Creative Local Marketing: How to Stand Out in a Crowded Marketplace

How mascots and merchandise can help you stand out

In the bustling marketplace, where businesses both big and small try their best to capture customers’ attention, local businesses often find themselves overshadowed by the giants. But it’s not all gloom! With the right strategies, local businesses can shine brightly.

One of the effective ways for local businesses to distinguish themselves is through strategic local marketing, especially aimed at becoming an emblem of their community. Instead of trying to keep up with the latest trends in online marketing and trying to compete with highly specialized experts of the big players, small business owners should focus on innovative and local marketing strategies. The easiest way to unlock the power of local marketing starts with designing a mascot character as your personal brand ambassador!

As mascots and merchandise experts since 2006, we used our experience to write down tips for creative local marketing strategies, to help you become a pillar of your community. In this article, we’ll delve deep into local marketing strategies that not only help businesses stand out, but also create a lasting impact. If you own or work for a small shop or local service company, then this article is for you!

The challenges

First, let’s take a look at the current market. As a local business, there are 3 main challenges you need to solve in order to ensure that you are the number one choice for your average local customer.

  • Grabbing attention and attracting new customers
  • Delivering a memorable experience to encourage your audience to visit again
  • Building a long-lasting relationship with customers and converting them into loyal fans

This may sound simple, or it may sound overwhelming, but the reality is that you can easily excel at all of these steps if you invest your time and resources in local marketing. There is no better way to grow your business than to reach out to your community!

1. Grabbing the attention and attracting new customers

A step-by-step approach

To make a memorable first impression, you need to be both visible and appealing to potential customers locally. This can boost your walk-in customers and maximize your business potential. Here are some ideas on how you can distinguish yourself from competitors and grab the attention of your local customers.

Local events & sponsorships

You can participate in or even organize local community events! Make use of a mascot during community events and you will stand out even more. Imagine sponsoring a school fair with your business’ emblem. If you are a business in an industry related to kids, you can create custom-made merchandise as giveaways in your local school fairs. A great way to enhance your local marketing strategy!

Take for example Soft Suds. Promo Bears helped bring to life Shammy, the mascot of this Texan Auto Spa service company. In turn, they created multiple campaigns and events around their mascot, including Shammy’s birthday, which is celebrated in their local community every year!

Red and blue car wash mascot for local marketing

Eye-catching storefronts or signs

If you want to make sure that you are seen, a unique storefront or sign is an affordable way to grab attention. This inexpensive method will increase walk-in customers and help you connect with your local community.

Creative tip: Willing to invest in a beautiful storefront? You can make use of custom-made inflatables such as inflatable arches, product replicas or mascots to really give your store a makeover. Check out these examples of some of our clients, as inspiration!

Offer special deals

It’s not unknown that everybody loves a good deal! If you make sure you offer limited time discounts or promotions regularly, your business’ chance of blooming will increase. For example, to increase your local marketing, imagine organizing a “Local Resident Day” where nearby residents get a personalized stress ball or keychain. There’s no better way to show your appreciation for your local community!

2. Delivering a Memorable Experience to Encourage

Repeat Visits

A step-by-step approach

Once you’ve grabbed their attention, it is time to give them a reason to come back. New customers are great but repeat visits will increase your stability. But how can you do that?

Personalized services

This will surely increase the walk-in customer experience! Train your staff to recognize regular customers and act accordingly. A simple “Welcome back” or “Would you like your usual?” might go a long way!

Exclusive mascot merchandise

Periodically introduce new mascot-themed merchandise. You can use this as giveaways or as a limited availability product for your local community. This will have your customers look forward to the next time you introduce a new mascot merchandise product, eager to obtain theirs!

Creative tip: If you sell products for families and children, you can keep them loyal by introducing a line of child-friendly mascot merchandise giveaways. At every 50$ spent, your customers receive a free item from the line. For example, you can have a line of finger puppets, stress balls, keychains, fake tattoos, stickers and the ultimate prize: a custom-made mascot plush toy! For loyal customers or orders higher than a certain amount of money, you can even give away an XXL plush toy.

Red and blue car wash mascot for local marketing

loyalty programs

This will surely increase the walk-in customer experience! Train your staff to recognize regular customers and act accordingly. A simple “Welcome It feels like these have existed since the dawn of time…yet, they never get old! A punch card that gives a free coffee on the 10th purchase, a discount voucher after a certain amount spent or a loyalty gift when a customer has been visiting a car wash for 1 year. These loyalty programs can help distinguish you from competitors, which is a great local marketing strategy especially when competing with industry giants.

Feedback mechanisms

Feedback cannot be missed! It’s really important that you make your customers feel heard. Set up a way in which your customers can leave feedback and make sure you either reply (if possible) or very visibly act on it! Don’t allow your local customers think that they’re not being heard, but act on the feedback as soon as possible.

Creative tip: It’s not always easy to get customers to give you feedback. You can incentivize customers by organizing a raffle at the end of each month. A random customer that gives you feedback is selected and wins a custom-made plush toy! A memorable and unique way to reward your customers.

Red and blue car wash mascot for local marketing

3. Building a Long-Lasting Relationship with Customers

A step-by-step approach

The ultimate goal is to turn your local community into brand ambassadors. Word of mouth is extremely important for your local marketing strategy, and it can help you grow your customer base, while maintaining old customers. This is why your long-term goal should be to build a meaningful connection with your customers and become known in your local community.

Mascot on social media

Use your mascot to create a persona on your social media accounts. This way, you foster a virtual bond with your local community by putting a face to the brand. You can show behind the scenes videos or your mascot in different moments to really connect with your audience.

Creative tip: If you want to raise your social media without much effort, you can encourage user generated content related to your mascot. Ask fans to share pictures with them and your mascot on social media and show it to you in-store. This is a hassle-free word-of-mouth generator that will help you become a pillar in your community!

Personalized merchandise newsletters

Share updates and offer special gifts through newsletters. For example, offer the opportunity for walk-in customers to get an extra mascot merchandise item such as a plush toy, stickers or luggage tags by showing the newsletter they received. This is a great way to make loyal local customers feel privileged and increase walk-in customers!

In conclusion, mascots and merchandise aren’t just great local marketing tools, but are bridges that connect businesses with their local communities at a personal level. When deployed strategically, they can transform the local marketing landscape, creating brand ambassadors out of everyday customers. As a manufacturer of mascots and merchandise, we’ve seen first-hand their impact on local marketing. Take Shammy as an example, or check out our portfolio for many more references.

Do you believe mascots and merchandise are a great tool for enhancing your local marketing strategy?

Ready to leverage mascots and merchandise for your local business success or do you have any questions about our expertise? Then don’t hesitate to contact us using the form below!

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