5 tips for bringing customers to your small-town business

If you’re thinking about bringing your business to Carman and the RM of Dufferin or you already operate in the area, you may be wondering how to continue to attract new customers while maintaining your existing business.

No matter which industry you operate in, there are plenty of ways to entice customers to and thrive in a small town. Here are just a few of them!

Push customers beyond their comfort zones

This is especially important for small businesses that sell goods in small towns or rural areas like Carman and the RM of Dufferin. Humans are, by nature, habit-forming, which means we often buy the products we’re used to buying simply because we’re used to buying them.

Start offering something that your competition might not. People are also drawn to trying new things when they’re easily available, so give customers a reason to visit your business over others. Find a way to stand out and then expand on it.

Leverage your online marketing

The best way for you to reach potential customers who may not live near your business is through online advertising and social media. Determine your target audience (who you want to sell your products or services to, specifically), and then target them “where they live.”

For example, if you sell farming equipment, determine the social media platforms most used by farmers, the websites they frequent, and the types of things they may search for on Google. Targeted advertising allows you to use your marketing dollars efficiently instead of “shouting into the void.”

Tradeshows and conferences are your friends

If potential customers aren’t seeing your business every day, it can be hard to remain top-of-mind. Leverage trade shows and conferences specific your business, and view all of them as a sales opportunity.

If you use some trade show sales best practices, you can generally gather 5 or 6 leads per hour, per person working your booth. Invest time and, if possible, money into a great booth and make every effort to stand out from competition.

Get involved in the community

Existing and potential customers prefer to do business with companies that are relatable. By having a visible impact on your community — whether through sponsorship, events, or charitable giving — you’re more likely to be embraced as a preferred business.

You can go big with sponsored community barbeques, or you can simply sponsor a local sports team, which could then offer exposure with your business’ name on their jerseys.

Host promotional events

Nothing draws new customers quite like a large grand opening. This is an excellent opportunity to let people know what your business is all about, the types of services you offer, and how it can benefit their lives. You can even make an entire month of celebrations out of it.

Hosting open houses throughout the year (or even just once a year) is another great way to get people inside your business. Customers value transparency, so letting them “see how the sausage is made” helps to build trust.


If you have any questions about bringing your business to Carman and the RM of Dufferin or would like to know about specific opportunities, please contact Tyler King, Director of Economic Development, at tyler@townofcarman.com or 204-745-2675.