Whether you own a young company or have just celebrated 20 years of business, marketing is a great way to promote your services and drive sales.
When looking to take your small business to the next level, growing your local market is a great way to reach new customers and raise brand awareness.
But why do you need a local marketing strategy for your business? What are some factors to consider in the creation of one? Are there any helpful tips to get you started? Read on to find out more about what a local marketing strategy entails and how you can use it to expand the local reach of your business.
Why Do You Need a Local Marketing Strategy for Your Business?
Local marketing is the most effective way for businesses to reach customers and potential clients in their local area. A local marketing strategy is an organized plan to help market your products and services in nearby areas.
It helps you identify where your target audience lives, so you know who you should reach out to. It also allows you to focus your efforts on the people who matter most: those living in your community. You won’t waste time and money trying to sell to people outside your area who are unlikely to travel long distances for something they’re in the market for.
A business with a local-focused strategy connects with potential customers and builds relationships with them. In turn, this will lead to increased sales and better customer service.
Some businesses may dismiss a local marketing strategy as they already know the best places to advertise. But if customer expansion outside of your immediate town is a priority, you need to develop a comprehensive plan.
The Importance of Audience Research
Most of your local (or any type of) marketing strategy is based on your intended audience. To determine, ask yourself these questions:
- Who am I trying to reach?
- What problems are my customers facing?
- How does my product solve those problems?
- Why should someone use my product over another competitor?
These questions help you learn about your target audience and provide insight into the types of things that make your target audience tick.
Once you know your primary market, you must determine whether to target similar or distinct audiences.
For example, a clothing retailer might focus on women ages 18–24 because that age group tends to purchase clothes based on trends rather than brand loyalty. However, if they wanted to expand their product to include men, they could target younger males ages 16–18 with the same taste in trends.
Your ideal customer profile describes the characteristics of the person you’d ideally like to purchase your goods or services. These could include age, gender, income level, education, household size, marital status, number of children, location, occupation, hobbies, interests, etc. By creating a detailed profile of your ideal customer, you can better tailor your advertising messages to appeal to them.
The second step in building a successful online marketing strategy is to study what your competitors are doing. Doing so gives you insights into how to address the needs of potential customers better than your competitors do.
To Expand Locally, Study Your Competition
The most important thing you can do is study what others are doing. Competitive analysis can help you identify opportunities to differentiate yourself from your peers.
You don’t have to copy their exact strategy, but understand what makes them successful. Then make sure you apply that same philosophy to your business’s efforts.
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You can find information about your competition and their offerings by searching for them on social media platforms, reading industry publications, and observing their interactions.
Once you identify some commonalities among your competitors, you can dig deeper. Learn how they win over customers in your target locations. For example, did they invest heavily in paid advertising, or did they take a more organic approach to brand awareness?
Another thing to consider is their pricing strategy. If you notice that they charge less than you do, chances are they compete on price alone. Businesses offer free trials or special discounts plenty of times, which can be a helpful venture when attracting new customers.
5 Ways to Expand your Local Reach
Unsure of where to begin in your journey for audience expansion for your business? Here are a few advertising tips to help get you started.
1 – Leveraging Local Print Advertising
A great way to expand your reach through location targeting is by running local print advertisements in larger geographic areas.
Print advertising is a great way to spread awareness about your company. Knowing your target audience demographics before diving into print media is essential to running effective ad campaigns and maximizing your reach.
There are different types of target audiences, and they can be identified based on multiple identifiers such as age, gender, location, income, etc. Once you know your target audience, you can run magazine advertisements that reach similar groups.
To expand your local reach, you can look into neighboring communities with demographics that mirror your target audience and run ads there. This helps ensure a successful marketing campaign and enables you to reach as many potential customers as possible.
Even better, run them in magazines that only send issues to subscribers. Readers passionate about the magazine and paying for the subscription are more likely to engage with your message. A win-win!
2 – Comprehend the Process of Online Advertising
Another way to utilize localization is through online advertising. Similar to print advertising, digital advertising also relies on the knowledge of your target audience.
Once identified, you can look at different websites and platforms your audience visits and buy ad space on the appropriate channels. The research you conduct will ensure your ideal customer sees your advertisement.
A benefit of digital marketing is data intelligence, the tracking of ad data in real-time since you can easily make any modifications. Tracking these different channels and observing metrics allows you to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
With both print and digital ads, this localized marketing strategy will surely help expand your reach.
3 – Learn How Social Media Marketing Works
Is your company looking for more digital ideas? Social media marketing is a standard digital way to expand your local reach.
Social media is a great way to promote businesses, even more so if your budget is compromised. As stated by Chase for Business, “over time, social media has become less of a nice-to-have and more of a business necessity.”
Start by creating a profile on various platforms: showcase your skills and interact with local followers. If you want to take it a step further, consider paying for advertising on these channels to promote to a broader audience.
4 – Try Connecting with People Through your Brand
Connecting with people is a localization strategy often overlooked. As a local business looking to expand your audience, connecting with neighboring communities is a great way to further your reach.
Create relationships and humanize your brand. Start by identifying nearby areas with similar demographics as your target audience. From there, you can start to engage with them in a variety of different ways.
You can form partnerships with stores in neighboring towns or even sponsor a local team. Get involved! This strategy creates brand recognition and helps promote your business in a new market.
Once people hear of your company, they are more likely to frequent your business and even recommend you to family and friends. Connecting with people is a great way to cultivate your brand in the areas that matter most.
5 – Give Google Local Ad Services a Shot
Google Local Services ads are designed to make finding local businesses easier. Local Services Ads appear in Google Search whenever you type in a keyword and location indicator.
They look like regular AdWords ads but differ slightly. Instead of showing text ads, they offer a list of companies that provide similar products and services.
You can see how many reviews each one has received, other available options, and even a visible button that lets you call them directly. These types of local service ads provide three main benefits:
- More relevant listings: When someone searches for a service like a plumber near me, Google displays a set of listings based on proximity.
- Better customer experience: These ads make it easier for consumers to find what they want and care for primarily. These listings display ratings and review counts, hours of operation, areas serviced, and a click-to-call button.
- A better ad experience: Google can serve ads that are more relevant to your search terms. In addition, Google can target ads to specific locations—like neighborhoods—and even to individual addresses.
If you have a small or midsize business, chances are you already do everything possible to expand its reach.
Or maybe not. Maybe you took the Field of Dreams concept of “if you build it, they will come” to heart.
However, it takes time, effort, and elbow grease to make it work. Use everything you have to get the engine running, and a good source of oil lies in targeting your local area.
Do not be intimidated by tech use. Learn to take advantage of free tools like social media and use effective ad space to increase your local visibility substantially.
These tips can help you spread the word about your business. Whether simply looking to promote a new product or service, share news about upcoming events, or offer discounts to existing and new customers. And when done right, your ROIs will look more than justified. So why wait? Get started on creating a local marketing strategy that works for you.
Farlyn Lucas is a freelance writer and communications manager for a media advertising agency based in New York. She has a knack for writing on various topics, especially marketing, business, and industry news.