How to use local community marketing to build a lasting business.

How to use local marketing to build a lasting business.

Many small businesses focus their marketing dollars on building their brand rather than connecting with their community.  However, if you want to build a sustainable business that stands the test of time, then you should start by cultivating a brand that resonates with your local community. Brands that focus on community often become an anchor in their neighborhood and organically grow their customer base. As the founder of Harun Coffee, a coffee shop and lifestyle brand based in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, I’ve seen the effectiveness of a local marketing strategy.

Here are three community marketing methods to achieve long term business success.

1. Participate in community events.

Hosting and participating in local events is a great way to help new consumers discover your business and attract recurring customers. At Harun Coffee, many of our marketing efforts are focused on creating awareness about the rich history and cultural impact of Leimert Park, one of the most creative and artistic communities in the world—and one of the only walkable enclaves in L.A. 

Since we opened in 2018, we realized that giving our customers authentic experiences has a greater impact on our business than traditional advertising. That’s why we worked with other merchants in our area to organize a local Juneteenth festival for the past two years. In addition to celebrating Black history, the festival focuses on creating economic stimulus for merchants and vendors in the area. In turn, many merchants offer special product discounts and incentives to customers who support other Leimert-based businesses. As a result, we all benefit financially from consistent media coverage and heightened interest in the area during this event, which, in turn, brings us one step closer to building a business that transcends generations. 

2.Collaborate with local vendors in your community.

Another way we market our company is by partnering with local vendors to create products that are exclusive to our store. Collaboration promotes the idea of community and provides the opportunity for cross-promotion. For example, we partnered with Heavenly Cakes, a well-known bakery that has been in L.A. for decades, to sell a vegan version of their popular tea cakes. This tactic helped introduce our brand to some of Heavenly Cakes longtime customers. Plus, it gave us the opportunity to partner with a major pillar in the local business community.

3.Organize and attend community charity events.

Lastly, working with community-based organizations is another way to help people discover your business. During the pandemic, we were blessed to be a part of a city-wide program that provided meals to senior citizens. The program gave us the opportunity to prepare meals for 300 senior citizens in the Crenshaw district each week and introduced us to a new demographic of customers. As a result, we received an increase in delivery sales and packaged goods.  Many of the people we served became regulars at our shop, thus helping us expand our reach in the community.  

In addition, we have organized and sponsored community clean-ups, donated time and resources to help vendors, and given local artists space to display their work. It is through this sequence of authentic actions rooted in concern for people that we are creating generational longevity. The sequence may not be the same for everyone, but, for us, the sequence begins with our commitment to serve our community. Participating in local events, collaborating with local vendors, and making impact through local programs is how you ensure that you will be around for generations to come. 

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