In military life, a move is inevitable. Being a military spouse or a veteran means that you are used to these frequent moves, but when you’re a business owner, these moves could easily disrupt your flow of business.
Military spouses, especially, benefit greatly from portable careers that can continue with ease from any location or PCS (permanent change of station). However, for those that do not have national or virtual businesses, starting the marketing process in a new location can feel like the startup stage all over again.
I’ve been there. As a photographer with a very localized following, picking up and moving (six times to four states in 18 months) pretty much killed the viability for my business(es). However, from moving so much (and gaining new clients at almost every move), I did learn a lot about how to market a new business when you’re the newbie in town.
SEO It Up
SEO (search engine optimization) can take a few months to kick in, so it’s important to make it a priority when you first move (or in preparation to move) to update your website. I went back to my old blogs and removed mentions and photo tags of my old location. I also renamed all my images and did a complete sweep of my SEO for my new location. Yes, it took forever and yes, it was worth it.
Update Your About Page
Ensure that your Facebook page, Twitter page, LinkedIn profile, and other social media platforms include your new location for those searching for you by name and for those in your new area looking for services in that region.
Join Local Online Groups
Use Facebook and LinkedIn groups to find like-minded industries or individuals in your new region that you can connect with. These may include garage sale groups that allow for promotion, professional networking groups, etc.
Go to MeetUps and Networking Events
This was key in me meeting new people in the areas I moved to. Once I met individuals, they would either look to hire me or refer me to friends. The best part was when a new friend would introduce me as a photographer (or a consultant) to their friends. It was an instant promotion without me having to bring it up. Meeting new (and supportive!) people is vital in building a sustainable business faster. Networking is key to bringing in new leads in an area.
Partner with Established Local Companies
As the newbie in town, I reached out to several targeted companies that I felt complimented my services. For those in personal training, this could mean a nutritionist in your new region, a yoga teacher, a gym, a vitamin store, or a bridal boutique (for those wedding parties looking for the ultimate bonding experience). For a photographer, it was a cake store, a flower shop, a venue, a bridal boutique, etc. Building these partnerships helped funnel in referrals, as well as expanded my marketing reach.
Reach Out to Local Bloggers
Along the lines of partnering with local companies, the same can be said for public relations networking in your new area. Search online and on social media for bloggers that are operating out of your new city. I contacted many bloggers, even when they weren’t in my niche because I knew that I would have more in common with a fellow side hustler in a new location than many other people. For those in your niche, introduce yourself. Over time, build a relationship that can lead to future collaborations.
Are you a military spouse or veteran entrepreneur overwhelmed by social media? Get access to my new, free guide on social media marketing platforms and tips to making them more effective for your business.
Jenny Hale is a marketing and social media consultant, coach, and teacher for military spouse and veteran business owners. Nicknamed “The Military Social Media Guru,” she uses her background working with military non-profits, corporate companies, the Army, and as an entrepreneur to help others struggling to meet their business dreams. With the goal of bridging the gap between the military community’s marketing efforts to civilians and vice versa, Jenny works to make an entrepreneur’s vision come to life. You can follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.