Things have gone a bit awry lately (and that maybe putting it lightly), but we are always ‘glass half full’ people here at INOV8 Marketing. In this blog post, we thought we would turn our attention to the heroes of the high street, our local businesses. We will look at ways in which small businesses can market cost effectively as possible during the current climate. Whether you are a local shop, café, restaurant or service, these tips will help to increase your exposure, all whilst not breaking the bank.

First up, we have a guest blog article from The Lifestyle Card. Fiona & Sean Caruana are the brains behind this fantastic local business idea, which covers Winchester, Andover, Basingstoke, Newbury and more. Here is what they had to say.

The Lifestyle Card Logo

“With the changing nature of town centres, the future is local. By supporting local, the community creates demand for products and services. It nurtures a dynamic critical mass that draws people in and ultimately increases footfall in that area. The spread of the global pandemic has undoubtedly affected the economy. We cannot stop this, but we can make a choice with our money to help local economies stay afloat and give small businesses a fighting chance to rebound from this.

In terms of local businesses, the impact is even more obvious. When you shop locally, your money stays in the community and helps local development.

A healthy presence of small business in communities not only creates local employment but also helps people learn on-the-job business skills, empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs.

In addition, local businesses tend to hire local such as builders, carpet fitters, solicitors, accountants and insurance brokers to help them run the business. They are also likely to stock locally sourced products, building relationships that help the whole business community prosper.

An increase in support for local business helps drive up the appeal of the shopping area and attracts tourism into the community. The effect has a positive impact on adjacent hotels, restaurants, and local attractions.

Small businesses, especially retail stores, are often major contributors to the heart of a community, and working together with local organisations and local government, they collectively create and preserve the character of their town.

The Lifestyle Card strives to support local business by offering a free advertising platform on our website, with their own designating listing page. This not only raises their business profile but also offers an audience of our 7000+ members for potential new customers. The only cost to their business is the discount/offer that they decide to give our members. We encourage ‘business to business’ offers, networking opportunities and with a complimentary Lifestyle Card, they can also save money.

Our cards provide discounts and offers that make lifestyles more affordable, and by informing people about local businesses, we encourage them to spend locally and help their community to thrive.”

If you want to find out more information about The Lifestyle Card – click here.

Although The Lifestyle Card covers mainly Hampshire, do look in your local area, as there could be a similar scheme that you’ll be able to take advantage of.

 Social Media Groups

Take advantage of Facebook groups that are in your local area. These can be used to advertise your business for free, and a place to meet like-minded people. In times like this, community is key, so it is also a great way to network, and help to support each other’s businesses.

Gift Vouchers

Gift vouchers can be a great solution to help with cash flow if your business has been closed due to the restrictions. It may seem a complex and daunting task, but there is a great ‘out-of-the-box solution’ from GiftApp that allows you to sell electronic gift vouchers without all the complicated system and setup. By selling gift vouchers through GiftApp, you can setup a variety of packages or price related vouchers, all of which can be used when you are back open again. Check out their website here for more details.

Social Media

Your social media channels are a great place to remind people that you’re still here, and looking forward to seeing them again. Get creative with your posts, and try involving the community you have built, as many of them will be looking for things to do during this down time.


Running a competition when you’re closed may seem like a backwards approach, but it will remind people that you’re still there, and get people excited for when you’re able to re-open. It can be a great way to gain exposure for minimal cost, and help to increase your followers on social media.

 Catch up time

COVID-19 has given some business owners something they don’t usually have, and that is a bit of spare time! Why not use this to update your website, make sure all your social media profiles are up-to-date and tweak your marketing material. This will mean, when you’re back open, there is one less thing on your tick list to worry about.

Hopefully it won’t be long before we can start to get back to some sense of normal. We want to give a big thanks to Fiona & Sean from The Lifestyle Card for their input in this article. If you need some support with your marketing, do feel free to get in touch, and we would be happy to help. Catch us on [email protected] or call 01962 889013.



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