Local marketing is centered around local services, physical stores, and restaurants. It specifically targets the area around your business’s physical location. If you serve your community face-to-face, there’s no need to try to find national or global customers.
People like to shop and eat near their homes, so your marketing efforts should focus on driving people within 10 miles of your location into your building. Local marketing helps you develop a repeat customer base in your immediate vicinity.
Should I Only Focus on Offline Marketing Strategies?
Short answer? No. Because you’re only targeting people near your business, it might make sense to focus all your marketing efforts on offline strategies. If you do that, however, you’re missing out on a lot of potential customers.
If you’re unsure how to blend your online and offline marketing strategies to help with local marketing, check out these tips.
1. Get Involved in Your Community
By being involved in your community, you’ll get your business’s name out there. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet potential customers face-to-face and make a great first impression.
If you’re willing to spend a little money, you can sponsor local events – like Little League teams, fundraising events, and cultural events. Your name will be put in front of people who might not hear about your company otherwise.
Another great way to get involved in your community is to network. Check out your local Chamber of Commerce to see if they have any upcoming small business networking events. You’ll be able to meet other small business owners in the community and share your business card (maybe with a special discount written on the back?). You’ll be able to send customers to your new connections’ stores, and other small business owners will refer their friends and customers to you, too.
2. Be Consistent
Make sure that your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are the same everywhere they’re listed. If they aren’t the same everywhere, search engines and customers might be confused or think you’re not a real business. By staying consistent, your store will show up on search engines more easily, so your customers will be able to find you.
3. Take Advantage of Social Media
Does your business already have a Facebook page or Instagram account? If you do, make sure to take advantage of them. Social media is a great way to interact with your customers and connect with potential customers.
You can even post exclusive discounts for your followers to take advantage of when they’re in your store.
Keep track of your analytics to see when your followers are the most active on social media. Try to post during their most active times so you know that your message is being seen.
4. Keep Your Website Updated & Mobile Friendly
If you have a website, make sure that you keep it up-to-date. If you change your hours or are hosting a new sale, make sure you include that information on your website.
Keep your NAP and hours of operation at the top of your website so customers can easily find it when they’re searching. If they have to look to scroll to the bottom of your page or click too many times to find that information, they might give up and bring their business elsewhere.
Put a clear call-to-action on your website so your customers know exactly what they should do. Let they know if they should call and make an appointment or just stop by during normal business hours. Your call-to-action could even be getting them to sign up for your email newsletter.
If you have a website, make sure it’s mobile friendly. Since over half of all searches are mobile, there’s a good chance that customers are searching for you on their phones.
5. Get Listed in Online Directories
It’s easy to get listed on local, online directories, so take advantage of them. List your business on major business directories and small, well-managed directories. To get started, you can list your business on:
Google offers a lot of resources for small businesses, so take advantage of them.
When you sign up for Google My Business, your customers will easily be able to see your rating, general pricing, address, phone number, and hours right from their Google search results. The easier it is for people to get your information, the more likely they’ll shop with you.
You can also use Google Maps to make your business easier to find. Your business can show up on the map when people search for a keyword related to your business. Your Google My Business page has to be verified before you can take full advantage of Google Maps.
7. Ask for Reviews
Ask your customers to review you online, through sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google. Google regularly favors businesses with higher reviews, so the more your customers review you, the more likely your business will show up in local Google searches.
8. Build a Mailing List
A mailing list will help you better target customers near you. You can create a mailing list by asking customers for their addresses when they checkout.
You can also collect addresses by hosting a contest, like a business card drawing. Place a fishbowl at your register and encourage customers to drop in their business cards, then once a week or month, draw one of the business cards. The lucky winner can get a great prize, like a free meal or a gift card. You can use those business cards to create a mailing list and figure out where your customers are from. If you notice that you’re not getting a lot of customers from a particular area, you can market to that area to try to pull new customers in.
9. Keep the Rule of Seven in Mind
When you’re creating your local marketing plan, keep the rule of seven in mind. The rule of seven is the idea that the average consumer has to be exposed to a brand’s message seven times before making a purchase.
The “seven” part might be different from consumer to consumer, but make sure you’re consistently putting your message in front of consumers so you can convert them to customers. The best way to consistently reinforce your message is by sharing it across multiple channels, online and offline.