A campaign in the UK a few years ago encouraged consumers to “shop local.” This campaign created space for local businesses to compete against national or even multinational companies. “Shop Local” gained a positive consumer response because—at heart and when they can—people love to support local stores, businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs.
With such latent consumer goodwill to be mined, here are three keys to help your local business make the most of such opportunities.
What is local marketing?
An alternative name for local marketing is neighborhood marketing. Marketing locally to your neighborhood works most effectively when you assess your business’ overall marketing strategy and behaviors and compare that to your local profile, behavior, and reputation. This should be assessed in terms of factors such as your location, distance customers are prepared to travel to buy, their purchasing habits, and their motivations for making a buying decision.
Armed with this information, consider the similar and different characteristics customers may look for when comparing your local company to both your immediate competitors and those outside the local area that you serve.
Why is local marketing important?
Oftentimes, the primary reason that companies exist is to serve their local marketplace or community. Even if a digital presence allows additional online business from much further afield, this local connection remains vital.
The increase of mobile internet searches from people on the move looking for swift, local, and quickly accessible solutions increases the need for your organization’s marketing to be locally accessible.
Therefore, just as any storefront needs to instantly appeal to those walking by, so the digital facade of your business should achieve the same localized goals.
How can you make the most of your local marketing opportunities?
Keeping your local marketing up-to-date is vital. A storefront would never have Christmas decorations still on show in late-January, yet sadly, many unattended websites will still be offering “season’s greetings” in July. Pay attention to what your local marketing initiatives are “displaying.”
This extends to your online profiles, such as those on Google, Bing, Yelp and elsewhere. All contact and business operation information needs to be timely and accurate to be of use to potential customers (imagine if an airline didn’t bother to advise of changes to their flight schedules).
Make sure that you provide current, rather than outdated, photos, testimonials, and customer reviews. Encourage local happy customers to contribute. A BrightLocal survey showed that an astonishing 88% of people have read such reviews to determine the quality of a local business! Surely this is simply a modern take on traditional word-of-mouth.
Look to add life to your local marketing. A video is another proven way to attract attention as demonstrated by the increasing number of companies have their own YouTube channel. Video, web blogs and news pages can help a business be a vital part of a local community, promoting and highlighting local events and information.
Local immersion marketing
These and many other local marketing activities can help your business immerse itself in your local community, position yourself near the heart of what is happening, and be a focal solution for local people. A generation ago small town communities used to physically congregate around their local store to find out what was happening, listen to expert advice from others, and find out how to more effectively contribute to their community.
In our current communities, smart businesses use a digital presence to market their operation by encouraging a variant on this same behavior!