If you're running a local business, getting in front of the clients who are physically near you and who can walk through your doors is how you're going to put money in your pockets. Even if you run a boutique fitness studio and there are three other similar studios on the block, I can give you five ways to make sure clients come to you, and don't even consider the other guys even if they check in with a lower price point!
1. Focus on Referrals.
I don't know about you, but if my friends recommend something to me, I͛m much more likely to check it out. Implementing a referral incentive program in your business, or hosting a bring-a-friend event will grow your business. Imagine if every current client brought in just one friend who signed up? You'll have literally doubled your business!
2. Get Visible in Local Media.
Most of my clients come to me with big dreams of getting on national TV shows and in highly recognized magazines. And without a doubt this creates amazing credibility and brand recognition. But do you know when they really monetize? When they do the hyper-local community shows, get featured in local newspapers, and have local bloggers write about their business. Not only are they getting in front of a regional audience, but the staff who work at the station often ask questions and turn into clients! Local cable shows are often looking for community stories and entrepreneurs to highlight, so don't discount them just because they have less prestige or reach a smaller audience.
3. Become an Award-Winning Business.
Do you know how few people take advantage of this?! Lots of local publications will do an annual 'Reader's Choice' or 'Best Of' in the city, voted by the readers. Popular categories can include Best Gym/Fitness Club, Best Workout Studio, and Best Doctor. Check out your trendy local city papers to see if/when they run their award series (usually this happens in the fall) and get your members, fans and clients to nominate and vote for you! Don't see your specific category? Reach out to the editorial team and suggest it1
4.Host an Open House.
This is one of my favourite ways to create community engagement and partner with local like-minded, non-competitive businesses. How awesome would it be to pair up a boutique fitness studio offering a free class, a local juice bar providing complimentary samples, bring in a nutritionist for 15-minute consultations and host a pop-up retail location for a fitness clothing brand all in one stop! All partnering businesses can promote the event to their audiences, exposing you to new potential customers, offer a 'get started' incentive, and split any event-associated fees. Cross-promotions for the win!
5. Create a Habit.
Lots of studios and service providers offer a free introductory session, but I like to mix this up. When you offer a free second session, the customer pays for their first visit, but then has a really good reason to come back again. Offer top notch service each time and start to create a habit where they'll keep coming back again and again.
Know a great way to get local press? One of my favourite things to do is host a media event where you get multiple editors, producers, journalists and TV/radio hosts to come in all at the same time to introduce them to your product or service, and hopefully get them to cover it in their media outlet. Download a cheat sheet with my top three tips for hosting your first media event here!