About 10 years ago, I decided to move to a small town called Logan, OH. This town is located in the southern part of the state and has about 7500 people. It is the definition of Small Town America. The thing that shocked me the most about living here was the unbelievable network of people who were all interconnected from school or church or other organization.
I came to understand this phenomena when I went to the store one evening and was greeted by multiple people by name who I had never seen in my life. I found out later that these people had all gone to school with my wife (who grew up in this town) and identified me by following my wife on facebook.
This type of social scenario was completely different that the social scenario I grew up with in Washington, DC, where you can remain anonymous, and your identity fades into the endless sea of people traveling to and from their jobs each day.
In cities, B2C (business to consumer) marketing is huge. Business owners (small and large) will utilize social media for online advertising and maintain good standings on Yelp and other ratings apps to keep their business alive and thriving.
But what should we do in an environment where nobody goes unnoticed?
Step 1: Get Involved
Remaining outside of social circles and waiting for things to happen to your business will only hurt you in the long-run. The best way to get noticed is to get involved!
- Do something for the local schools.
- Start delivering your food to the local bars at night
- Advertise specials for certain groups (Moose, Twigs, etc.)
These are only a few suggestions, but the main point is that if you are committed enough to open up a business (even if it is small) in a small town, you should be committed enough to join the community as well.
Give back. It will be noticed.
Step 2: Know Your Customers (Audience)
When do your customers shop? How old are they? What time of day do they want your product? Where are they located? Are they local or tourists? How seasonal is your product? Do they want you year round or only during certain months? Are they technologically capable or do they still look at newspapers?
These are only a few questions that you should ask yourself when determining how to go to market with your product. Know your audience better than you know yourself, and you will never have any issues marketing your business.
Take a look at the Google Trends snippet above – you will see that the majority of Google searches for the Hocking Hills, the local state park for which Logan, OH is famous for, peaks during certain parts of the year. The above tells me that if I am a business owner in Logan, OH, the majority of people who are interested in my town are going to be interested between the months of April and August (tourist season).
From December and March, I can expect things to be a bit slow in town, so maybe run some local specials to promote extra hard during that period of time.
Step 3: Be Persistent & Be Creative
Starting a small business is not an easy thing to do. So keep things alive and moving by staying fresh with new ideas to keep business coming in.