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12 Strategic Approaches for Small Businesses to Expand Their Community Reach

6 Mins read

To help small businesses expand their reach in the community, we’ve gathered twelve strategic approaches from CEOs, marketing managers, and other business leaders. From forging partnerships with established organizations to instituting mentoring programs, these experts share their best strategies for community engagement and growth.

Forge Partnerships with Established Organizations

I would say that forging partnerships with well-established organizations can be instrumental in expanding a small business’s community reach. This approach allows a smaller entity to tap into the larger organization’s existing audience base. 

For instance, when our company partnered with a renowned local charity for a fundraising event, we not only contributed to a good cause, but we also made our brand visible to a wider demographic, many of whom later became our customers. This strategic collaboration proved to be a win-win situation for both parties.

Timothy Clarke, Sr. Reputation and Marketing Manager, Rize Reviews

Embrace Grassroots Marketing

Absolutely, one effective way to expand a small business’s reach in the community is by embracing grassroots marketing. Personally, I’ve found that engaging with the local community on a personal level creates lasting connections. Sponsor local events, participate in community fairs, and collaborate with nearby businesses. 

Being present in community gatherings not only fosters goodwill but also helps build a recognizable brand. Additionally, leveraging social media to share these community interactions amplifies their impact. People appreciate businesses that actively contribute to the local fabric, and it often translates into loyal customers and positive word-of-mouth.

Sai Blackbyrn, CEO, Coach Foundation

Host an Impactful Event

A great way to expand the reach in the community for your small business is to host an event. It did wonders for us. We didn’t just set up an ordinary gathering; we launched a unique virtual summit, dubbed “The Maid Summit.” Tailored for residential maid service owners, this wasn’t about mere invites. We brought on board over 40 experts, people who, like us, were fired up about the community. The idea was clear: when we support each other, we all thrive.

But here’s where it gets interesting. The buzz from our summit didn’t just fizzle out post-event. Instead, it turned into our primary lead magnet. Our credibility soared, and our brand gleamed brighter than ever. The content we generated during that event continued to pay dividends for months. So, consider hosting your own event. It’s not just the immediate traction you gain; it’s the enduring value that resonates long after.

Amar Ghose, CEO, ZenMaid

Engage in Local Facebook Groups

Much like real estate agents sponsor community garage sales to establish local connections and get their names out there, small businesses can adopt a digital version of this strategy by engaging in local Facebook community groups.

Actively providing genuine and helpful advice in neighborhood, city, or other relevant Facebook community groups—such as local mom’s groups or senior groups—is an extremely effective way for small businesses to build brand awareness and get their names out there. 

As long as the engagement in these groups is genuine and non-promotional, the consistent cadence of helpful interactions will position the business as a helpful and trustworthy neighbor rather than a salesperson. Think of this approach as a digital-era grassroots tactic that builds trust, rapport, brand recall, and referrals.

Michelle Burson, President and Co-Founder, MarComm

Sponsor Local Events

Sponsoring local events is a great way to demonstrate your company’s dedication to the community. Whether it’s a sporting event, a charity marathon, or a cultural festival, I believe having your company logo displayed as a sponsor will leave a lasting impact on guests. People are more likely to patronize firms that actively support local causes. 

By organizing a fun-fair, you offer an amazing event that attendees will remember, thereby increasing brand recognition. Set up booths or stalls to demonstrate your services and provide special bargains to customers, and utilize signage and décor to attract people to your booth and make a memorable impression.

Sasha Quail, Business Development Manager, claims.co.uk

Adapt with Localized Communication

Expanding a small business’s reach in the community boils down to understanding and adapting. 

First, it’s essential to grasp how the initial local community you served may differ from other markets. I’ve noticed this in my experiences, and as we’ve seen at Technews, one size rarely fits all. If these differences are significant, replicating old communication strategies might not resonate. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Hence, a strategic approach is to localize your content and communication methods. 

Tailor your messaging, consider local preferences, and ensure that your content genuinely speaks to the unique characteristics of each community. Localized communication is not just effective; it’s respectful.

Neil Hodgson-Coyle, COO, TechNews180

Participate in Networking Events

Taking part in networking events is an effective way to help small businesses expand their reach in the community. As a business owner, I’ve always valued the importance of networking events to increase brand visibility, which helps to attract new customers and grow your business. 

Attending networking events within local communities is effective in engaging with the people and boosting your brand. Look out for local professional organizations and be ready to attend any events that can promote your business brand. Taking part in local events will involve attending meetings with other businesses, installing a booth to enhance your business, and engaging with industry experts. These networking programs will allow you to engage with the local communities.

Dominique B Dupuis, Owner, URAD

Donate to Relevant Small Events

Sponsor small events or activities to build a good rapport between your brand and your community. Sponsorship isn’t limited to monetary donations but can also come in the form of goods, venue provision, logistics, and such. This doesn’t have to be a costly initiative. It’s a strategic way to get people to know your brand and to make a good impression as well. 

Support events that apply to your industry so that the partnership makes sense and you’re reaching a target audience that’s meaningful to your marketing goals. For example, a business-incubator agency like mine can sponsor business-innovation events or startup design-thinking competitions.

Ed Lateef, Founder, Revoltution Labs

Support Local Sports and Schools

Sponsoring local sports teams or schools is a fun way for small businesses to get their name out there and be seen as real supporters of the community. This is such an easy but great tip for expanding business reach in the community. 

By placing your logo on team jerseys or participating in school events, your brand becomes widely recognized. Lots of relevant local customers will instantly see you in a positive light! Plus, it’s a chance to hang out at games, involve the sports fans and parents on your staff, and share pics and stories on social media. You’ll even get free marketing every time a player has a picture shared online or in the media! 

Sponsoring local sports teams or schools can also provide tax benefits. Ask your accountant. It’s a win-win opportunity, so get involved, support local sports, and show your commitment to your community!

Katharine Gallagher, Professional Growth Specialist- Education, Career, Recruitment, Productivity, Business, katharinegallagher.com

Provide Pro-Bono Community Work

My recommendation is to do some pro-bono work for pillars of the community. This can work regardless of what industry you’re in or the type of work you do because it isn’t dependent on what you can provide – it’s about the type of people that you employ. 

A good example was a healthcare consulting company with which I am familiar—they organized their accounting team to spend a day here and there with local businesses and cultural institutions to help them overhaul their accounting practices, save money, and be more efficient. You can work in a little advertising deal as part of the package, but in my experience, you really don’t need to—this sort of work tends to get around your local community.

Dragos Badea, CEO, Yarooms

Offer Local Demos or Contests

There’s little better for community visibility than setting up a stand and selling your products, while at the same time, having your name all over the place due to being the event sponsor. More than just passive advertising, I find it works much better to combine that with an active component—so set up that stand, run a contest, or put on a demo of some sort.

Onno Halsema, CEO, Contentoo

Institute Mentoring Programs

A potent strategy for small businesses to expand their community reach is by instituting mentoring programs tailored for students and budding entrepreneurs. Not only does it forge meaningful connections, but sharing genuine stories of successes and pitfalls can resonate deeply. 

Prioritizing those facing challenging circumstances can create ripple effects, ensuring these narratives are not just heard but also acted upon, fostering a symbiotic relationship between the business and community.

Marco Genaro Palma, Content Marketing Manager, PRLab

Brett Farmiloe is the founder of Featured, a Q&A platform that connects brands with expert insights.

Community fair stock image by WoodysPhotos/Shutterstock

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