Do you ever stare longingly at the commercials and campaigns of multinational companies, wondering how they are so successful while your own business has trouble staying afloat? Those companies had to learn to crawl before they could walk (and eventually run) in the corporate world. In fact, many still rely on the same secret weapon that got them to where they are now: local marketing.
Climb the Stairway to Success . . . One Step at a Time
Consider the statistics: Over half of your customer base lives less than three miles from your store. By catching – and keeping – local interest, you’ve already done much of the hard work of creating reliable revenue. Therefore, the biggest questions are:
How do you reach customers, and how do you keep them coming back for more?
Behind every iPhone, iPad, social media account, and computer screen is a human being. Despite flocking to the newest technologies en masse, humans still have emotions and want to feel connected. There’s power in a simple connection:
Local area marketing (LAM) bridges the gap between geography, social class, and economic status that often stands between larger companies and clients. It targets a certain audience based on the local trends, customs, age, and socioeconomic status of customers most likely to buy your products. When you satisfy their desires, customers will remember your company’s name and be more likely to return to you for their next purchase.
Batting against Local Competition
When you’ve pinpointed who to target in the area, it’s time to take action. You will need to create a message that is clear, concise, and consistent. Repetition leads to memorization, which means in time your new customers will associate certain products with your brand and will return to you when they need more. Once they know what they want and who they want it from, they will want to know where else to find it. Telling customers exactly which local stores stock your products makes them much more likely to go there.
The marketing message is just the first part of the LAM equation, however. To make it more effective, you need to scope out your competition. Keep up with the business across the street by following their social media pages, subscribing to their e-mail newsletter, and taking a peek at their website at least once a month. Feel like you’re forgetting something? Set up a Google Alert to get notifications whenever your competitors write a blog, post updates online, or make the news.
Before you start a search for what others are doing, however, you need to make sure that other searchers can find you. Place listings in print directories, like YellowPages, as well as online hubs, like CitySearch and Google. If someone searches for a business like yours on GoogleMaps or Foursquare, it’s important that the correct information pops up so loyal customers and interested consumers can call or stop by. After you’ve checked with all the relevant listing services, you can further spread the word of your business by distributing content.
Channeling Your Energy
No two people are alike, and although your targeted group shares many commonalities, each individual will respond to stimuli in different ways. Some people – particularly those who are older and have less access to technology – are likely to go directly to a store to browse for and buy an item, but those numbers are dwindling fast. Most shoppers are using the internet to find the brands and products they love before they go to a brick-and-mortar establishment. As you can see, reaching out to your clients via the web, mobile devices, and social media is one of the best ways to contact them.
By taking your LAM strategy to the web, you can stay in touch with your supportive local network of customers and have a much better chance of finding potential clientele. As your company’s popularity grows, your web traffic increases, and your SEO rankings rise as well – in other words, when people type in certain keywords, your company’s name will be on top.
Starting small helps you to win big. Targeting a local audience establishes critical connections and creates the network you need for sustainable growth. What are you waiting for? Tap into the local market with internet marketing to increase the chance that casual online shoppers will be converted to your loyal buyers.If you want to get a leg up, consider upcoming trends before making a CMS purchase. Right now, this means making your content accessible through multiple channels, facilitating collaboration, and enabling data-based decisions, among other necessities. For those business owners who feel lost in the digital playing field, a web management or online marketing professional can steer you in the right direction.
Ujjaval Parikh is the founder of Integration Yantra, a digital marketing expert that specializes in web management and analytics, business communications, and online branding. With a unique background in computer science, finance, and PR, he loves to develop customized solutions to help companies attract clients and promote long-term growth.