A small business can’t use the same marketing strategies that a large business does when promoting their services — and that can put a small business at a disadvantage when competing in the same space. But small businesses do have some tricks they can use to better connect with their community and their clientele. Here are some tips for positive self-promotion of your small business.

Putting in the Time with Your Community

Community events, fundraisers and fairs are the ideal locations to meet potential clients. Sponsoring local charities or runs will send the message that you care about your community while also giving you a chance to interact with locals. Often, the largest downside when dealing with a large business or agency is a lack of this type of one-on-one connection.

Networking with Local Small Businesses

Consider trading business cards and flyers with other small business owners. Place your business cards in local businesses while collecting business cards to put in your own waiting room. Creating a network of small business owners will help you connect with local customers, with advertising that is truly geographically targeted.

You may also want to go to networking events, seminars and conferences to get to know other business owners and to identify potential leads.

Bolstering Your Social Media Presence

Many large businesses are focused on building a national presence. You only need to worry about a smaller community. Bolster your web and social media presence with information that your clients and community residents need, in addition to highlights of local events and spaces. On social media, you can connect directly to potential customers and let them connect with you. You can even post events on platforms like Facebook to draw in a large, interested audience.

Going Local with Paid Advertising

You can use physical mailers (such as postcards or statement stuffers), radio ads and billboards to augment your existing marketing and reach out to your geographic audience. Focus on the benefits of working with a smaller company: lower costs, better customer care and a tailored experience that is designed for your region. Use paid advertising sparingly, but it can be extraordinarily effective to give a marketing campaign a boost.

Encouraging Reviews and Referrals

Often, when clients are looking for a local business, they will follow the business that has the best reviews. Encourage your satisfied customers to leave reviews on third-party sites, or encourage them to leave you a testimonial that you can post online. All of this will build up your trust and reputation, generating word-of-mouth advertising throughout your community.

In addition to this, create a referral program and encourage your customers to refer others to you. When your clients are satisfied, it’s time to ask for a referral.

Ultimately, though large businesses may have an edge when it comes to funding and resources, they are often at a disadvantage in smaller, local communities. Small businesses are able to interact more intimately with clients, asking for referrals and maintaining a constant dialogue. By reaching out to the community, requesting referrals, building your social media and taking advantage of local networking events, you can improve your self-promotion and grow your client base.