Local Business Growth Tips from Experts

On Online Marketing

Spend your online marketing dollars where they will make an impact in your backyard. Instead of buying ads that will be seen by people outside of your geography, maximize the impact of organic search via services such as Local Market Launch and Yellowbot John Greathouse Rincon Venture PartnersJohn Greathouse
Make sure you submit your site to all of the local online directories, such as Yelp and Google Local. A simple and free way you can do this is by going to and submitting your site.Neil Patel QuickSprout & KISSmetricsNeil Patel
Local businesses tend to benefit most from some very simple tactics. The first is getting listed in all the places people go to look for local business such as Google Maps/Places, Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and the local data suppliers (Infogroup, Localeze, & Acxiom). David Mihm's excellent blog post on the Local Search Ecosystem can help here. The second key tactic is to make your website useful, accessible, and easy to consume. Many local sites don't load properly on mobile devices despite the fact that mobile is a primary way we find local businesses. Others have complex navigation, or lack critical information (like a menu you don't need to download in PDF or hours, phone number, and address on the homepage). Make it easy on your web visitors, and you'll earn more in-person visitors.Rand FishkinMozRand Fishkin
Take a hard look at what marketing you’re doing and cut things that aren't driving long-term bottom-line results. You don't have the time or money to throw away on marketing tactics that don't work. For example, think about how much you're spending on yellow pages ads. Can you pinpoint how many people have bought something from your business because of them? Probably not. Instead, you might want to take the time or money you were spending on creating those ads and write a blog post instead -- that might not drive immediate results, but it'll help you build your business over the long haul for the fraction of the cost. By asking yourself these tough questions and weeding out the underperforming marketing tactics, you can save your time, effort, and budget.Ginny SoskeyHubSpotGinny Soskey

On Social Media

Small business owners have a lot of responsibilities and little time, staff and money to dedicate to marketing their company. I'd suggest that they set up and optimize their local social accounts on each relevant channel to ensure they are found when someone conducts a search for your type of business. This would entail setting up your Google+ Local Page, Yelp, Facebook page, Twitter account, Bing listing, Yellow Pages listing and more. Obviously, it's ideal if you're actively updating these pages with relevant content, but your first step should be securing your company's account.Brian HonigmanMarketing ConsultantBrian Honigman
My advice to local business owners has always been “be a real person,” and by that I mean use your real face on your social media accounts. Business logos are obviously very important, but your customers want to talk to you - the owner - and not a logo. By having your face on your social media accounts your customers will recognize you and feel more comfortable approaching/talking to you - better personal connections with your customers leads to more loyal customers.Tom O’Keefe @BostontweetBoston Tweet
Most local businesses still have inadequate presence on social, but that's where ever-more of their customers choose to spend their time (especially that Gen Y demographic), so... the savvy marketer goes where her potential customers are, no? No social savvy? It's worth the investment to hire someone who is to show you the ropes, especially how to focus on a local audience using a global platform like Facebook, G+, or Twitter.Ted CoinéSwitch and ShiftTed Coine
Social media + local + events = a fantastic recipe for building business and community. For your next business event:
  • Promote on your social channels and make it easy for customers, fans, and attendees to do so (include suggested tweets in email or other correspondence about the event)
  • Use a unique #hashtag so attendees can follow the event, meet (and stay in touch with) each other, and people who can't make it but follow those tweeting about it become curious about what it was.
  • During the event make it easy for attendees to follow your accounts, and to share their impressions.
  • Set up a computer and display screen that "follows" the hashtag and more attendees will want to tweet their way onto that screen.
Laura Fitton HubSpot Laura Fitton

On Creative Offline Exposure

Billboard advertising exposes your business to a whole new market in a specific location. Because my event takes place in Marlborough, Massachusetts, advertising within a 20 minute radius exposes the event to those in the area who would have not known about it otherwiseMichella BrudnerNatural Living ExpoMichella Brudner
For a one-on-one or local business, you need to find a way to reach 150 NEW people every single month. For an online business, that number escalates to 1,000 NEW people every month. Workshops are one of the best ways for me to find local business. If I can reach 150 new people, I know that x number will show up at the workshop, and x number will make a purchase. With an online activity, and no face-to-face meeting, it takes a higher reach to convert visitors into customers. Rémy Chaussé The Get UNstuck Revolution!™Remy Chausse
Go on a Listening Tour! Make a list of the movers & shakers and people you admire, current customers and prospects, ask a few smart open ended questions then sit back and take notice.Paige Arnof-Fenn Mavens & MogulsPaige Arnof-Fenn

On Customers

So much of exceptional day-to-day service comes down to tone – ‘Is there anything else I can do for you?’ and ‘What else do you want?’ are in essence, asking the same thing, but are wildly different in terms of tone. In other words, great service not only depends on execution (that you asked in the first place), it also depends on perception, or how you communicated with the customer. Getting that right is the first step in building a business people love interacting with.Gregory Ciotti Help ScoutGregory Ciotti
Value yourself and set your prices accordingly. Customers and clients will only value and respect you as much as you value and respect yourself, your work, and your time.Jennifer SnyderNeat as a Pin! Organizing ExpertsJennifer Snyder
You must find a way to differentiate yourself from what is out there....a unique rare product mix, unbelievable customer service, anything that makes you worth doing business what makes you different and make that your core communication....your customers will come!Craig WolfeCelebriDucksCraig Wolfe

On Connecting With Others

Set up at least 3 face-to-face meetings a week. It is at face-to-face meetings where brainstorming take place and partnerships are formed.Kathy Condon Business Communication ExpertKathy Condon
Network in person and always follow up. :)Stacy Lynn Harp Active Christian MediaStacy Lynn Harp
You can't do everything yourself. Too many local business owners are really just self-employed people who own a job. In order to grow a true local business, you need to focus on building scalable systems and processes so your business can run without your daily input.Mike O’Donnell Hyacinth MarketingMike O'Donnell
Get involved in local Chambers of Commerce and relevant networking groups. Even go as far as using free services like to find meetings. This is a great way to get some free or inexpensive PR and begin the relationship building process.Christopher TompkinsThe Go! AgencyChristopher Tompkins
Partner with other local businesses that are already working with your type of customer. Non-Competing businesses can really partner in many ways to drive growth. You can do advertising together to drive down cost, run events together,run an open house or refer one another when meeting with your customers.Mike Kawula SelfEmployedKing.comMike Kawula

On Giving Back

Local business owners should give back to local events in the community. We sponsor events at local schools and hire students (high school, college, graduate school) for internships. Deborah SweeneyMyCorporation Deborah Sweeney

On Products & Services

One simple piece of advice for businesses: a product's look is as important as its functionality.Andrew AdamsSewell Development CorporationAndrew Adams
Always make it easy to place an order. Consider the ordering process from the consumer's point of view and streamline the process.Susanne RiehleAuthor of Make Me An Offer I Can’t RefuseSusanne Riehle
If you don't have a pit in your stomach when you tell people how much something costs, you're not charging enough.Andrew Davis Author of BrandscapingAndrew Davis