I have been blessed with the opportunity to grow up in the small city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Growing up in a small hard working town has shaped who I am, and given me a sense of being a part of a tight knit community. This is a place where the local store owner knows their customers by name and your order before you do. It’s not much different from a number of places scattered around North America—friendly local business owners who know that customer service is still number one.

I am starting to see local pride rise up again and a shift to local good in the new marketing stratosphere. Brands like Budweiser are now promoting local achievements, like with this ad—Saskatchewan, The Home of Goal Scorers—or Hellmann’s Real Ingredients from a Real Place ad.

Local businesses should use this recent shift in thinking to their advantage. Local is now cool, and making sure potential customers can find them is even cooler. Storytelling is an art and businesses that find a way to tell their story articulately will prosper. Whether the business has been a family run operation for decades or the product is made of locally sourced goods, communicating how customer dollars stay in the local economy is good business. Let customers do the selling for you: make it easy for them to promote your business through social sites like Facebook and Instagram, review sites such as Yelp, and while we’re reverting back to local social good, get those good old fashion word of mouth referrals as well!

Happy customers that become raving fans will sell your products or services better than you could ever hope to. Customer reviews are the new word of mouth—90% of consumers use them when making purchase decisions. Businesses need to not only ask for reviews, they also need to make it easy. Asking for customer feedback using software such as SurveyMonkey, Vendasta Review Generation or GetFeedback make it easy and can be a breeze to use.

Winning for local businesses is about getting found online, allowing raving fans to tell your story and getting new customers. The backbone of our community is the hard working business owner, and more than ever they need help navigating this world of digital marketing. The best marketers will not only tell a story, they will allow the story to be written and created by their customers online.

May the best team win!