Starting a niche small business, whether it’s a hip-hop/ballet fusion dance studio, gluten-free bakery, or vintage thrift store, is no small feat.
You have to jump through hoops to set up your business entity, find a location, and hire employees. On top of that, you have to raise awareness of your business and generate traffic within your local community.
Establishing a niche business comes with unique challenges, especially if many of your potential customers aren’t familiar with the types of products and services you offer. However, there are plenty of ways to get the word out and turn your business into a community staple. We’ll cover five top tips in this post.
- Host free events.
- Create an SEO strategy.
- Adopt a targeted ad strategy.
- Get involved in philanthropy.
- Be personable on social media.
Your niche small business provides a distinctive service or product to your local community, enriching the local business landscape. These strategies will allow you to hit the ground running and build a loyal customer base.
1. Host free events.
Making your business an inviting, welcoming place will help you earn new customers and make a name for yourself in the community. One way to invite community members to check out what you have to offer is by hosting free events.
Free events offer a casual, no-pressure opportunity for community members to learn more about your business and get to know your staff. Consider hosting events like:
- Workshops/classes. Show the value your business brings to the community by offering free educational workshops or classes. Host a dance class, cooking tutorial, paint night, dog obedience class, or wine tasting.
- Open houses. Open your business to the public to host a tour of your facilities, complete with free snacks, drinks, and coupons or discount books.
- Online events. Allow potential new customers to tune in to an event from their homes, such as a virtual yoga class, cooking class, or a Q&A with a local author.
During these events, let attendees know about the niche products and services you have and the benefits of these offerings. When you create a positive experience for attendees, they’ll be much more likely to visit your business again in the future.
2. Create an SEO strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of designing your website to appeal to both visitors and search engines alike. When your business’s website is user-friendly, informative, and engaging, it will improve your performance in search rankings, meaning your website will appear higher on search results pages.
Keep these tips in mind when creating your SEO approach:
- Create high-quality content targeted to your main audience. Your content is the driving force behind your SEO strategy. Search engines prioritize content that is authoritative and meets users’ search intent. Write informative blog posts related to your business’s services, events, or any research you’ve conducted.
- Leverage local SEO. Google’s algorithm takes proximity into account for certain types of searches. For example, if you were to search “local Mexican restaurants” or “pet boutiques near me,” you’ll likely see a variety of local businesses that offer what you’re looking for. Local SEO involves optimizing your content to increase your visibility in local search results, including the Google Local Pack/Map Pack. To improve your local SEO performance, your content should be relevant to local issues and audiences.
- Optimize your metadata. Don’t forget about the technical aspects of SEO as well. This means incorporating keywords into posts, creating concise, informative meta descriptions and meta titles, and including alternative text for images.
Adopting an SEO strategy, especially a local SEO approach, can help establish your small business in the digital sphere. You can draw in potential new customers with educational content that helps them easily find the information or services they’re looking for.
3. Adopt a targeted ad strategy.
Targeted advertising allows you to boost your marketing ROI by reaching your target audience members directly.
One of the most effective forms of targeted advertising is geofencing. Geofencing marketing involves digitally connecting with target audience members who are within a specific geographic boundary. After drawing the boundary, you can serve audience members digital ads on their laptops, tablets, and mobile devices.
Here’s how the process works:
- Create your address list. Depending on the audience you want to reach, your list might include addresses for homes, other businesses, conferences, concerts, sporting events, trade shows, or universities.
- Design effective ads. Create engaging, visually appealing ads to use during your targeted ad campaign. The ads should lead audience members to a useful landing page, like your business’s homepage or online store.
- Track your progress. Track metrics such as your ad impressions, click-through rate, and conversion rate. Note any successes or failures in your strategy and adjust your plan accordingly.
Geofencing marketing allows you to focus your marketing efforts rather than taking a “throw things at the wall and see what sticks” approach. You’ll know that you’re directly reaching people who live and work within close proximity of your business.
4. Get involved in philanthropy.
Giving back to the community helps establish your business as trustworthy and responsible. Studies have shown that half of Americans would switch to support a company that supports a cause they believe in over one that doesn’t.
Also, consumers and employees want to have a say in your business’s charitable efforts. 84% of consumers and 85% of employees say that the more a business engages its customers and employees in charitable giving decisions, the more trust consumers have in the business.
Your business can offer a variety of philanthropic opportunities for customers and employees, including:
- Employee volunteer opportunities and volunteer grants
- Percentage nights or fundraisers for local nonprofits
- In-kind donations to local charities
- Pro-bono services
As you promote these opportunities, you can connect with a local audience that’s specifically interested in philanthropy. Community members will feel good about supporting your business when you support charities in your area.
5. Be personable on social media.
Social media is an effective channel for introducing potential new customers to your brand’s personality. On social media, you can interact with community members while promoting your business’s products and services.
Social media users seek authenticity from the accounts they follow. They don’t want to feel like they’re talking to a business—they want to interact with a real person.
For instance, let’s say you’re promoting your new dance business on your Instagram account. To give followers an inside look at your studio, you can let one of your dance teachers do an “Instagram takeover” where they use your account to post video updates throughout their day. This gives a face to your business and makes your social media presence feel much more friendly and approachable.
It’s also important to keep your audience in mind when creating social media content. Every social media platform has its own unique audience and appeals to different demographics. This infographic explores top social media platforms and the core audiences on each platform:
Creating content that resonates with each specific audience will boost engagement. For example, you might reach a younger audience on TikTok by participating in video trends, while posting photos and written content on Facebook can help you reach older generations.
In addition to your organic social media efforts, consider launching a paid social media campaign. Similar to geofencing, paid social media ads allow you to advertise to a specific target audience, even if they aren’t following your page. Using both strategies together can greatly boost your online brand visibility and awareness.
Establishing your niche small business in your local community won’t happen overnight. However, with these marketing and outreach strategies, you can foster brand awareness faster, turning your business into a go-to spot for local customers.
Tiffany Bellah has been involved in the dance world at many levels – as a dancer, a dance mom, a studio manager, a virtual assistant to studio owners and now as the Customer Service Manager for Dance Studio Pro. She is the mother of 4 and lives in Southern California where she enjoys working remotely to support the users of the World’s Best Dance Studio Software.
A decade ago, when her girls wanted to dance competitively she went to the studio owner to offer her skills in administration and knack for setting up and managing apps that would make that Studio Owner’s life easier.
After researching all the options, she discovered DSP and became an expert user – fast forward to the present, she has been with the company for a year and a half, and she is thrilled to be a part of the constant improvements in technology that help us all connect around the art of dance.