Neighbourhood marketing checklist for SMEs

Content provided by a guest contributor.

Basil O’Hagan is one of South Africa’s leading marketing and customer service authorities, with over 40 years of experience in the respective fields. Based on this wealth of experience, O’Hagan has created the Neighbourhood Marketing Checklist for SMEs – a comprehensive checklist intended to act as a guide for SMEs to effectively implement neighbourhood marketing tips and strategies.

Neighbourhood marketing is a business philosophy that focuses on building and growing your business from the inside out and from your “backyard” – i.e., no further than a 10-minute drive from your business.

Neighbourhood marketing is one of the most powerful and effective ways for small business owners to grow their businesses and be able to compete with larger, well-established companies with bigger marketing budgets. Neighbourhood marketing encourages you to leverage the tools you already have at your disposal: your employees, products and services, and a database of your customer and internal merchandising strategies. Leveraging these tools correctly will help you grow your business significantly.

Enter Basil O’Hagan’s neighbourhood marketing checklist. O’Hagan’s checklist is divided into six main sections:

  1. The Basics
  2. Power Neighbourhood Marketing
  3. Ways to Market for Next to Nothing
  4. Customer Service Wows
  5. Proven Advertising Tips
  6. Sharp Social Media Tips

The Basics

The first section outlines a brief checklist of the basics of neighbourhood marketing. The section provides a high-level overview of the tools you can leverage to engage in effective neighbourhood marketing. In doing so, it encourages you to budget; build a database; draw up a six-monthly or twelve-monthly calendar; consider your pricing; and ensure you respond to customers rapidly, among others. This checklist – like the rest – prompts you to take action by stating whether you have acted on a particular instruction/topic, and if not, when you intend to do so.

Power Neighbourhood Marketing

Power neighbourhood marketing outlines the different types of promotions that your business can run, from cards and coupons to holiday promotions and themed promotions, among others. Within each category of promotions, the checklist also provides you with different examples of these promotions. For example, your business could run a theme promotion in February for Valentines month offering a romantic prize for two at a discount to your customers. The aim is to get you to think about and make use of promotions that will attract new customers while keeping existing customers satisfied and loyal – increasing your sales.

Ways to Market for Next to Nothing

The “ways to market for next to nothing” section contains over 20 tools and resources you can use to effectively market your business at little to no cost. In addition to being cost-effective, all of these tools and resources are straightforward, actionable, and will go a long way towards getting your business’s name out into the community, eventually attracting a wider customer base. An example of one of these marketing techniques include creating a promotional grid or schedule for the year which you can then use to refine your schedule for the following year, depending on the success of the campaigns you ran.

Customer Service Wows

Engaging in high-quality, dedicated customer service is a non-negotiable foundational element of succeeding in business – regardless of your field or industry. It is therefore seen as an extremely powerful form of neighbourhood marketing – customers who are treated well are more likely to talk about your business, thus increasing your customer base by word-of-mouth. Examples of customer service wows include treating every customer like a celebrity (making them feel important), getting to know your customer personally, and adding a personal touch to your interactions and the transactions that are made.

Proven Advertising Tactics

Proven neighbourhood advertising tactics refer to the ways in which you can put your advertising campaigns into words and visuals. This goes beyond simply placing adverts in newspapers or on the radio etc., and looks at how these campaigns will convey your intended message. This checklist looks at tips on advertising logistics – headlines, pictures, positioning of adverts, testimonials, etc. – and the various forms that this advertising can take. Examples of these advertising tactics include ensuring the headlines in your campaigns are attention-grabbing, and taking a “less is more” approach when creating copy for your advertising material.

Sharp Social Media Tips

Social media is an integral part of any neighbourhood marketing strategy. It is because Mr O’Hagan is not an expert in social media marketing that the tips in this section have largely been provided by Romany Thresher – a social media expert – with contribution from Hagen Engler. The social media tips in this checklist include things like scheduling your social media posts, using social media as an instant customer feedback tool, and making use of paid advertising on social media platforms.

The Neighbourhood Marketing Checklist is largely based on and therefore an easy-to-use summary of Basil O’Hagan’s book 415 Action-Packed Neighbourhood Marketing Tips. However, the checklist doesn’t contain all of the tips from the book. Read the book for an even more comprehensive guide to neighbourhood marketing. That said, the checklist is available for you to download for free using any of the links provided above. Alternatively, you can download the Neighbourhood Marketing Checklist for SMEs here.


The content in this article was provided by Basil O’Hagan.

Basil O’Hagan is one of South Africa’s leading marketing and customer service authorities. All of the insights Basil shares with his clients as a marketing consultant are contained in his book of indispensable, “415 Action-Packed, Neighbourhood Marketing Tips”. His latest book, “World Class Customer Service for South Africa”, has recently been launched and initial demand is way over all targets, and on its way to become a best-seller. It contains 175 awesome customer service tips, specifically for the South African market.

For more information, contact:


Tel: 083 412 4459


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