If you are looking for businesses, vendors and services in your area, you no longer make use of a phonebook, hoping that the company you are contacting is a reliable one. Today, we scan Google searches, navigate social media, engage ads and evaluate popups. This access to information, provided by the Internet, has afforded us the opportunity to find local stores and specialists faster than ever.
However, this does not simply occur without some kind of market intervention. These businesses are discovered by investing in a process called “local marketing”. Local marketing is a marketing strategy that advertises to potential customers located within their area. If a business has a brick-and-mortar storefront, local marketing – also known as “neighbourhood”, “location-based” or “local-store” marketing – is an absolute must.
Most consumers find local companies through online resources and marketing. By gathering psychographic and demographic information from the community surrounding their business operations, owners have the opportunity to appeal directly to their most accessible customer base. Here are 10 ways to make your local marketing strategy the most effective.
- Refocusing your marketing strategy
Being a trusted and desirable business within your community should be the primary goal of a location-based marketing strategy. This is what distinguishing local shops and services from large chains or big corporations. Smaller, local business are known by their consumers for being trustworthy, personable and of higher quality. Local shops should be refocusing their marketing strategy and brand exposure towards friendly, accessible and relatable messaging that appeals with the community surrounding them.
- Optimise your site(s)
There are multiple steps that can be taken to ensure that your online activity is easier to find and engage with. Keyword-search and SEO functionalities need to be optimised in every post, every piece of copy and every campaign. Local SEO should include the utilisation of keywords, terms and dialects of your local area that members of your community are more likely to interact with. Almost half of all online traffic occurs on cell phones and tablets. In fact, if a local good or service is being googled for, consumers are far more likely to engage with a mobile-friendly site. Ensuring that your site is mobile-friendly and has a smooth, easy-to-use interface, will instantly improve customer retention for those who find your store, online.
- Localise your website and paid advertising
As will be the theme throughout this; you must localise all of your online content. To localise your websites and paid advertising, all of your web content must remain relevant and interesting to your local community and consumer base. Paid advertising must be focused on reaching local markets and audiences. Each business’s tone, offer and message must be consistent across all their sites, social media and digital ads to optimise their potential ROI.
- Engage with local social media
Social media has become the one of the most effective ways to communicate with local – and global – potential customers. For local businesses, it affords them the opportunity to create genuine engagements and increase the awareness of their brand through posts, comments and other social media interactions. Most social media platforms have options available that help shop owners boost their visibility. There are multiple localisation and geolocation tools to be utilised; from following trends, conversations and hashtags in your area, to adding physical locations and links in your profile and geotagging the location of your store on every post.
- Invest in local and community campaigns
It is not just about search engine optimisation or perfect keyword usage that identifies you as part of your local community. Designing a marketing campaign that is unique to your local community helps remind the people in your area that you are of them and for them. Holidays, anniversaries, specials, discounts for the elderly or schoolchildren and so many other campaigns can help remind the locals that you think and act with your community in mind.
- Claim available local listings on third-party sites and online directories
Phonebooks are a relic of the past. To help get the name, location and contact information of a specific shop or specialist, directories have moved online and multiplied themselves amidst the Internet of Things. There are numerous online directories, review websites and third-party hosts that will direct searchers to your physical store or services. Google My Business and similar tools, like Moz Local and Foursquare, are incredibly important for getting your name out there and translating internet traffic into storefront foot traffic.
- Be active in your community
Communities are built on the pride that people have in their cities, neighbourhoods and homes. This support extends to local organisations from businesses to schools and non-profits to local sports teams. Show your community pride by supporting or sponsoring the activities of local charities, schools, sports teams and events and more, by sponsoring, attending or taking part in your local community’s goings-on.
- Testimonial and word-of-mouth
Establishing a business’s online presence can have a multitude of positive impacts on their sales and shop traffic. Good reviews on reputable websites, testimonials from locals and consumers sharing positive experiences will help legitimise and celebrate your store or service’s role in the community. But, by far, the most important part of these online discussions is that they drive classic word-of-mouth marketing.
- Target your local media and publications
Local media and publications are often more trusted than big, global corporations and news sites. Consumers often extend that trust to businesses, organisations or specialists who are advertised or mentioned in those local media sources. Radio stations and local news can drive customers towards your business and help get your name out in the community.
- Utilise your ecommerce activity to boost instore sales
Ecommerce and local marketing do not have to be at odds with each other. Both provide opportunities to create positive engagements with your consumers and attract potential customers to your business. You can use ecommerce activity to boost your local brick-and-mortar business and vice versa. Offer benefits, like instore discounts and email list coupons, that entice more foot traffic and instore sales.
For more information about how to boost your online presence and sale – get in touch with Cognite Marketing and book your free marketing strategy session, today.