Find New Small‐Business Customers With These 6 Tips
Right now in your neighborhood, e-commerce ventures and other small businesses have items they need to ship. If you can bring in their business, you’ll secure a new steady source of income. How can you find these companies and steer them to your store? Here are a few ideas that serve a dual purpose — gain access to new clients and connect with local support and networking groups.
1. Join the ShopSmall® Movement Year-Round
What began as Small Business Saturday — an effort to get people to do their holiday shopping at locally owned businesses the day after Black Friday — has turned into an ongoing initiative aimed at promoting local small businesses all year-round. The ShopSmall website contains a variety of resources aimed at consumers and business owners alike.
Take advantage of these resources to find local businesses that need your services. Appeal to local mom-and-pop stores by downloading customizable marketing materials advertising your store as a fellow small business. Get info on organizing a community-wide event connecting locals with businesses in your neighborhood. You can even access an interactive map displaying other nearby small businesses; once you know your local shops, you can cultivate a list of contact info for cold calls and mailing special offers.
2. Find Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Locate your nearest chapter, find its website and check out the membership directory for companies to approach or upcoming events to attend. Even in this highly digital age, nothing beats the power of good old-fashioned networking. Mingling with many potential customers at once is a great way to meet other nearby business owners to discuss their shipping needs.
3. Look for Meetup Groups
While many resources exist for finding local brick-and-mortar establishments, it can be harder to discover locally owned e-commerce businesses. Meetup.com can be a very useful tool for discovering nearby events aimed at groups of people with specific interests. Search for e-commerce groups in your area and you may find upcoming opportunities to network with any number of online business owners.
4. Invest in Targeted Ads
The nature of your business may feel too localized for advertising on the internet. However, platforms like Google Ads and Facebook ads allow for location targeting. This way, you can reach people and businesses in your surrounding area.
5. Get Involved
The more active you are in your community, the more likely other businesses in your community will take notice. Consider sponsoring local sports games, street festivals, business events or charity fundraisers. Take out an ad in your town’s high school yearbook or the graduation program of a nearby college. You can even offer special discounts to local business owners.
6. Join Business Network International (BNI)
BNI is a referral and networking organization with local chapters you can join. Each chapter allows only one member per industry, so you’re not competing against each other. Members share business prospects, gain a professional support system and develop lasting relationships with other professionals.