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Local Marketing, Marketing, Social Media

What You Need to Make Sure You’re Including in Your Local Marketing Strategy

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Taking advantage of successful marketing trends – like personalized connections with brands and customized user experiences – is a great way to reach new and existing prospects. After all, there’s no better place to engage with your customers than in their own backyard. The “buy small” and “buy local” movements are still going strong, so make sure you’re harnessing the power of local marketing by including these ideas in your marketing strategy: 

Use Social Media

Successful local marketing with social media really boils down to creating direct, meaningful engagement with your customers. If you can connect socially with these target customers, you can skip over the crowded, often expensive, traditional media channels.

Take Facebook, for example. According to the digital marketing firm Yext, Facebook is critically important to local searches – it’s the top social tool for businesses, and people use it twice as often to find a business than other specialized sites. In addition to Facebook, include Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram in your social toolbox. Check out Onboardly’s overview for details on how to launch an effective social campaign locally, and visit Moz’s post on building local followers to help you get social.

Get Involved With Your Community

Corporate social responsibility is not just a buzz phrase, it’s real and it’s effective in distinguishing socially responsible companies from their competitors, attracting loyal customers and retaining happier employees. According to a May 2013 study by Cone Communications and Echo Research, 82 percent of U.S. consumers consider corporate social responsibility when choosing what to buy and where to shop, and 91 percent of global consumers are likely to switch to a brand because they are associated with a good cause. The good karma translates to the local market, too, so consider it well-worth your time to invest in your community, and ultimately your local clients. Make sure you have a genuine connection to the work and the causes you support, though.

Here are some ways you can get involved and give back:

  • Become active with your local Chamber of Commerce.
  • Provide your professional services or products to a local nonprofit, either pro bono or at a reduced fee.
  • Work at a local community center that provides help to those in need.
  • Host a charity event each year, such as a holiday toy or food drive.
  • Sponsor a team of your employees for a local charity run or walk.
  • Sponsor an area sports team, kids or adults.
  • Raise money for a local cause that’s important to you.

Partner Up

Creating partnerships with other local businesses can greatly increase exposure to new customers while stretching your marketing budget. Co-marketing is a type of partnership between companies for the purpose of more effectively marketing each other’s products and services. For example, a high-end restaurant may team up with a luxury transportation company to offer limo service to and from their restaurant.

Try these simple strategies with a business partnership:

  • Offer specials or discounts to each other’s customers.
  • Establish a referral program – offer partners a bonus whenever they refer a customer.
  • Co-host an event or joint promotion.
  • Co-sponsor a charity event.

Get Found

Make sure your business is easily found and your profile attracts new customers on any and all local online business listing sites, the most popular being Google+. These listings group business information from third-party providers, users and business owner records.

Consider the following strategies to increase the chances of local customers finding your business online:

  • Visit Google’s Places for Business and verify the local listing for your company.
  • Create a complete and compelling profile of your business, including special offers and updates to attract customers. Use photos and videos to enhance your listing.
  • Regularly monitor all sites that list you (keep a spreadsheet to track).
  • Make sure that your information is correct and consistent everywhere.
  • Spend time improving review sites like Yelp, Bing and Yahoo!

Share What You Know

Be generous with your time and your knowledge, and offer yourself as a valuable resource for your local media outlets. You can help local newspapers, blogs, radio and TV stations distribute relevant content and at the same time, become known in the area for your expertise in your field. As an example, you may be a travel expert, specializing in tropical locations – you can offer to write blog posts and/or a newspaper column for the local paper. You will build your reputation as someone to call when it’s time to book that vacation.

Try these tips:

  • Let all local media outlets know you’re available for interviews.
  • Get to know local reporters in the business section of your local newspapers and network with them.
  • Start a blog and write regular posts offering helpful information, tips and content that readers will find useful. Keep it updated with fresh content.

Authentically connecting and engaging with your local target market can result in repeat business from loyal customers who relate to and understand your brand. It doesn’t get better than that!

How have you taken advantage of your local market to increase customers? Share in the comments below.

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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