To help small businesses expand their reach in the community, we sought strategic insights from CEOs, Founders, and other business leaders. From encouraging employee volunteerism and creating an exclusive online group, we’ve gathered twelve diverse and effective strategies for you to consider.

  • Encourage Employee Volunteerism 
  • Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
  • Network With Community Influencers
  • Collaborate With Other Local Businesses
  • Engage in Community-Focused Philanthropy
  • Form Local Partnerships for Mutual Growth
  • Make an Impact With Local Nonprofits
  • Host Free Educational Workshops
  • Utilize Local Citations and Directories
  • Sponsor Specific Local Events
  • Foster Strong Customer Relationships
  • Create an Exclusive Online Group

Encourage Employee Volunteerism

Companies and communities comprise people; connection happens between people. One of the most effective ways for a small business to expand its reach in the community is to give employees time to be involved and volunteer in the community. 

It’s a sacrifice to have some of your employees’ time going to this, but the upside far outweighs the cost. Your employees will have more satisfaction in their job and their network will also grow, and so will the number of people who hear about your company. 

But there’s a critical piece to this—train your staff on how to quickly and clearly describe how your company solves a problem. Don’t leave this to chance. For example, if you install home theaters, you don’t want your staff getting into technical jargon or talking about pulling wires and hanging equipment. You want them to say, “We install amazing home theaters that will have your teenager wanting to stay in on Friday night and enjoy a movie with the family.”

Dan Pourbaix, Business Development Strategist, Parable

Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce

Joining the local chamber is ‌free marketing. When you’re part of your local Chamber of Commerce, you can network and build relationships.

Not only will you spread the word about your business, but you’ll also learn about others, form friendships, get referrals, and even work with some of them on projects.

The goal is to always increase your networking pipeline. These are unbelievably important, especially as businesses support each other in the community.

Robert Burns, Marketing Director, Oxygen Plus

Network With Community Influencers

When you’re a small business, you need to establish yourself, and you need to do so quickly. The best way to expand your reach in your community is to connect and network with the ‘big dogs’ and make it a point to get everyone to hear your name.

Joining a Chamber of Commerce if that option is available is highly recommended. A Chamber of Commerce is a group of small business owners in a central location who get together to discuss business propositions, town happenings, and new developments. 

This means that a Chamber meeting is the perfect place for small business owners to get their names into the ears of the town’s most influential people.

From there, where there is smoke, there is fire. The more you show up to meetings and take part in other businesses’ events, the more likely you are to gain popularity in your community of people. Soon, you will partner with businesses, hold events with them, and see more business of your own.

Stefan Campbell, Owner, The Small Business Blog

Collaborate With Other Local Businesses

One strategic approach small businesses can use to expand their reach in the community is by collaborating with other local businesses. This can be done through hosting joint events, cross-promotion, or even creating bundled packages of products or services. 

This not only helps to increase visibility but also facilitates the creation of a strong local network that can lead to further opportunities. It has been one of the best ways for our company to get noticed in our community and get superior leads for our services.

Jean Smart, Founder and CEO, Penelope

Engage in Community-Focused Philanthropy

Participating in community-focused philanthropy is a powerful method for a small business to grow while giving back. When one of my friends operated a small organic farm, he gave excess vegetables to local food banks and supported educational courses on sustainable agriculture. 

Consider linking your company with a cause that is meaningful to your target audience and community values. Share your charitable efforts on social media and in local newspapers to raise awareness and attract like-minded clients. 

People frequently opt to support firms that show a dedication to making a positive difference in their neighborhoods.

Gerrid Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Joy Organics

Form Local Partnerships for Mutual Growth

In my role as CEO of Ignited Results, I’ve consistently observed that one of the most effective strategies for small businesses to expand their community reach is through local partnerships. 

Collaborating with other local businesses or organizations on events, promotions, or community projects can amplify visibility, pool resources, and foster mutual growth. 

It not only strengthens the local economy but also establishes the business as a community-centric entity, building trust and loyalty among local consumers.

Jon James, CEO, Ignited Results

Make an Impact With Local Nonprofits 

A strategic approach small businesses can use to expand community reach is to partner with local nonprofits on initiatives that make a positive impact. Get creative in providing meaningful support—whether through donating proceeds, volunteering time, offering services pro bono, or amplifying their voice. 

Align with causes connected to your brand values. This builds goodwill and raises awareness. However, the priority should be on giving back, not promotion. Have employees volunteer together. 

This fosters team building while showcasing what your company culture stands for. Promote community partners on social media—share their stories, not just yours. Look for sincere collaboration opportunities. 

Avoid superficial corporate social responsibility. Let your authentic care for your community shine through. That compassion will organically attract those who share your values.

Mona Kirstein, Ph.D., Digital Strategist, Holistic Coach, and Consultant, The Wholehearted Path

Host Free Educational Workshops

As a small-business owner, a game-changing strategy I’ve implemented is hosting free educational workshops relevant to our product or service. This not only showcases our expertise but also brings value to the community, helping us establish trust and create meaningful connections with potential clients and partners.

Adil Advani, Digital PR and Marketing Director, AnySoftwareTools

Utilize Local Citations and Directories

In the vast digital landscape, small businesses often grapple with finding cost-effective ways to enhance their visibility. One strategic approach that has consistently yielded positive results is the utilization of local citations and free directories.

Local citations and online mentions of a business’s name, address, and phone number can significantly boost a company’s presence in community searches. By ensuring their business is listed on free local directories, small businesses can tap into a reservoir of potential customers right in their vicinity. 

These directories often rank well in search results, making them a valuable asset for companies aiming to capture local clientele. Consistent and accurate citations can enhance search engine trust, improving local search rankings. 

By embracing local citations and free directories, small businesses can fortify their community presence, driving both foot traffic and online engagement.

Shane McEvoy, MD, LeadFly

Sponsor Specific Local Events

One strategic approach for small businesses to expand their community reach is through sponsoring specific local events. This gives the business visibility and allows it to align itself with community values and interests. 

Sponsoring events provides a platform to directly engage with potential customers, offering a unique opportunity to showcase products or services. 

It builds goodwill and establishes the business as a community supporter, which can have long-lasting positive effects on brand perception and customer loyalty.

Chris Stott, Director, Seven Marketing

Foster Strong Customer Relationships

One of the most important strategic approaches that small businesses can use to expand their reach in the community is to build strong relationships with their customers.

Building strong customer relationships is essential because it fosters trust, loyalty, and word-of-mouth marketing. Here’s why it’s so crucial:

Customer Loyalty and Repeat Business: When small businesses prioritize building relationships with their customers, it creates a sense of loyalty. Customers are more likely to return to a business they feel a connection with, which leads to repeat business and sustained revenue.

Positive Word-of-Mouth: Satisfied customers are likely to recommend your business to friends, family, and acquaintances. Positive word-of-mouth marketing can be incredibly effective and cost-efficient in expanding your customer base.

Feedback and Improvement: Maintaining strong customer relationships provides a channel for feedback. Small businesses can learn from their customers’ experiences.

Bruno Gavino, Founder and CEO, CodeDesign

Create an Exclusive Online Group

A solid strategy is creating an online course or a members-only group based on what you’re passionate about and good at. Think exclusive perks, eBooks, and guides or even video tutorials too. 

Just remember that it’s not just about reaching more folks—it’s about sharing your expertise ‌that matters. People respect that, and they’ll want to learn from you. I particularly like the idea of creating a club where your customers feel like they belong. 

You get to connect with more people online while sharing your skills, building strong connections, and making your community even stronger.
Ewen Finser, Founder, The Digital Merchant

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