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Local businesses have a great opportunity to tap into community pride and earn passionate word of mouth from people around town. The businesses that get this right become the icons of a community — the companies people think of when they talk about what makes their town unique. (P.S. This works for local franchises of big brands too.)

How to become a remarkable local business:

1. Be a hometown billboard
2. Don’t forget your best influencers
3. Take part in local pride

1. Be a hometown billboard

In Denton, Texas, Frenchy’s Lawn and Tree Services turns their distinctive orange trucks into community billboards by writing messages on them with giant magnetized letters. They announce stuff like school plays, wedding anniversaries, and well-wishes for students leaving town. People take pictures in front of them and post them to Facebook, blog about them, and look for the new messages on their trucks every day. By shining a spotlight on the community, Frenchy’s gets lots of attention around town.

2. Don’t forget your best influencers

As a local business, you have a great opportunity to get to know your most vocal talkers around town. Some great ones to remember: schools, sports leagues, churches, and charities. Groups of people are more likely to spread word of mouth than an individual. Do something for these groups like hosting one of their events, sponsoring a game, or helping out with their cause. These acts of goodwill can help you make relationships with the people who will talk about your stuff the most.

3. Take part in local pride

Even if your business isn’t from around here, you can still earn word of mouth by celebrating some local pride. Coca-Cola certainly isn’t local to Denmark, but when they heard it was named the “happiest country in the world,” Coke wanted to share that accomplishment with the Danish people. How? By dispensing Danish flags from a billboard at an airport. The simple gesture made Coke a part of a Danish tradition to greet arriving travelers with waving flags. That gave people at the airport something to talk about (and something to smile about).

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