While the biggest part of a digital marketing plan is spreading the word of your product across the internet, it's equally important to market your product or service locally. Local marketing is a combination of digital and on-the-ground advertising to attract in-person customers to your storefront based on immediate appeals. While many solutions for local marketing are low-tech, a digital marketing agency can help you find the perfect solutions for building a strong local base through modern techniques.
Before you kick off a locally-focused marketing campaign, the best thing you can do is compare your product or service to the competitors in the market to see how you can stand out. If you have a service that isn't covered by any direct competitor, that gives you the option to piggyback onto a business that complements your own and partner for mutual benefit. If you have competitors in the market, your marketing strategy should focus on highlighting what you provide that they don't.
Another key element of knowing your local market is knowing what the biggest hubs are for physical or virtual traffic. If you're planning on a campaign that targets a general audience, the best strategy is to focus on locations where customers are likely to be receptive and have the time to look at an advertisement. If you can solve a problem, they commonly encounter in this location, that's the best tactic to get loyal customers.
Social media is the cornerstone of many marketing strategies, and massive sites like Twitter and Instagram are the home of some of the world's most successful brands. But if you want to promote a local business, you'd be better served by marketing on local social media that connects you with your most likely customers. Sites like NextDoor, which allow neighbors to meet and serve as a message board for the area, are a great place for businesses to announce openings or sales.
The best of the major social media sites for local marketing is Facebook because it allows users to create private and semi-public groups dedicated to specific areas or subjects. If your town or metro area has a dedicated group, joining to promote your product within the rules of the group can help raise your profile. Finding groups dedicated to your subject area is also an effective way of promoting your business at no cost.
SEO is one of the most useful tools for any business, and once you know the keywords that customers are searching for, it's much easier to drive your company's search ranking higher. But SEO isn't as useful for local marketing unless you know how to tailor it, because the core SEO keywords for products or services cluster around major metro areas. This is why a local promotion requires local SEO keywords that will narrow down the search results and kick you up the rankings.
The best strategy for creating SEO keywords that work for a local strategy is to pair the location with the keyword. "Chinese food" may get millions of hits, many concentrated around urban Chinatowns, but "Chinese food near" your location will put your restaurant near the top. Geographic location is a good keyword to include, but if you have a popular attraction or tourist site near your location, pairing them can help you get post-event traffic.
One of the most important parts of any business's digital footprint is online review sites like Yelp and Google Reviews, which are among the first hits customers will see when they search for your business. Not only will direct searches lead to your business, but customers who search the sites for relevant categories will see you as one of the results. This is why customer service is important to keep your ratings high and ensure your potential customers' first impressions are positive.
The best way to raise your star average on review sites is to leave a prompt on receipts or other papers asking satisfied customers to leave reviews. Some companies offer raffles to entice customers to fill out surveys in exchange for a chance to win. To minimize negative reviews, reaching out to dissatisfied customers early, and making an effort to improve their experience can turn an unhappy customer into a satisfied one.
Local marketing differs from global marketing because your business is part of a smaller ecosystem, and the best way to find a lasting place is to work with other businesses. Reaching out to non-rivals in the same space makes it easier to find space to advertise your business at low or no cost, and it's best to start when you open. It's common for neighboring businesses to partner for coupon books and joint sales that invite new customers in to try them at a lower cost.
One of the best opportunities for a local business is event sales, with holiday parties and graduation celebrations coming around yearly. Many businesses create introductory promotions for these days for bulk sales, and delivering on these large orders can make your business a mainstay for a large customer base. Loyalty is the most important asset a local business can cultivate, and establishing it from your opening date is a priority.
While a digital-only presence is effective for global companies, if you have a local storefront or restaurant and want to concentrate your recruitment of customers on the ground, you'll need to incorporate traditional marketing. Flyers are one of the oldest marketing techniques, and when they're done well, they're still one of the most effective. Rather than going for quantity and plastering the town with flyers, knowing your town and targeting the locations where customers are most likely to be will get the best results.
The makeup of your flyers is key to getting the best value out of your printing and design costs. All flyers should have a short text blurb explaining what your business is and who it's aimed at, along with an image of something that will create a positive association in your customer's mind. Make sure your flyers contain your address with directions or a map if needed, your business name, and contact information, including phone number, e-mail address, and major social media links to make it easier for customers to find you.
The key to an effective marketing strategy is to know your local market and find the openings to build long-term customer loyalty. The personal touch that comes with building partnerships with fellow businesses and establishing regular orders with customers can't be duplicated by any elaborate digital marketing outreach.
A full-service digital marketing agency can help you combine your local and global marketing strategies into a business plan that lets your business reach its full potential. Contact Desoto Consulting LLC today for more information on our services or to set up a consultation today.
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