Why and how you should localize your marketing
More than two decades ago, advancing technology, most notably the advent of the Internet, blurred the lines dividing cities, countries and continents – and globalization became the newest buzz word.
In his 2005 international bestseller, “The World is Flat”, New York Times reporter Thomas Friedman, wrote about the need for companies to learn to compete in the new global marketplace, where everyone had an equal chance to succeed, no matter where in the world they were located.
Being a big fish in a small pond was no longer enough.
Globalization did indeed become a thing, but the calls for “shop local” have always been there – getting louder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure, Amazon is making a ton of money from online shopping and delivery, but increasingly, people are having a renewed appreciation for the stores next door – lest they close their doors for good.
Is local marketing part of your marketing strategy? Now is a good time to shine a brighter spotlight on reaching customers in your own community.
Make friends with Google.
Google may seem to be the opposite of local, but claiming your Google My Business is an effective way to reach local consumers. Your Business Profile lets you connect with customers across Google Search and Maps, post your store hours, location and photos and allows customers to leave reviews. Even better, it’s free. Just make sure you keep it updated, especially during COVID when hours and other information may change frequently.
Localize your website.
Almost every business has a website, but if it’s not drawing new visitors, it’s not doing its job. A good local marketing strategy includes search engine marketing (SEM) to attract new customers online via local keywords for your business. Examples of keywords would be your city or community and they should be specific to your geographic area. If your business has more than one location, create a landing page for each location and include those key words specific to those locations.
Localize all your social media.
Hopefully, social media is already a part of your marketing plan. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - they’re all useful tools to connect with local customers – but only if you’re consistently active. Use tools to help you craft posts and preschedule them, like HootSuite, Tweetdeck, Loomly and Sproutsocial. Some are free!
Try display advertising.
Despite having the world at our fingertips, many of us continue to read the news on local news sites. That’s a great place to buy ads and catch the attention of local customers. Use your ad to provide information relevant to your local audience, promote local deals (“say you saw this ad here and get a free coffee”) and drive traffic to your business’s website. All they have to do is click.
While technology has changed the marketplace and altered the way consumers shop and even find new businesses, non-technological methods still work. Here are a couple of oldies but goodies.
A small investment in stamps (remember them? You lick them and stick them on envelopes) can still bring great results if you’re targeting the right customers. You target the neighborhoods you want to reach instead of hoping to draw their attention to you. It’s a way to send information or offers to a specific audience. You can go even more DIY and hand deliver flyers directly to customers you know could use your services – a moving company could target houses in the neighbourhood with “Sold” signs on them, for example.
Partner with other businesses.
There’s always strength in numbers. The pandemic has hit many businesses hard so it’s a great time to join forces with other (non-competing) businesses in your neighbourhood. Co-sponsor (physically distanced) events. Link to each other’s websites. And work together to create “shop local” events that support local businesses, with punch cards or prize draws for shoppers with items from each participating business.
Hi-tech or low-tech, don’t forget that your next best customers might be right in your own backyard.