For El Paso’s small businesses, especially those competing with larger companies operating on a national scale, being local is an advantage: the local factor.
Where larger corporations can compete with scaled-up processes, heightened brand awareness, and even increased savings, the customer service and community-oriented small businesses resonate with El Paso consumers. When customers shop local, they’re investing in the place they live. The time is ripe to lean into this advantage.
Here are eight tips on how to lean into the local factor to drive success for your El Paso company.
1.Get neighborly with your customer service.
Make your customers feel like they are working with a person, not a faceless company. Leverage personal interactions and empower your team to emphasize personalization when possible.
Encourage reviews from the locals.
Make reviews a priority for your business. After doing business with El Pasoans and regional customers, ask them to write a review. Encourage them to share details about their experience and to give a shout-out to the member of your team who helped. These testimonials can be powerful promoters for your business.
Target your marketing to El Paso and regional customers:
- Optimize for local SEO
Make sure your business name, address (including city and ZIP code), and phone number are everywhere online: your BBB Profile, your website, Google profile, online business directories, and social media pages. Including this information helps your business to appear higher and more often on search engine results pages for local search queries.
- Social media
Use local geographic hashtags, join local Facebook groups and networks, and run contests or giveaways to reach your local audience.
- Set up a referral program
Get people talking about your business and turn your most loyal customers into advocates for your business with a referral program. There is a pilot program for El Paso businesses with a physical storefront located within the city limits — sign up to be a part of this program, which is free through 2024 for the first 500 businesses with a physical storefront within El Paso city limits that sign up: EPBusinessStrong.org/Business-Rewards-Program.
- Use your phone number
If you’ve got staff to take the calls, advertise your local phone number and show your willingness to connect with customers.
4. Be a community leader.
Take part in community decisions. Your expertise is the thing to inform local community initiatives, building projects, events, and, in some cases, even local legislation. By being an active member of local leadership, you’re doubling down on both the future of the place you live and your reputation as a trusted thought leader.
5. Support a cause that resonates locally.
Supporting a local charity or cause shows your commitment to the El Paso community. When you donate time, money, or resources, you’re demonstrating that you want to be part of something bigger that enriches your community for years to come. Find a cause that aligns with your business’s values and consider volunteer activities for your team.
6. Look to your local employees.
You can’t get any more local than your employees. Whether they’re working onsite or remotely, they’re on the front lines interacting with customers, making sales, and providing services. You can’t be tapped into the local needs of your community without them, so look for ways to strengthen these critical relationships.
Not only can putting your employees first have a significant effect on the long-term success of your business, but it can also create a ripple effect with your community when word spreads about your reputation as an employer.
7. Buy local.
Just like some restaurants source locally, many businesses can do the same. Buying local parts, supplies, services, and goods means you’re stimulating your local economy, which includes supporting local jobs.
8. Lean on BBB.
BBB is a trusted resource for millions of local consumers every year. If you haven’t already, get listed with BBB today.
Marybeth Stevens is CEO of the Better Business Bureau of El Paso. You can reach her at [email protected]