use it to promote occasional offers, too). And of course these tips can be added to a blog, too.

  3. Thank you very much for the mention!

  4. Robert,
    One thing we’ve found challenging with our local clients is the fact that quality, consistent blogging takes time and resources and the problem with the web is that it’s global. So our client gets a lot of traffic but 90% of it is outside the area that she serves. We’ve been working on targeted social content campaigns on Facebook and local SEO but still it seems like blogging is a rather blunt instrument when focusing on a local market. Thoughts?

  5. A lot of local shops could benefit with having a decent online presence that didn’t take time away from their day to day work. It’s more about thinking a bit differently. A local video person who wants to showcase their work for potential local clients could do a video of the butcher (for example), giving advice to Robert. I daresay Robert would be fine to give his consent to getting free marketing!

    It’s not really about time, it’s about a solution that works for everyone, including me as a local customer.
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..3 Reasons Tax Returns Belong With CakeMy Profile

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