Are You Maximizing Local Marketing for Your Business?
Why Local Marketing is So Important
If you have ever arrived in a new town, unfamiliar with your surroundings, chances are you pulled out your phone and searched online for a nearby coffee shop, used Google maps to find your way around or picked up a local magazine while exploring the area.
As business owners, it may feel as if we are losing customers to the big online behemoth brands with everyone shopping online these days. The truth is 84% of all purchases are still done in a physical location. That is good news but in order to keep those customers coming to you, you need a local marketing strategy that works.
Now more than ever, companies are turning to online marketing to stay competitive and reach an ever-changing customer base – customers who enjoy the convenience of online searches, reading reviews and finding the best deals before a purchase. You can use local marketing to reach local customers where they are and drive that traffic to your local storefront with the right tactics.
Local marketing is a strategy that targets customers within a certain radius to a physical location. By focusing marketing efforts in their local area with a combination of digital and traditional marketing, businesses are increasing sales, growing their customer base and getting more traffic in the doors.
Here’s what you can do to ensure your business is set up for success with local marketing.
Before we get started on local market tactics, it is important to note that we still have to define our audiences and narrow the focus of our efforts in order to be effective. Defining your buyer persona or “avatar” for your products or services will help you clarify your messaging, find customers most likely to buy and save value time and resources in the long run. You will be so glad you took the time to do this important step first
Now, for the details. Here are a few ways you can use local marketing to your business advantage:
Create a mobile-friendly website. It is not enough to have an “online brochure” which is what many websites have become. A website that will bring local customers to your business is mobile-friendly, includes local content and includes the names of the locations in your area.
For instance, if I own a local junk removal company, I want to have the names of the cities and towns I serve listed or mentioned on the page of my website. If I have multiple locations for my business, I will want to have a separate page on my website for each location.
Optimize for local searches. Get your business on Google My Business, get listed on other local directories, have your business listed and mentioned on other local sites such as the local Chamber of Commerce. These are just a few ways to ensure that your business shows up when someone searches relevant keywords in your area.
SEO and Content. Speaking of keywords, it is important to know what keywords people look for when searching for similar products or services. There are a number of ways to find keywords people are using for your industry. Google Trends is a great way to find what is currently trending but also find the words and phrases that are popular for your industry and specific products and services.
One of the most underutilized tools companies use is content. Write, create and share content related to your business everywhere you can. This does not mean posting “sales” and highlighting the features of your products all the time. Rather, contribute useful information to your target audience, post local events, comment on other sites, blogs and social media posts, and link back to your website or profile. This type of content will localize your website and position you as a local authority.
Local Advertising. The most affordable and most effective promotion one can do for their local business is local advertising. While local newspapers are struggling to stay relevant, most cities and towns have a local magazine or other publication that the residents enjoy reading and rely to stay informed about their communities. Be sure to take advantage of these publications as well as local billboards as a way to raise brand awareness and keep your business top of mind among the locals.
Digital advertising targeted to your local community is one of the effective marketing tools. Consider geofencing specific areas at specific times of day, targeting specific types of people in order maximize your dollars and get the most out of advertising.
Community Outreach. To establish your business in the local community, it is important to be seen. Consider sponsoring local charities, sports or civic organizations. Have a booth at the local vendor event and show up in any way you can. There are usually networking organizations that you can join which will help you get to know other professionals in your local community and maintain name recognition throughout the area..
Local marketing helps you stay in touch with local residents while also attracting new customers visiting or moving to the area. By combining the above strategies you will improve your online search rankings, increase local traffic to your website and most importantly, bring customers into your physical location.
Jan Southern, DPA is the owner of J. DelSUR Marketing Group and publisher of Pooler Magazine and Effingham Magazine in southeast Georgia. She is a marketing and communications professional with more than 30 years experience, 16 of which have been in leading marketing initiatives for major universities in the U.S. Her experience includes marketing, brand development, design, publishing and strategic communications for public organizations and private sector clients in the healthcare, technology, lifestyle, giftware, publishing, automotive and other industries.