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Expanding your business – 3 tips to growing locally

November 23, 2019 ​​6 min read

 
You play a vital role in the Island’s economy.  Explore ways to keep this momentum going.

Vancouver Island has a vibrant and diverse entrepreneurial culture, along with communities that prefer to support local businesses. Here are three tips to help you make the most of this favourable climate and grow locally.

1) Focus on customer service and the customer experience

Great service is the key to building loyalty and generating one of the most powerful forms of marketing: word of mouth. Providing exceptional service begins with knowing your customers: their age, level of education, goals, interests and so on. As a local business, you’re in the community and close to your customers, which is a huge advantage. With the insights you gather, you can segment your customers, create personas and map out user journeys—all of which allow you to refine your service and create even better experiences.

Talk to clients and use their feedback to improve your service. When clients are happy, ask them to provide reviews on social media and review sites, as well as your business’ website. Customer knowledge is valuable in other ways. It can help you refine your engagement and marketing program. And don’t forget that it might spark ideas for new products and services.

2) Build your local online presence

Online visibility is critical, even for local businesses.Ensure your business website is mobile friendly, because people are searching for your products and services from their phones, even when they’re at home.Build your knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques to help improve the position of your business in search results when people in your community are looking for your offering.

If you have a physical location, be sure to claim and verify your free “Google my business” listing—it’s how many people will discover your business. Once you’ve set up your basic profile, explore features like reviews and Q&A, which can help your business stand out in search results.Establish a basic social media presence. Advertising and selling doesn’t need to be the main focus to begin with. You can gain insights by listening to what people are saying, respond to complaints and compliments, and build goodwill by supporting local causes and organizations.

3) Build your local profile

With consistent effort, you can become known and trusted in your local community, so that regular customers remain loyal and recommend you, and newcomers and visitors to your area discover you. Build your profile by:

  • Partnering with complementary businesses on events and promotions
  • Sponsoring and participating in community and charitable events
  • Joining your local chamber of commerce or economic development association for networking and relationship building
  • Keeping your listings up to date in local directories
  • Sharing your expertise and knowledge—with blog posts, website FAQs, speaking opportunities, workshops, and by making yourself available to local media. That way you can establish yourself as the “go-to” in your business category.

If you’re a small business on Vancouver Island, you’re in great company. You also have lots of tactics at your disposal to help your operations grow, thrive and prosper in our beautiful Island communities.

Other topics to explore:

 3 ways to manage risk when starting a small business
 Is your business ready for the unexpected
 Building a solid succession plan
 The value of partnerships in growing your business

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