Courtesy of Jack's friend Alice Seba Alice Seba Owner of DIYplr.com
If you don’t have a local marketing strategy and you’re not taking steps to connect with your neighbors, you’re missing out. Online business can and does thrive when they market to their neighbors. And it’s not just an increase in sales that matters. As we explore the benefits of local search, we’ll talk about word of mouth, media coverage and more.
Maybe you're still thinking, “But I’m an online business, what on earth can local marketing offer me?” If so, here are three reasons to help you change your mind.
A Community Connection
We’ve already mentioned that many people prefer to spend their money locally. They know that it puts money back into the community, it creates jobs, and it reduces environmental by-products.
Additionally, people enjoy being proud of their community. When they buy from local business owners, they feel a sense of pride and connection. Marketing locally helps you not only tap into that sense of community, you can also help build it. You can get involved in your community in simple ways and really build your business.
We’re talking about things like sponsoring, participating in charity events, and other community support initiatives. When you create that connection, you also build your own business community. More people become aware of your business. They talk about you. They buy from you. Your business, and sales, grows.
A Relevant Audience
You know your audience, your global audience, well. You know who buys from you, why they buy from you, and the value that you have to offer. You know your neighbors well, too. Combine that information and you have the tools to create highly specific and effective marketing campaigns.
Many businesses fall into the trap of thinking that local marketing means local search terms and group coupons or mailers. Sure, you can use those tactics and you can use them effectively. But you can also use online tactics like email marketing, social media, content marketing and more.
When you create and implement local marketing efforts, you reach a more relevant audience.
Partnerships and Opportunities
When you market locally, you’re going to start making personal connections with people in your community. You’re going to meet other business owners. You’re going to meet local media representatives. You may also meet local government leaders. These connections can be profitable. Here’s a simple example of what’s possible.
An online website developer meets the owner of a massage school. He (or she) learns that the students have a difficult time marketing themselves when they graduate. He thinks he can help with that by creating a custom website for them.
The massage school owner makes an introduction to the website developer at the end of the class. Students hire the website developer to get their massage business online and everyone wins. One simple conversation can lead to thousands of dollars in business. It can also lead to a new business model, partnerships and more.
Marketing to a local audience is smart business. It helps you accomplish much more than sales. You can reach new people, connect with them personally, and potentially expand your business into new areas.
How much time are you dedicating to your local audience? Online and offline businesses can benefit from local marketing.
Three More Reasons to Market Locally
We’ve talked about how local marketing helps you reach a relevant audience, that it builds a community and helps you make connections. We’ve also shown how local marketing can create opportunities through partnerships. Now let’s take a look at three more compelling reasons to add local to your marketing strategy.
New Marketing Tactics
Many businesses focus the majority of their efforts on social media, advertising, and email and content marketing. Those tactics are proven methods to market a business. With local marketing, you can embrace those tactics as well, and use them successfully. However, you’ll also likely find that local marketing can help you tap into new marketing tactics. These tactics include but certainly aren’t limited to:
• Guest blogging with other local businesses • Reciprocal advertising • Local print ads. For example, your local schools always need sponsors for sports teams, drama programs, music and more. You can get ad space in their print materials and reach a new audience.
Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is alive and well and it thrives in local marketing. In addition to potentially getting referrals from the connections you make in your community, when you sell to a neighbor, they’re going to tell their neighbors.
They’ll likely share on social media as well. You can leverage word-of-mouth and referral marketing in a number of ways. Ask for the share or referral, create local pages on Google and social media, and start interacting with your community.
It’s Cost Effective
Advertising, creating content and marketing materials and even social media can cost money. They can quickly eat away at your marketing budget. In contrast, many forms of local marketing are free. It’s a cost-effective way to build your business.
If you’re looking for a way to build your business, consider stepping back from global or national marketing initiatives. Look closer to home. You’re going to find that marketing to your neighbors and your community is budget friendly. It also creates opportunities and expands your audience while making sales.
Earlier we talked about the concept of local marketing and making connections in your community. We said that getting involved in the community can help you expand your business.
Next, let’s take a look at some ideas on how to get involved in your community and how to leverage that into business and sales.
Fostering a Community Connection
When you make connections within your community, it helps create opportunities for your business. You also establish some of the main triggers that motivate purchases. We’re talking about things like trust, likability, credibility and more. So how do you get out and make a connection in your community? Perhaps the following ideas will help you get started.
• Local Schools – Your schools often ask parents and local businesses to sponsor their
events. For example, the local Speech and Debate team may host a silent auction to raise money so they can go to their state competition.
You can get involved by donating something to their silent auction. Your business name will go on their Facebook page, you’ll reach and connect with parents of those students, and whoever wins your item at the auction will be able to enjoy your products or services.
• Charities – Take a look at the charities in your community and look for ways to get involved. You can donate, host an event, sponsor an event, and more. You can then leverage your contribution by sharing information on your social media pages, blogging about the event and the charity, and by sharing pictures and images from the event.
• Sports Teams – There’s a very good chance that your community has an abundance of youth sports teams. Soccer, t-ball, baseball, lacrosse, hockey… the list could go on and on. These teams need sponsors. It’s an opportunity to advertise, connect, and reach a bigger audience.
• Fundraisers – There are people and groups in your community that need help. Help build awareness and attention to their need by promoting them within your community. For example, a family loses their house to a fire and cannot afford new belongings. Step in and rally the community to help them out. You make a strong impression on the community, market your business, and help people in need.
This short list is just the tip of the opportunity iceberg. Look for opportunities around you. Meet the people in your city and state and begin reaching out. When you create connections in your community and you foster those connections, you help build your brand. People think of you when they have a need, and they tell others about your business. It’s a win-win.
Speaking of your community connections telling others about your business, let’s explore that next. Let’s talk more about referral marketing and word-of-mouth marketing.