“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” I'm not sure who came up with that quote but substitute the word plan for strategy, and you've a cool quote that you can sink your teeth into. Goal setting is essential, but by itself, won't lead to much more than a sack full of nothing.
If you want to dominate your local market and establish yourself as a presence in the minds of potential customers, you're going to need to put together and execute some sort of a local market strategy. There are a few ways you can do that.
The Internet is Important But A Solid Local Marketing Strategy is About More than Your Online Presence
Local marketing is one of those umbrella terms and it can involve several offline market approaches like:
- Starting a loyalty project (not well-suited for new businesses)
- Hold a local event and engage with the public.
- If you have a service business, offer free consultations or professional advice every once in a while
These are just some of the things you can do to win over your local audience. A smart thing to do would be to fuse all those together, like a loyalty program that allows people to order select customers to order their coffee online, so they don't have to wait in line. Or a local event where people can win a free sample of your product after providing you their email address (so you can start a local listing) and other contact info to participate.
Recognition Over Sales
If you have a relatively new business, and you are just starting to penetrate the local market, your marketing strategy should focus more on recognition. Unless you are offering something completely unique that no one else in your target area is offering, it would be difficult to pry away your target audience from your competitors. So initially, you should only focus on defining your competitive edge.
What do you offer that other businesses don’t? What sets you apart? Exceptional customer service, better prices, a better product/service, etc. This is what your local marketing strategy should focus on communicating. You will get some conversions too, so make sure you are staying true to your marketing promise, beaus the first few reviews and impressions, especially in a small local market, can be a make or break for your business. Redemption would be costlier than a good first impression, so set your priorities straight.
Prioritize Local Elements in Your Marketing Strategy
Local ads, local people, regional events, even local folk tales, can make your local marketing strategy more potent. But here is a catch. If you are a local, then integrating elements of the community won't be seen as intrusive or insensitive. But if you are not a local and you've moved to a place to start your business, then you have to be very careful about how you integrate community elements in your marketing content/material.
Set a Budget and Identify Your Most Potent Channels
Another important part of devising your local marketing strategy is to set a budget. If you are familiar with digital marketing or are able to take the time to learn it, you can save a lot of money in the long run by managing your local online marketing yourself.
It’s not as difficult as most people think, and since you know your business better than anyone, you would be able to make your marketing content sound more authentic. Another aspect of the budget element of your local marketing strategy is identifying the best channels.
Hitting all channels at once (SEO, all social media platforms, paid ads, etc.) seems like the right thing to do, but it’s often overkill, especially in local marketing. Let’s say you have a product/service that targets stay-at-home-moms that spend a significant amount of time on Facebook. So instead of pouring money into SEO for organic ranking, you might be able to find more visibility by running a comprehensive Facebook marketing campaign.
The Bottom Line
Your marketing strategy starts with identifying and segmenting your target audience, then figuring out the best ways to approach them. You can learn a lot from your competitors and then build upon it, offer something better than what they are offering.
Think of the business values you are trying to convey through your marketing, and see whether they resonate with the community you are targeting. Under committing and over-delivering is another good “tone” for your local marketing strategy. It shows integrity and helps you build a loyal audience.
If all of this sounds like a bunch of confusing gobbledeegook and not like something you would be able to do yourself, give us a call. C2Local helps entrepreneurs and small teams create and execute local marketing plans. We'd love to help you build one for your business. (702) 582-6708.