Business to business. Search engine marketing. Pay per click.
There are so many different subtopics and terms within the world of marketing. One aspect of marketing in particular that many companies overlook, and even misunderstand, is local marketing.
What Is Local Marketing?
Generally, the concept is in reference to any marketing techniques that a localized business uses to market itself in the area it operates in. The same applies to online marketing as well, just within the parameters of online techniques.
It has many names, most having a more specific aspect of marketing attached to them:
Local Search Marketing
Get found by your audience by ranking high for local terms in search engines. Make sure your website lists your locations and uses popular keywords that are being searched by local consumers.
Local Website Marketing
Consumers love the convenience of purchasing, or at least browsing, all of their needs online. A well built, easy-to-navigate, SEO-friendly website is critical to being found and guiding your leads down the sales pipeline.
Local Mobile Marketing
With all of the features of a laptop or desktop condensed down to a smartphone today, it’s important that your mobile site is mobile friendly. If not, you’ll miss out on a large percentage of your audience.
Local Social Media Marketing
Social apps have become a popular hub for advertisements and quick purchasing. Many social platforms have implemented different algorithms to target advertisements or brand accounts to users by location. Taking advantage of that with a strong social media presence is a huge bonus.
Not every brand is international. And, depending on the services you offer, you may need your leads to come from nearby. Identifying with your community and associating your business with a specific location will help filter your lead generation efforts.
Even though online marketing is important, you shouldn’t neglect your actual local community. Network with your neighborhood businesses, swap flyers, coupons, and ads, and host live events. Local businesses share a large portion of their audiences, even if they’re in different industries.
Advantages of Local Marketing
Today’s search engines perform for consumers in remarkable ways, offering business suggestions with only one or two keywords to go off of.
And that tech is definitely being used. Google answers an average of 63,000 searches per second every day.
You can bet that a decent percentage of those searches are people looking for businesses that can meet their needs. When they do, Google’s algorithm provides them with local results. A Miami resident isn’t going to be able to get much support from a plumber in Seattle.
Showing up in those local searches should be a top priority for any business. Skeptical? Here are some advantages to using local marketing strategies:
You Can Increase Brand Awareness.
For local businesses, especially small businesses, it takes a lot to be discovered by SERPs alone. Waiting for leads to find you is an incredible drain of your time and resources.
Using different local marketing strategies will help get your organization’s name out there and in front of your community. The more that people associate your brand with an active participant in their neighborhood, the more likely they’ll remember you when they are looking to have their needs met.
Segmentation is a useful tool in any marketing plan. Identifying a target market within a certain location will help you allocate your resources more pragmatically.
Your marketing will be more focused, and you’ll have an easier time generating more qualified leads through targeted messaging.
You Can Generate Word of Mouth.
People trust recommendations from other people. Through local business networking and neighborhood chatter, your customers can become your unofficial spokespeople and attract more customers.
Testimonials don’t have to come only from consumers. Other businesses near you can vouch for your brand if you’ve built positive relationships through networking efforts.
You Can Build Brand Trust.
All of those word of mouth testimonials don’t mean anything, though, if people don’t believe that you’re going to actually deliver.
Building trust through local marketing means has a huge payoff as consumers physically near your business become more aware of your brand.
Make sure that you’re building that trust in person and online. Consumers have become very good at vetting businesses, so you’ll want to be authentic and consistent in all of your marketing efforts.
You Can Test New Strategies.
A large part of refining your marketing strategy takes place through trial and error.
Segmenting your local market is a great way of identifying what works and what doesn’t without having to deal with heavy investment losses. Experiment within your community before you implement a strategy or campaign into a larger scope.
All businesses, B2B and B2C alike, can yield big results through local marketing, but it needs to be done right.
7 Local Marketing Best Practices
Even though there has been a rise in digital marketing tactics to keep up with the ever-developing market, traditional avenues haven’t lost their effectiveness.
There’s as much value in online reviews as there is in street teams handing out coupons to bring traffic to your storefront.
Using tactics from both methodologies can create a pretty impressive list of best practices, like the following:
1. Don't Neglect Mobile Accessibility.
We already touched on this a bit, but it’s absolutely imperative that you make your business mobile friendly.
People have adapted their lives to the convenience of accessing information from anywhere at any time through their phones. It’s not a hot, new trend anymore. It’s a lifestyle.
Being mobile is one of those adapt or die situations. If you don’t jump on it, you risk falling drastically far behind.
Develop every landing page of your site to be mobile friendly and make sure that the interface is easy to use for customers. To optimize your local search marketing, keep your location data up to date and maybe even include a street-front photo for a bit of personalization.
2. Earn Credible Reviews.
Reviews are important in generating leads, but quality is just as important as quantity. Consumers look for recent reviews from credible sites like Yelp or Google.
Encourage every customer to write a review within a few days of their purchase. This way, you’ll have a pretty consistent cycle of testimonials that are current and authentic. It’ll also increase the number of reviews you receive and make that star rating average all the more authentic.
3. Focus on Personalization.
You’ll have an easier time making sales if you tailor your marketing to your customers. Personalization doesn’t always mean customizing offerings to your own liking. It’s about crafting a style, look, or message that your target audience can connect with.
People prefer investing their time and resources in goods and services that match their ideals, needs, and interests. Do your research to identify those key ideas for your local market, build your messaging around them, and start bringing in more leads.
4. Leverage Email Marketing.
Of course, there are several different best practices to email marketing itself, but the results from the practice are indisputable. Especially for local marketing.
Make sure you keep in touch with your email subscribers, letting them know of any promotions or updates that they can benefit from. There’s a sweet sense of authenticity and care that can come from receiving an email from your local pizza place containing a coupon for your birthday.
People appreciate building relationships with their favorite businesses, so make sure you’re not neglecting them by disconnecting.
5. Build Unique Landing Pages.
Your landing pages shouldn’t be built off of a generic template with only a few details changed here and there.
Include detailed, specific information on each page, using location information and geo-targeted words to really make them stand out and provide value.
You’ll want to provide all the information a customer may need to know about your local business so they’ll have an easier time finding you, both offline and on.
6. Host Live Events.
Live networking events are a great way to get to know your neighbors, learn about your competitors, and build relationships with both other businesses and consumers.
It always helps to be able to match a name with a face, and being present at local events will show that your brand values being a part of the community.
Both will earn you a great deal of trust in the market. Always keep business cards or brochures handy so that you never miss an opportunity to win some new leads. But remember: not every interaction should be a sales pitch. Get to know your audience and they’ll do the same with your business.
7. Be Consistent.
Be thorough in reviewing your website, social media accounts, business directories, business cards, and other such tools. Discrepancies in contact info, location details, and so on can make you appear disorganized, unprofessional, and damage your credibility.
You’ll also run the risk of hurting your business’ SEO and lowering your website traffic. Consistency is key.
How to Build Local Marketing Strategies
Understanding why you should implement these best practices and how to build those strategies are two different things. We’ll go over the steps below:
You’ll never truly accomplish anything if you don’t identify an objective to guide your marketing plan. Establish what large scale goals your business hopes to accomplish and then break them down into smaller goals that you can measure over time.
Any campaign should be built with SMART goals in mind, and your local marketing strategy shouldn’t be any different.
Audit Your Current Efforts.
It’ll be hard to determine where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve already been. Create a snapshot of what practices you’ve already implemented and how effective they have been up to this point.
Figure out your strengths, weaknesses, and customer personas to really get a grasp of where your current efforts are. You’ll be able to identify any gaps or holes in your strategies and start taking steps to resolve what’s in your control to fix.
Identify Local Marketing Tactics to Use.
A good local marketing strategy is built with a mix of online and offline techniques, using both to balance one another out and really drive results.
Identify which tactics are going to aid your business best by looking at what your goals are and what the best means of achieving them are.
Follow a Timeline.
Keeping a loose schedule or timeline will help keep your teams on track for reaching certain objectives and effectively measuring results. Time is as much of a resource as your budget is, and the two can often directly influence one another.
Create a timeline of what goals should be accomplished by when in order to make sure that you’re getting the best results possible.
Measure and Evolve.
Most strategies aren’t cut and dry. Different tactics are going to yield different results, and as local marketing changes and evolves, so should your marketing plan.
Always measure how your efforts are doing so that you can identify weaknesses in your strategy and improve them. Make sure you’re only analyzing data that is relevant to your business, though, so that your measurements come out as accurate as possible.
Sometimes your goals change as well, and that’s a good thing (assuming they changed because you accomplished them). When it comes time to create new objectives, adapt your strategy to pursue those ones.
Marketing is a fluid industry, so try not to get hung up on sticking to one plan at all times.
Start Local Marketing Now
No matter what your current local marketing strategy looks like, the best time to put these best practices into action is right now.
Building and evolving your strategy takes time, so it's important to be patient while being consistent in your local marketing efforts.
In time, you will see your results soar.