If you have a brick and mortar store, you need to attract customers that exist beyond your neighborhood.

Don’t get me wrong: Locals are great.

But if you want your small business to make it, you’ve got to think bigger. You want your business to attract customers both near and far, who are excited to check out your offerings, buy products, and tell their friends to stop by, too.

In this post, we’ll explore some ways to grow your small biz and customer base.

Create Local Facebook Ads

Facebook ads are a great way to let your community know what your store offers and why it’s worth checking out. With features that let you target your audience by zip code or town name, you can not only get your brand in front of people living in your back yard, but in surrounding towns, too.

You set the budget for this — so there’s no high cost investment required (unless you want to, of course). Test different versions of your Facebook ads to see which produce the most click-throughs with visitors. Over time, you’ll create ads that are highly effective and bring in new faces each and every day.

Host Community Events

Opening your doors to the community as a gathering place is a way for you to invite new customers to visit your store without a direct sales context. Whether it’s hosting a paint night, a book club, or simply letting community organizations use your space to meet (if you have room for it), you can form new relationships with clients who exist outside your local neighborhood.

Does that mean saying yes every time a community member asks you to host an event? No. Saying no is a powerful business tool — so make sure that you’re only agreeing to events that you can manage.

Target New Customers

It’s good to niche down and target your marketing efforts to a specific audience, but from time to time, it’s a good idea to expand your parameters to be a bit more inclusive. Think about making small adjustments so that you have different offerings for customers.

For example: If you’re an Italian restaurant, adding gluten free menu options opens the doors to more local diners who have a dietary restriction. By making the menu more inclusive, you create a wider audience for your business and can attract new customers who haven’t visited before.

Love Your Students

If your business is located in a city or town with nearby students, you can appeal to their limited budgets by offering student-friendly deals. Whether it’s a student loyalty punch card that can be redeemed for a free item or an overall discount on products, including offers for this demographic increases the likelihood they’ll visit your store.

For example: Qdoba offers a student meal deal to all ID-holding students, which makes it a more affordable option and brings new customers through their doors.

Create a Completely Unique Experience

Anyone can open another clothing store or coffee shop — but if you create an experience that really wows guests, they’ll be back for more (and they’ll bring their out-of-town friends, too.) Whether it’s a secret recipe menu item or decor that creates a special ambiance no other competitor has, you need to deliver something unique and special that gets people talking.

Grow Your Small Biz: Take Steps Toward Attracting New Customers

With the ideas here, you can start thinking about how you’ll expand your reach beyond the local neighborhood. Just remember that as your business grows, it’s important to maintain consistency in all aspects of the business.

What creative ways have you seen businesses grow beyond the local neighborhood?