Local marketing is a marketing strategy that solely targets potential customers within a set radius of a business, often at around 50 or so miles. Sometimes referred to as geomarketing, or location based marketing, it consists of both online and offline marketing strategies that are all geographically targeted.
For small or newly established businesses, local marketing can be an essential business strategy in the early stages of trading as some local businesses may generate a large majority of their custom from within surrounding areas.
Local marketing is also important for small businesses to drive relevant custom in their direction. When first getting established, it can be tempting to use a variety of social media tools to promote advertisements that appear across the world. However, in the long run this is not sustainable as all small businesses to begin with will have their limitations as to which areas they can adequately supply – even if they’re predominantly digital. It’s also best for small businesses to begin locally to build a good reputation before they expand out into other locations.
Read on to discover the 7 best local marketing tactics that small businesses should consider implementing into their business strategy.
1. Local business listings
Often overlooked by businesses, Google my Business is a vital, and valuable local marketing strategy.
Google My Business can drive customer engagement by allowing businesses to create a business profile. The profile contains the business name, address, website link, phone or email address, as well as hours of operation, social media feeds, images and reviews.
As well as giving customers easy, quick ways to get in touch with the business, it will also appear as a marker on Google Maps, which allows for visitors to get directions to the address, or have it pique their interest if it is new to appear.
All of these are valuable sources of advertisement and engagement for the local community, who will become aware of a business and more likely than not, head over to check it out. Additionally, Apple Maps and Bing Maps offer the same opportunities to add business details and addresses to make it easier for customers to discover new, local businesses.
2. Geotarget SEO
One subset of local search marketing is local, or geo targeted, SEO.
Geo Targeted SEO utilises keywords that relate to the geographic location the business is in, whether city, town, neighborhood, or country. Specifically targeting these keywords in search engine optimised content such as web page content, social media content, blogs and meta descriptions ensures that a business receives relevant and local results, as it will appear in searches of the local or surrounding area.
However, SEO can be complex and does require time to understand correctly. If the business does not have this time available, it can be worth reaching out to professionals in a digital marketing agency who will know what should be included in small business SEO packages.
3. Market materials in public places
A more traditional marketing strategy, but one that is still relevant today, is to place visual and vibrant marketing materials in high traffic local, community areas. Times Square in New York is a great example of marketing taking place in a vastly populated area, even if it is catered more to worldwide than small local businesses.
Try and find your area’s equivalent to Times Square. This could be in a local community noticeboard, or it could involve placing business cards or flyers in notice sections of large supermarkets or stores.
Local people tend to want to support local businesses, so make sure you advertise how your service can complement or benefit the local community.
4. Engage local audiences on Social Media
Social Media platforms can be a great way of driving local traffic to your business. On Facebook, there is the option to “Check in” to a place that you have been, and likewise on Instagram a location can be included in your posts.
By actively tagging your location, you advertise that this is where your business is based and your posts will appear to users of the platform who are searching or browsing by location. Additionally, Instagram offers the ability to include “hashtags” as part of your posts. Hashtags serve as opportunities for you to join relevant conversations, and advertise within those niches.
Plus, on Instagram, hashtags work the same as keywords on Google, so make sure to do some research into the best performing hashtags for your local area as these will be the most beneficial to include under your posts.
5. Target locally in PPC
As well as hashtags and check-ins, social media platforms also offer the opportunity – like Google – to establish PPC, or pay per click, advertising campaigns.
PPC campaigns can be used to target local customers by not only including geo targeted keywords, but also by setting parameters that target customers only within a certain number of miles.
As well as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, Google Ads is a large platform that can be used predominantly for initialising PPC campaigns that can be refined to target specific local areas, and appear only for geographically relevant searches.
6. Use local marketing channels
Local marketing channels like television, radio and newspapers can be great marketing tools in order to drive relevant traffic to your website or foot traffic to your physical store.
Beyond those platforms, if they have an online presence such as blogs or websites, you could gain backlinks from appearing in their blogs or articles, which boosts your domain rating, allowing you to climb higher in Google search results.
In addition, your local SEO will benefit as search engines like Google and Bing index local websites especially. Appearing in these, or being linked from them, will allow your business to appear for localised keywords in other searches provided they are in a similar, or relevant location.
7. Build local partnerships
Building partnerships with other local businesses can be a great way to expand your business reach as you will have access to a new pool of customers.
Make sure these partnerships are relevant, however. If you are in the beauty industry for example, creating a partnership with a mechanic probably isn’t going to give you relevant traffic or beneficial leads. Whereas reaching out to a popular hair salon and offering a multi-service will expose you to an already engaged audience.