5 Easy Tips to Market Your Local Business Specials & Events Online

The other day I was walking up 2nd Avenue between 10th and 14th streets in New York City.  In a matter of 4 blocks, I came across nearly 10 different local businesses (just on one side of the street) that were using chalk boards to promote their specials and events to potential customers.  This is by no means an uncommon occurrence.  On any given street in New York City (and most cities), you’ll find that local business owners use the “old” chalkboard in hopes of bringing new customers in the door.

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In fact, many businesses use this as the only way to promote their specials and events to potential customers.  Unfortunately, this type of “location-based marketing” fails to reach the thousands of potential customers on any given day that are looking on web and mobile for specials and events in your neighborhood.

One of the primary reasons a local business owner creates these types of specials and events is to drive customers through the door during typically slow days or time periods.  They didn’t create the Happy Hour just to reward early drinkers, it was meant to get people in the door as soon as that bar opened.

There are many simple tools a local business owner can use to promote that: “Two for One Happy Hour”, “Live Trivia Night”, “Prix-Fixe Dinner Special”, “20% Off Summer Clothing Line” or “10% Monday Discounts on Salon Services”.  Here are five easy ways to make sure your specials, sales, events and promotions reach as many potential customers as possible.

1. Promote Your Specials & Events on Your Website

This is a no-brainer.  Make sure your website clearly lays out those specials, sales, events and promotions that you are creating to entice potential customers.  Most importantly, make sure they are up-to-date, or else you might have some angry customers arriving to your establishment.

An easy way is to place a calendar-tool on your website that updates in real-time as you add your specials and events. This removes the need for you to have a web developer continually making changes to your website.  UPlanMe and Google both offer great free calendar tools for local businesses’ websites.

2. Promote Your Specials & Events on Your Social Media

Assuming your local business is participating in social media (which it should be), use this to your advantage.  Make sure you’re posting your daily specials and events to Twitter and Facebook.  If you have an Instagram account, make sure to take a snapshot of that chalkboard’s daily specials to share with your followers.

For more noteworthy events that aren’t a daily or weekly special, consider creating a Facebook Page Event.  While you can’t invite your followers, you can invite your Facebook friends.  They in-turn can choose to invite their friends.  This virality can go a long way.

Lastly, make sure to add a photo on Facebook with your status update. Whether it’s the picture of the chalk board, or a funny anecdote, status updates with pictures tend to get more likes and shares (hence views) to your followers and their friends

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3. Promote your Specials Through Google Offers & Yelp Deals

Many local business owners probably haven’t considered Google Offers andYelp Deals as a way to market their daily or weekly specials. While Google Offers and Yelp Deals were initially created to compete with the Groupons / Daily Deal Companies of the world (Get 50% off $20 worth of goods), they provide another type of offer that doesn’t require you to charge massive discounts and force customers to pay upfront.

Google and Yelp let you create redeemable “coupons” and “offers” that reach consumers on their web and mobile apps.  For example, you can use Google and Yelp to create an “Offer” for “2 drinks for the price of 1 on Thursdays”, “20% off on Monday”, or “Access to our Prix-Fixe Menu”.  This is a great way to reach the millions of consumers who are using Google and Yelp to seek out specials and deals.

4. Promote your Specials on Your Business Listings

Have you made sure to update your business listing across the top online business directory sites like Yelp, Google Places, Bing Places, Local.com, Mapquest, Yellow Pages, Citysearch and others?  If not, you’re missing out on a huge, promotional opportunity to reach the thousands of customers that are seeking out your local business online.

By managing your listing on these various listing directories, you are able to place your daily and weekly specials and events directly into the description of your business. If you haven’t already realized, these are the websites that consumers are going to seek out local bars, restaurants, retail stores and services, locally.  Make sure to use this to your advantage to entice potential customers into your store.

Haven’t updated your business listing across the web, yet?  Use Yext PowerListings to easily update your business info and description across 45+ of the top business listing websites.

5. Promote Your Specials & Events to Local News, Event Sites and Blogs

While this option is a bit more tedious, it doesn’t hurt to identify the various local news websites, local blogs, local event / things to do websites and location-based mobile apps that potential customers in your area are using to find out about the local happenings in your town or city.

Reach out to these publications and see if there is a way for you to upload your daily and weekly specials and events for free.  If you are a member of your local Chamber of Commerce or your business resides in a Business Improvement District, reach out and see what they can do to help the local businesses market and promote their specials.

Alternatively, you can access tools like UPlanMe which for a $15 monthly fee, will automatically publish and promote your daily and weekly specials for you.  Create them once, and they’ll push them out to various local websites and blogs to reach thousands of potential customers in your town or city.

Either way, its up to you to take the time to market your business’s specials and events online.  If you are creating specials, promotions and events, you’re most likely doing so to drive traffic through the door.  Remember, that a chalk board in front of your business is just not enough to help drive those customers into your business.  Marketing these specials and events online is the right way to attract new customers.

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