Here are four ways to generate foot traffic for your local business.
Create your own local industry association
In a medium-sized city I organized all the chiropractors into an ad-hoc advertising association. They pooled funds to promote “advertorial” spots on local TV. See if you can find like-minded competitors and look for areas you can combine forces for exponential results.
Create your own local party or event
This is a similar idea but involves organizing neighboring businesses for local promotions. What local event can you start to generate excitement? How about a weekly happy hour downtown with local bands? Or a mini music festival.
You can start small. Try co-promotions with one or two neighbors and build from there. I’ve staged hockey clinics, golf demo days, free massages days, battle of the bands, stand-up comedy marathons, etc.
Bring old customers back
It’s a mystery of the ages. Many businesses let old customers drift away with no attempt to get them back. Create an irresistible offer (it must be really good – don’t cheap out on it) and get those drifters back. They already know who you are so it is all gravy.
Use all your co-op
Check what co-op funds you have accrued with your top vendors. Have you used it all up? If so, ask your vendors about special funds set up to fund one-off promotions. This is different from your earned co-op. Often called “Key City Funds” or similar phrases, you have to feature that vendor in the promotion, but it is a great way to find extra money.