Local Marketing – Part 2: How to Develop a Winning Local Marketing Strategy


Here’s something every business owner needs to keep in mind… Deploying marketing tactics without a sound local marketing strategy will waste precious investment dollars. 

There’s a better way that leads to stable, consistent growth. And we will help you get there. 

In Part 1 of this series on local marketing, we discussed why local business marketing is so important and what types of businesses benefit from it. 

In Part 2 below, we will dive into local marketing strategy, which is the brains behind your marketing tactics. Plus, we will discuss how to build a solid strategy so that you can launch the right ROI-boosting tactics. 

Understanding Strategy vs. Tactics

When you create a local marketing strategy before launching your tactics or campaigns, you remain in control of the ship. Developing a solid, data-driven strategy allows you to better predict what will work, so you can spend your money more wisely. 

So, you need to ask yourself… 

We hope you said the latter. If so, read on…

4 Steps for Creating a Winning Local Marketing Strategy

Below we’ve outlined four important steps for creating a local marketing strategy. Note that this is not an exhaustive list. However, these steps do apply to every business that wants to build the right foundation for its local marketing efforts.

1) Research Your Target Audience

Here at Viral Solutions, we talk about researching your target audience again and again—and we won’t stop. Why? Because it’s critical to short- and long-term business growth, whether you are marketing locally or globally.

But knowing your target audience is especially important to your local marketing strategy. It will prevent you from wasting marketing spend and allow you to narrow in on who will respond to your promotions, so you can maximize your marketing budget. 

So, let’s talk about target audience research—specifically what it is and how to apply it to your local marketing strategy.

Effective target audience research forms the foundation of every growth-focused marketing strategy. So many businesses get this one wrong because they either rely too much on guesswork and not enough on the data, or they rush through the process, not realizing how critical it is. 

Applying marketing tactics without conducting market research is like building a skyscraper without laying a foundation. The first few stories will continually collapse, and you will never be able to build your business higher than that. You may experience short wins, but they will never materialize into long-term growth. This is why you need market research. 

To get a deeper understanding of target market research, we recommend you also review the following resources:

These articles lay the foundation for market research and give you some tips for executing what we will outline in this section. 

Below are some questions to get your market research started: 

Benefits of Market Research

You already know that doing proper market research can prevent you from wasting marketing spend. Here are some other benefits:

2) Build Out Your Customer Journey

Example of customer journey with illustration of people at various points on a road.

Your customers don’t wake up one morning and exchange money with your store. Customers walk through defined stages before they buy. They might be exposed to your brand many times before they even step foot in your store. But that doesn’t mean that the same people won’t buy from you the next day or even three months later. Every customer’s journey is different. 

Let’s look at a customer journey example…

A consumer sees your mobile promotion for your new café while walking about the town. They walk into your café, but the line is a little long and they’re in a hurry to get to their next appointment. So, they walk out. But your window signage prompted them to follow you on Instagram. One week later, they see your post on Instagram and send a picture to their friend, who wants to visit the café too. They both forget about their conversation. Later, one of them sees a poster somewhere else and then receives a discount promotion on their phone. They head to your café on their next outing. 

This customer experienced your brand at multiple touchpoints before making a purchase. If you didn’t promote your store where your customers typically interact with your brand (their journey touchpoints), you might not have secured that customer. 

This is but one of dozens of journeys a potential customer might take to arrive at your store. Your local promotions might not convert at the first touchpoint. But the more you connect with a consumer, the closer they get to purchasing and becoming a loyal customer.

The key to understanding the customer journey for your local marketing strategy is recognizing all potential consumer touchpoints, so you can target them at each one. 

That customer who was exposed to your brand for the first time should not see the same promotional ad after they have been exposed to your brand multiple times. Each touchpoint might require different ads or messaging. For example, as consumers get closer to a sale, you might want to send them more targeted promotions (deep discounts, limited-time deals) to seal the deal. Yet, someone who has not heard about your establishment might get turned off by a sales ad.

Whether via Instagram, Facebook, Google reviews, Google My Business, mobile ads, your website, or any other property, mapping out your customers’ journeys solidifies your local marketing strategy so that you can target customers wherever they are.

Check out this article to learn more about the purchase funnel stages.

When you have determined the size of your market, your target audience, and your competitors, you are ready for the next step of developing your local marketing strategy—determining your goals. 

3) Set Your Local Marketing Strategy Goals

No local marketing strategy is complete without clear, specific, and measurable goals to drive it. 

Launching a strategy without any goals makes you directionless. It also results in wasted marketing spend. 

Imagine taking a trip, packing for seven days, and never knowing where you are going. It seems strange, but this is how some businesses operate. 

With no goals, you have no way of knowing if your marketing efforts were successful. 

Your goals need to be more specific than just marketing your business locally. 

Are you launching a new product? Trying to increase sales for a particular product? Generating leads for your new service? 

Once you come up with goals, ensure they are specific enough to measure.

Here’s an example of a goal that’s too vague:

What is “more” foot traffic? What does that look like? When do you want to achieve this goal?

Now, here is a better way to state your goal. Making it more specific allows you to measure it quantitatively.

4) Determine Your Budget

Knowing your specific goals, your audience, and the journeys they take to becoming a customer provides the foundation for creating your budget. You must know your tactics to set a budget for your marketing campaigns. But you won’t be able to map out specific tactics until you’ve mapped out your strategy and goals. 

You may want to consider creating a zero-based budget, which means that you start with ZERO assumptions about your future success. You also shouldn’t regurgitate last year’s tactics as you plan your new strategy. Otherwise, you will be relying on insufficient or outdated information. Create your budget from your new goals, market research, and an understanding of your market positioning

We provide more detail on setting marketing goals and zero-based budgets in this article: Marketing Strategy: Part 2 – What Your Marketing Is Likely Missing.

Developing a Winning Local Marketing Strategy: What You Need to Know

In this article, we discussed some of the steps to developing a winning local marketing strategy, including…

Once you have a solid local marketing strategy driven by your marketing data, it’s time to flush out some growth-focused tactics that will bring you results! In Part 3 of this article series, we will dive into some proven local marketing tactics.
Is your marketing strategy working? If you can’t confidently answer “YES” to that question, take advantage of our FREE 20-Point Marketing Audit and Review. Get a full website review, social media evaluation, high-level review of your messaging and branding, and more!


At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

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Filed Under: Business Tips