For small businesses, a local customer base can be extremely lucrative. But to reach customers in your immediate area, you’ll have to develop a concrete strategy that addresses their specific wants, needs, and expectations.
Try These 5 Local Marketing Tactics
In a business world where large, sweeping marketing strategies dominate the landscape, there’s something to be said for adopting a simple, focused approach that prioritizes customers in your immediate area. Local marketing, for its limited scope, tends to do a better job of engaging people in meaningful ways.
As you explore the potential of local marketing and how it can benefit your business, here are a few specific ways you can get started:
1. Host your own events.
Few local marketing strategies are as effective as hosting live events where representatives from your brand have an opportunity to meet and engage with prospective customers in a face-to-face manner. When hosting events, be sure to:
- Invest in adequate pre-event marketing to generate some buzz. A sparsely attended event could actually hurt your brand more than help.
- Use a branded booth and other event materials to maximize visibility and present a professional image for your business.
- Use engaging activities and promotions to get people excited. Food, live music, and giveaways are always a good idea.
2. Leverage social media.
“A strong social media presence is vital to local marketing efforts, providing an effective, low-cost method of reaching a wide audience,” marketer Parris Johnson writes. “More than 50% of small business owners in the U.S. rely on social media as their primary method of digital marketing, increasing website visits and conversions while improving brand awareness and SEO rankings.”
Stay focused with your social media efforts. If you’re truly trying to go local, you’ll want to run your content strategy through this filter. And if you invest in any type of social media advertising — such as Facebook ads — be sure to set up your geo filters so you’re only spending money on impressions and clicks for customers who are truly local.
3. Establish local partnerships.
If you don’t already have the trust of a customer, the next best thing is to capitalize on the trust a customer has with another brand. Within the context of local marketing, your best option is to partner up with another company.
Partnerships are most effective when you work with a company that isn’t a direct competitor, but has customers that overlap with your audience. It’s also necessary for there to be some sort of value tradeoff in which each company offers something of benefit to the other.
4. Sponsor local causes.
You can prove your commitment to the community by sponsoring local causes. Not only will this earn you visibility, but it’ll also cultivate a sense of trust and respect. Local businesses are often part of an unofficial fraternity. You gain membership into this fraternity by supporting others.
5. Wow people with exceptional service.
Word of mouth is especially important within the context of local business. In addition to providing high-quality products, you can impress people with exceptional customer service and get them talking. No other form of marketing or advertising can come close to replicating the value of a personal referral. It’s the fastest way to grow a brand without investing tens of thousands of dollars in comprehensive strategies.
Customize Your Approach to Local Marketing
Let’s be clear about one thing: There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all local marketing strategy. As soon as you begin using someone else’s formula for success, you’ll lose the flavors that make your brand unique. You’ll notice that your marketing becomes bland, scripted, and irrelevant to your overarching business objectives.
The key is to look at what others are doing and to adapt successful initiatives in your own unique way. Get clear on what it is that sets your brand apart, and drill down on it. Customers don’t want a cheap replica of another brand — they want something that’s organic, transparent, and original.