For small businesses, exposure is everything. But unlike big international brands, integrating yourself into the fabric of your hometown or surrounding area is absolutely integral to standing out amongst the crowd. In our digital age, however, it isn’t enough to have an eye-catching storefront, or to put an ad out in the local paper. Because of this, Creekmore Marketing has some valuable tips on how to build up links within your local area so that your business can be seen and get the attention it deserves.
Before you start constructing additions to your website or reaching out to local media, work with what you already have. No man is an island, and no business works entirely alone. Have you partnered with another business in the past, even for something small? Ask if you can give them a testimonial for their website. No one is likely to turn down a glowing review, especially not from a business partner, and so in exchange, you can ask them to link back to your site. Who knows, you may even get a testimonial for your own business this way.
Similarly to thinking about business partners, are you a retailer who sells a product manufactured by another company? Fantastic! Many manufacturers have websites that list dealers of their products. Reach out to them and see if you can get added to such a list, attaining another link to your site in the process.
You’ve plumbed the resources you already have; now think about what you need. Interns are a great resource, as they often work for little or no pay, and you can also attain a link to a university by searching for someone to lend a valuable hand to your business. Reach out to universities in your area and see if they can link to your business in an internship database on their site. Many college majors are now requiring internships for students to meet graduation requirements, and so gaining assistance, and a valuable link, should come naturally to you.
Job Posting Websites
Not all interns stay forever. Are you looking for more qualified, long-term help? Job posting websites, forums, and message-boards have the dual advantage of possibly finding you the next great addition to your team, and providing you with a visible link in your area!
We’ve talked about the ways that your community can help your business; now let’s talk about ways that your business can help your community, and gain some links to boot. Ever notice the ads on the outfield banners at your nephew’s little league baseball game? Sponsoring a local sports team is a great way to assist your community, and you can also gain a link from the team’s website. Sports teams aren’t the only community organizations that need sponsor money, though: school theater groups, charities, and church groups all need financial assistance, and could link to your business’s website from their sponsor or donor page.
With the rising tuition costs of higher education only getting higher, scholarships are a hot commodity, and are heavily sought-after by both future college students and their parents. Help students and gain some good publicity for your business by offering a scholarship. This will require a little extra work on your part, as the scholarship will require a page on your website that lays out the requirements for applicants, but could get you links from a variety of places. By publicizing the scholarship in local newspapers and their websites, high schools, or anywhere else with a vested interest in education, you can gain links with a great level of visibility, and get some very positive publicity while you do it.
Host an Event
If scholarships are not your company’s style, why not throw a party instead? Local businesses usually have the funds and resources to host an event in their town, and are another great way to get links from newspapers and similar outlets while also generated word-of-mouth buzz from grateful participants.
Reach Out to the Newspaper
Have you done something noteworthy for your community (like offering a scholarship to high-schoolers or hosting an awesome event)? See if you can get featured in the local newspaper! While you can't exactly embed a hyperlink in a pulp-and-ink newspaper, almost all newspapers now have online counterparts. If you get a write-up in the paper, you'll also probably end up on their website, and if that is the case, you can see if they would link back to your company's website. While some think that newspapers are falling out of fashion, many people still keep up with them, and so getting a link through them is sure to reach a wide audience, as well as endow your business with the credibility that newspapers still possess for their readers.
If you own or operate a small business, embrace what makes that experience so unique and work with the place that you’re in. Your patrons can oftentimes be fantastic resources to get the word about your business out there, and help you show up in local searches on search engines. Get creative, and help use the relationships that you’ve been through your business to your advantage!