Local Marketing – Part 1: What Is Local Business Marketing?
The world is starting to open its doors again. Are you ready for the masses?
Congratulations to you if you boosted your digital presence to keep your business surviving and hopefully thriving during this pandemic. We know the last 12 to 18 months have been challenging. But thankfully, we are starting to see normalcy trickling back into society. Even though it’s a slow process for some, planning your local business marketing strategy now will propel you ahead of the competition and set you up for significant gains.
That’s why we’re tackling this topic now—to give you a heads-up on the massive potential if you time your strategy right and take action.
By following along, you’ll learn what local business marketing is, what benefits it offers, and how to use it to attract customers.
First, we’re going to address a couple of key questions for business owners like you:
- What is local business marketing?
- Why is it so important to understand as we transition back into normalcy?
If you want to come back with a bang and set your business up for success, you’re in the right place.
So, let’s get started!
What Is Local Business Marketing?
Local business marketing can also be called “neighborhood marketing” because it targets people who live in the area around your business. If customers can physically walk or drive to your physical location to take advantage of your offerings, they are potential customers to target with your local marketing campaigns.
Although there aren’t any strict rules for how far a business should target a customer from their location, typically, you would target customers within a 20-mile radius of your facility. These customers are most likely to visit your location regularly. But if you run a business that attracts people from farther away, the targeting distance may fluctuate for your campaigns.
If you’ve ever seen an ad on your mobile phone for a local car wash coupon or read about an event happening at your city’s top salon, you witnessed local business marketing in action.
Local business marketing focuses on introducing new customers to your business and building brand awareness. But one of the most important aspects is also to foster loyal customers who trust your brand. These customers become brand ambassadors and recommend your business on local community websites and to friends and family who live locally.
What Types of Businesses Benefit from Local Business Marketing?
Any business that services customers locally can benefit from local business marketing and out-of-home advertising. But each business type might require varying levels of strategy. Two categories of businesses need local business marketing to thrive and succeed:
- Primary (Local) Businesses
The first category is businesses that need a physical location just to operate. Examples of the types of businesses that fall under this umbrella would be restaurants, hair salons, spas, physical therapy clinics, real estate offices—essentially any that require person-to-person contact to conduct business.
These businesses must practice local marketing. Otherwise, they will be out of business.
These businesses got hit the hardest by the pandemic because it was difficult to nearly impossible to pivot to online sales. Some were able to sell products online (spas) or offer other options like take-out dining (restaurants). However, their core business model relies on people visiting their establishment in person.
- Primary (Local) + Secondary (Digital) Businesses
These businesses would also benefit from local business marketing; however, they can also earn income from online sales, or service people via digital meetings. Their customers can be local or international. Here are some examples:
- Retail stores
- Tax preparation services
- Business consultants
These businesses might be able to survive on online sales, but local business marketing would increase foot traffic, improve brand awareness, and boost their growth exponentially.
Bottom Line: Any business with a physical location for customers to visit will benefit from local business marketing. Otherwise, why have a physical location at all? It would be better to remain a digital company and save money on overhead. But if your business requires or functions better with a physical location, target the potential customers who are near your establishment. We will talk about exactly how you can do this in future articles in this series.
Why Is Local Business Marketing So Important?
In 2019, a study shared by Search Engine Land revealed that 75% of local-intent mobile searches result in a visit to the establishment within a day of that search. Plus, nearly half (45%) of brick-and-mortar sales begin with an online review.
It’s 2021, and people have been shut inside their homes for more than a year. As things normalize, we predict that we will see a mass exodus out of our homes into local shopping establishments. It might not happen all at once, but the percentages in those statistics we just mentioned will likely be higher as the year progresses and we move into 2022.
The benefits of local marketing are numerous. Besides positioning you for the surge and helping you reclaim some lost revenue from the last year, local marketing can help you do the following:
- Compete with large chains. If you’re not part of a large chain, participating in local business marketing is vital for your small business to compete with the big guys. Give your local customers a reason to choose you instead.
- Save money. If you run a physical store that sells online, you may already be advertising to a national or global market. But advertising locally is cost-effective because you are competing on less popular keywords (local vs. national).
- Convert higher. People tend to buy more when they can physically touch what they are shopping for and interact with real people. Purchasing online always brings with it some skepticism because consumers can’t verify your reputation and validity. They also can’t see, touch, or experience the product and have many unanswered questions that prevent them from buying. In-store browsing will typically result in higher conversions.
As we discuss specific local marketing tactics in the future, you will see how critical they can be for business growth. Next, we will introduce some of these tactics so you can understand at a deeper level how local business marketing can help you get more customers and grow your company.
What Does Local Business Marketing Entail?
So far, we’ve answered the following questions:
- What is local business marketing?
- What types of businesses benefit from local business marketing?
- Why is local business marketing so important?
Right now, you might be thinking that local marketing sounds interesting, but it’s challenging to visualize what this will look like for your business without seeing it in action.
Let’s talk about some basic tactics you might use to execute a local business marketing strategy.
Imagine this scenario…
You run a coffee shop in Nashville, and you want to increase foot traffic and build awareness for your establishment. Maybe you are newer to the area, or your location is a little obscure so not many people know you exist. How can you target local customers?
- Add your local information to your website. Ensure it is accessible on your mobile site so consumers can easily find you if they are out and using their phones to locate your cafe.
- Do local SEO and advertise with local keywords so when someone searches in Google for “Nashville coffee shop,” your cafe shows up in the listings. With nearly one-third of consumers using the internet to search for local businesses on a daily basis, this tactic is necessary for growth.
- Claim your business listing in directories such as Google My Business so when people search for a phrase like “cafes near me” or “local roasted coffee in Nashville,” your information shows up correctly in the listings. Listings also help you drum up reviews, which are critical to getting more customers. Every business should have a local business strategy for getting more positive reviews since 87% of consumers read digital reviews for local businesses. Without positive reviews, you will never compete with other establishments like yours.
Let’s say you are promoting a special July 4th iced coffee drink at 50% off for three days only. How can you advertise your promotion aside from adding a flyer on your store window?
- Target local customers, even those walking near your store, with advertisements on their digital devices. Yes, you can do this!
- Connect with other local businesses that could also benefit from cross-promotion. For example, a store that sells cute coffee mugs or baked goods can put your flyer in their store and vice versa.
- Connect with local media magazines and websites and run advertisements. Also, ask these outlets to be interviewed about your new promotion or any other newsworthy business content.
These tactics are but a few of the many you can implement as part of your local business marketing strategy. However, it’s your strategy that will ultimately determine which tactics to use. Strategy comes first; tactics come second.
Local Business Marketing: What You Need to Know
We’ve just scratched the surface of local marketing’s potential. But by now you should be able to answer questions like “What is local business marketing?” and “How can it benefit my business?”
Down the road, we’ll dive into specific tactics in much more detail and teach you how to create a successful strategy to increase foot traffic, boost conversions, and get your physical location on the map.
If you want some assistance crafting a powerful local marketing strategy and identifying growth opportunities, we’d be happy to help! Start by requesting a FREE marketing audit today.