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- Bandera Business Association - Biz promotions in small towns


While researching marketing advice for businesses in small towns Marketing Advice, these ideas from marketing consultant Angela Taque popped out.
According to Taque, when promoting products and services in a community of people numbering just a few thousand - or perhaps hundreds - successful marketing strategies conform to the local resources, culture and population. Getting out of the office and hitting the streets to talk with local business owners, residents and public figures is the backbone to small town marketing.
Fill up empty building by promoting the good things about your community. The more shopping available, the more buyers you will have.
Successful marketing includes incorporation of the following:
• Community leaders - Make connections with the mayor, bank president and local city council. In small towns, these community leaders can easily persuade residents. For example, when local citizens realize the mayor eats at the local restaurants, so will they. If the city council members buy their groceries locally, others in the town will follow suit.
Ask people with recognizable faces and names in the small town to become part of the marketing campaign. Use quotes from community leaders that reflect happiness with local services in newspaper advertisements and local public access television advertisements. For extra impact, include photos of them at the local businesses.
• Local benefits - Draw new businesses or people to a small community by enticing them with the local benefits. When sending out letters, posting advertisements or presenting economic development initiatives at city council meetings, highlight the small town's localized and personal educational system, family friendly community activities and proximity to major highways or airports.
Discuss the unique cultural heritage of the area and the importance of small town values. Draw in businesses with special tax break incentives, low rent storefronts on a main street or a collection of resumes from local potential employees.
• Community promotions - Use empty storefronts, local bulletin boards or information booths at small town festivals to promote community growth. Employ colorful window paint to tell the history of the local community on the windows of empty store fronts during the town's annual holiday parades or other events that draw members from outside the community.
Allow visitors to connect with the cultural heritage and small town values that are on display. Or, use the windows to paint a picture of an entrepreneur's future. If you want an antique store or bakery to relocate to the community, paint the windows with phrases such as "Welcome entrepreneurs! Sell antiques - or your favorite baked goods - here!"
• Talk to locals - Ask area businesses and new residents to the community what they enjoy about living in the small town and what initially attracted them. Did they relocate for a job offer, low housing costs or for the high-ranking education system? Use those key points to attract even more people and business.
Then, ask locals what they would like to see in their community. The addition of a community center or small local grocery store may be desired by established residents and help draw new prospects to the community. Do a survey with patrons of the local businesses and learn what they want to see from their hometown shops. Do they want more sales, a larger selection or lower prices?
Then, work with the business owners to organize a sidewalk sale weekend. They could also offer the option to special order items from catalogs or a company web site and then implement a discount buyers program for those who purchase regularly or in large quantities.