With all your proactive marketing campaigns, increased social media, and a continual eye on customer service, business is booming, right?

But as you well know, it’s still a tough economy out there. Not all small (and not-so-small) businesses are succeeding these days. Drive through any community and you will likely see several empty shops closed for business. Some stores have been shuttered for a while (sometimes with signs in the windows promising to re-open soon) and others are literally closing overnight.

If your small business is doing well, congratulations on your hard work and success! You’re obviously doing all the right things.

This doesn’t mean you should rest on your small business laurels. Instead, here are a few suggestions to keep your loyal customers and attract those left stranded should your competition bail:

  • Put out the welcome mat.Advertise your services all over town, especially targeting areas that would have typically gone to your (previous) competitor. Put a sign in your window welcoming new customers, and promote new customer specials in daily, weekly, and monthly area publications.
  • Purchase direct mail lists.Consider buying mailing lists that target consumers in your area, including new mover or specialty lists that would pertain to your business. This way you’ll know that your new direct mail pieces are going to the areas that would not necessarily know about your services.
  • Advertise creatively.Here is your opportunity to try a different approach to reaching customers. If you’re the only hardware store in town, hold a demonstration on new lawnmowers or painting tips. If you’re a local café, consider having special events. One nearby restaurant created hang tags for front doors and canvassed a residential neighborhood, promoting its delivery options.
  • Promote your business online – and give incentives to first-time customers. Hold raffles or special events in your store and promote the event online. To track your audience, ask customers to either bring in the downloadable coupon or respond online to your contest to track the response.

When the competition goes away, be sure you’re ready when you find yourself the only small business of its kind in town.

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