My first local business started out a complete failure. I was in high school when, for my summer job, my father encouraged me to start a new business in something that was not on my radar as a teen: property tax appeals. Yes, exactly what a 17-year-old in New Jersey wants to spend a summer consumed with when all of her friends are at the shore.
It was soon after the recession in the early 1990s, and the housing market had taken a considerable hit across the United States — including neighborhoods right near where my family and I lived. Focusing on those neighborhoods where property values were slumping, I set out, knocking on doors, trying to find customers. It seemed that every door I knocked on, closed on me, accompanied by “no’s” with varying degrees of politeness.
I tried sending out mailers to the houses in those neighborhoods. No bites.
I set back out to test a combination of my struggling strategies: I knocked on doors, this time with mailers in hand, and tweaked the pitch a bit. I file the appeal and you don’t pay me until I get your property taxes lowered, then we split the profit. Before you shut the door, here is all the information, read it, contact me if you’re interested.
With this new approach, I booked around ten customers… maybe, three of which actually settled up with me. While this initial entrepreneurial endeavor didn’t have the cash return I was hoping for, I was left (as my father still likes to remind me) rich in knowledge — including the knowledge that marketing for local businesses can be incredibly difficult. And rarely as fun as spending the summer at the Jersey Shore.
These memories resurfaced for me as our team at Nextdoor geared up to launch Local Deals, which — starting today — will allow businesses, service providers, and neighbors for hire to target their online marketing efforts in a way they have never been able to before, directly to specific neighborhoods.
Now on Nextdoor, businesses that have set up their free Business Page can create a Local Deal to promote a sale, discount, or other incentive to reach new and existing customers in exactly the neighborhoods they want to target. This makes Nextdoor the only platform where businesses big and small and with any kind of budget can reach real neighbors with verified addresses. Businesses testing out Local Deals have already started to report an increase in sales and a major uptick in the type of customers they’re able to reach, the ones with the best chance of becoming loyal, lifelong patrons. “In just one month, our Local Deal helped us reach tens of thousands of people who we know live in our target neighborhoods,” shared Tom Worley of Texas fast-casual chain, The Toasted Yolk Cafe. “That’s huge for us.”
We know that for our members on Nextdoor, shopping small and supporting local is more than an annual or even once a week initiative. In fact, according to research, 90% of consumers make the majority of their purchases within 15 minutes of their home. On Nextdoor specifically, we have seen neighbors make over 40 million recommendations, with 76% sharing that they’ve been influenced by a recommendation they’ve come across on the platform. “Local Deals are much more effective [than direct mailers] because members on Nextdoor are very committed to their communities and really want to support their local businesses,” said Claire Lechtenberg, Marketing Coordinator at YWCA Central Carolinas in Charlotte, NC.
To return the belated favor of a marketing lesson to my father, who is himself a local business owner of Animagic, a museum of animation special effects and art in Lee, MA, I helped him set up his Business Page. For those of you who reside in or near western Massachusetts, make sure to stop by and take a tour and a stop-motion animation class. Just show the Deal in-person. It’s that easy.
Local Deals is only the beginning of the business-to-neighbor connections we’re exploring on Nextdoor. Whether for the plumbers, stores, restaurants, or teenagers offering up property tax appeals, I’m excited to share more along our journey to support local businesses and business owners in connecting with the communities that they help enrich every day.
Are you a local business interested in joining Nextdoor? Be among the first to try Local Deals.