There are thousands of marketing tips and strategies on the web. Unfortunately, many marketing strategies do not cater to local businesses like yours. Every tip and strategy is geared toward large businesses. And those businesses have thousands of followers online, and marketing budgets to match.
To make things worse, marketers try to use these strategies to help local businesses. And instead end up targeting a national or global audience who will never buy from the business. This mistake is expensive, and will result in reaching the wrong audience.
As a local business your audience are those who are nearby and likely to become a customer. This is why an effective local business marketing strategy must first be LOCAL!
According to HubSpot, an effective local marketing strategy must target the right audience. That audience are the people who live and work within ~20 minutes of your location. I put 6 activities together in an easy-to-do list to support your local marketing strategy. And to keep you hyper-focused on your local target audience.
What is a local business marketing strategy?
A local marketing strategy is a plan of tactics, activities, and tasks you will take to reach an audience. To keep things simple think of directions to a destination as your strategy. And your tasks or activities as every turn, stop, point of interest, and gas station.
The destination of your strategy are the people who live, work in, and visit your community. This community includes your business location and service area. You can read a more in depth answer to this question on my post, What is local marketing?
Why is local business marketing important?
Local marketing is important for several reasons. The first being that no one will even know your business exist unless you make it easy for them to find you. Local marketing lets people near you know you have a product or service that can solve their problem!
The second reason local marketing is important is it will help your business grow. Reaching consumers near you will benefit your business, your neighbors, and your community. Living within 20 minutes instantly increases the likelihood of becoming customers.
The last and third reason is it reaches people who are visiting or passing through.Tourist, vacationers, and people on day-trips need your product or service too. Local marketing helps them find you quickly and easily.
Let’s get started with these 6 effective local marketing activities.
1) Claim your Google Business Profile
Claiming our Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is incredibly important. It is key in Google searches for products and services with local intent.
What’s so important about local search and local intent?
Local searches have grown, are growing, and will continue to grow. Here are some stats to consider. (Google)
- 83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store in the last week say they used online search before going into a store.
- About 45% of global shoppers buy online and then pick up in-store, which offers them a more flexible way to purchase and receive their items.
- Mobile searches for store open near me (such as grocery store open near me and & auto parts store open near me) have grown by over 250% in the last two years.
- “Where to buy” and “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years (where to buy flowers near me, where to buy stamps near me, where to buy pumpkins near me).
Because Google is the dominant search engine, it is necessary for your business to be listed. And that Google Business Profile must be up to date and accurate.
Here are 3 things you can do right now to improve your profile.
- Select the most accurate business category for your primary business offering.
- Update your business name, address, phone, website and hours of operation.
- Add lots of photos of your business interior, exterior, products, and staff.
Doing this will instantly improve your chances of getting found in Google search.
2) Add NAP to Every Web Page
Add your business name, street address, and phone number (aka NAP) to every page of your website. This is easy to do if you add it to the footer of your website.
Why is adding NAP to every page important?
Repeated mentions of your business information makes it easier for customers to contact you. And signals search engines what contact information to index. This makes it clear how to contact your business.
Here are the best ways to include in your business name, address, and phone number.
- Make sure to use the name customer’s know you by. For example, if customers don’t call you Joe’s Pizza LLC, then don’t use the LLC.
- Always include your full street address including the Street, City, State, and Zip Code. Also include neighborhood nomenclature and landmarks.
- It is best to use your local phone number with a local area code. This builds trust with locals who don’t want to an 800 number or an unknown tracking number.
Where should my NAP be shown on my website?
The header or footer of your website are a great place to put your business name, address and phone number. Also make sure to include it on your contact page.
If you have many locations remember to create individual location pages. Each page must include the NAP information for that specific location.
3) Get Local Reviews
When you serve local customers, getting a testimonial or review can build trust in your brand. In a study by Yodle called, “What consumers want from local businesses”. They found 4 out of 10 consumers use online review sites or social media to look for a new business.
Surveys done by BrightLocal show online reviews attracting customers to your local business.
- A positive reputation online helps customers trust businesses. And converts searchers into leads, and boosts local search rankings. (BrightLocal, Online Reputation Management Survey)
- 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey)
How do you get customer reviews?
Start with claiming your Google Business Profile. Then send customers a review link in an email asking them to leave you feedback.
Below is a GIF with instructions on how to get your Google review link.
4) Engage on Social Media
Just because you’re active on social media, doesn’t mean you’ll reach more customers. You’ll need to consider how to leverage that social network in order for it to be effective.
Posting local seasonal events or holiday themed posts can attract a local audience. Those interested in sales, offers, and promotions will likely become followers and fans.
Which social network should I use?
That depends on your business, and what fits your audience. Take a look at the examples below.
- A restaurant will showcase photos of their food, so Instagram is a great fit.
- An attorney will write more in-depth articles so LinkedIn is a better choice.
- A local tailor can showcase recent projects making Pinterest a perfect match.
No matter which network you choose, make sure to engage your followers and customers. Don’t just post links to your website! Reply to comments, take polls and surveys, and share value-added content.
Value-added content needs to include sharing local events, local news, and relevant updates. If there is a local activity or event, like a traffic jam or weather warning, share that update. Then include what your business is doing about it.
Your local engagement shows your community you are invested, which builds trust.
5) Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Membership with a local Chamber of Commerce comes with several benefits. The first is joining with local businesses who have a vested interest in the each other’s success.
Secondly the Chamber offers opportunities to market your business. Local ribbon cutting ceremonies, fund-raisers, and other events happen throughout the year. These are all opportunities to host or sponsor each event and make an impression.
Lastly, membership helps your business online by referring traffic to your website. Every Chamber has a business directory, and will share member’s social media activity.
To find your local chamber of commerce, do a search online for “chamber of commerce + city, state”. Avoid so-called chamber websites like chamberofcommerce.com. They are not a local chamber but a business listing website.
6) Sponsor Local Teams and Events
Sponsoring local events and sports teams can provide local exposure for your business. Community events and sports are where you’ll find active members of the community.
How do I find local events and teams to sponsor?
Your town’s Parks and Recreation Department will have a schedule of upcoming activities. They will also have the contact information for whoever is coordinating those events.
You can also use a software platform that can connect you with a list of events who are looking for sponsors. Below are a list of software platforms where you can find local events.
Sponsoring local events will build familiarity and allow people to recognize your brand. Over time that familiarity will build trust and lead to new local customers.
Just Get Started
Don’t let a small marketing budget stop you from attracting local customers. Even in today’s competitive online market, you can take these few steps to grow your local business.
Feel free to adapt to your own unique local marketing strategy that works for you.