There are a myriad of very strong marketing tips and strategies that you can easily find online. Unfortunately, many of them don't cater to local businesses. Instead, many of the marketing tips and strategies are geared toward bigger businesses who have millions in revenue and thousands of followers.
What's even worse is many of these tactics are used by marketing companies who say they provide services to local businesses, but then use strategies that target a national or global audience. Which can work in some industries, but not all.
This simple but costly mistake can result in wasted time and money trying to reach an audience who is not local, and who will likely never become a customer.
This is why an effective local business marketing strategy must first be... (drum roll please 🥁)...
For local marketing to be effective, a local business must target and reach the people who live, and work within ~20 minutes of your location. (HubSpot)
That's why I put these 6 activities together in a list to help support your local marketing strategy and efforts, and to help you keep you hyper-focused on your local target audience.
What is a local business marketing strategy?
A local marketing strategy is a plan that advises what tactics, activities, and tasks you will do in order to reach your target audience.
Ahrefs has a great post about how to create a marketing strategy that explains this in more depth. But to keep things simple, think of a strategy your map to get to your destination, and your tactics or activities as each stop to rest and refuel.
And as a local business, the destination or customer you're trying to reach are the people who live, work in, and visit the community where your business is located or the service area you cover.
You can read a more in depth answer to this question on my post; What is local marketing?
Why is local business marketing important?
Local marketing is important for several reasons. The first being that no one will even know your business exist unless you make it easy for them to find you.
Learn more about WHY local marketing is important in the Local Search Basics course.
Through local marketing, you can let people near you know you have a product or service that can solve their problem.
The second reason local marketing is important is because, when done effectively, it will help your business grow!
Being able to reach customers who are in and around your neighborhood will benefit your business, your neighbors, and your community.
The last and third reason is local marketing helps people who are just visiting or passing through.
Tourist, vacationers, and people on day-trips, who are just passing through, and need your product or service, will be able to find you quickly and easily because of local marketing.
Let's get started with these 6 effective local marketing activities.
1️⃣ Claim your Google Business Profile
Claiming our Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is incredibly important for you to get found in Google searches, especially searches for products and searches 'near me'.
People use Google to find just about everything, and right now, Google holds about 78% market share in global search over competitors like Bing, and others.
What about local search?
Here are some stats to consider. (Google)
- 83% of U.S. shoppers who visited a store in the last week say they used online search before going into a store.
- About 45% of global shoppers buy online and then pick up in-store, which offers them a more flexible way to purchase and receive their items.
- Mobile searches for store open near me (such as grocery store open near me and & auto parts store open near me) have grown by over 250% in the last two years.
- "Where to buy" and "near me" mobile queries have grown by over 200% in the past two years (where to buy flowers near me, where to buy stamps near me, where to buy pumpkins near me).
In other words, local searches have grown, are growing and will continue to grow.
Since Google is the predominant search engine used, it is necessary for your business to be listed in their search results with a up to date and accurate Google Business Profile.
Here are 3 things you can do right away to improve your profile:
- Select the category that best describes your primary business product or service.
- Update your business name, address, phone, website and hours of operation.
- Add lots of photos of your business. Interior, exterior, logos, etc.
2️⃣ Add NAP to Your Website
Make it a priority to include your business name, street address, and local phone number (aka NAP) on every page of your website. This is easy to do if you add it to the footer of your website.
Why is NAP important?
Repeated mention of your business information will make it easier for visitors to contact you and signal search engines of how to reach you.
Here is what you should include in your NAP. Your business name:
- Make sure to use the name customer's know you by. For example, if customers don't call you Joe's Pizza LLC, then don't use the LLC.
- Your full address: The exact location including your Street, City, State, and Zip Code. If you can, include neighborhood nomenclature and landmarks like 'by the X' or 'uptown'.
- You local phone number: If you have a local area code phone number, this can help build trust with locals who don't want to reach a call center at an 800 number.
Where should my NAP be on my website?
The header or footer of your website are a great place to put your business name, address and phone number. Also make sure to include it on your contact page.
If you have multiple locations, create individual location pages that include the NAP information for each individual store.
3️⃣ Get Local Reviews
When you serve local customers, getting a testimonial or review can build trust in your brand. In a study by Yodle called, "What consumers want from local businesses". They found 4 out of 10 consumers use online review sites or social media to look for a new business.
Several surveys done by BrightLocal also point to online reviews attracting customers to your local business.
- A positive reputation online helps customers trust businesses, converts searchers into leads, and boosts local search rankings. (BrightLocal, Online Reputation Management Survey)
- 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (BrightLocal, Local Consumer Review Survey)
How do you get customer reviews?
Start with claiming your Google Business Profile, then send customers a review link asking them to leave you feedback.
Below is a GIF with instructions on how to get your Google review link.
4️⃣ Engage on Social Media
Being active on a social media platform, doesn't mean you'll automatically reach more local customers. You'll need to consider how to leverage that social network in order for it to be effective.
For example, posting local seasonal events or holiday themed posts can attract followers who are interested in sales, offers, and promotions.
Which social network should I use?
That depends on your business, and what fits your audience. For example:
- A restaurant may want to showcase photos of their food, so Instagram would be a good fit
- An attorney may want to write long-form articles so LinkedIn is a better choice.
- A local tailor or art studio can showcase recent projects and so Pinterest is a great choice.
No matter which network you choose, make sure you're engaging your followers and customers. Don't just post links to your website, Instead, reply to comments, take polls and surveys, and most importantly share value-added content.
That value-added content needs to include sharing local events, local news, and relevant updates. If there is a local activity or event, like a traffic jam or weather warning, share that update. Then include what your business is doing about it.
Your local engagement shows your community that you are invested which builds trust.
5️⃣ Join Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Joining your local Chamber of Commerce has several benefits for your business. The first being that you will have joined a network of other local businesses who all have a vested interest in the each other's success.
Secondly, the Chamber can offer opportunities to market your business at local events like ribbon cutting ceremonies, fund-raisers and other networking events they host throughout the year. It may even be possible to host an event at your business.
Lastly, being a member helps your business online by referring traffic to your website from their business directory, and by sharing member's social media activity.
6️⃣ Sponsor Local Teams and Events
Sponsoring local events and sports teams can provide local exposure for your business where active members of the community are engaged.
How do I find local events and teams to sponsor?
Your town or city Clerk's Office or Parks and Recreation Department will have a schedule of upcoming activities being held around the town and have the contact information for whoever is coordinating those events.
Another option is to use a software platform that can connect you with the events looking for sponsors.
Getting your brand in front of people will build familiarity and allow people to recognize your brand as a local business over time.
Just Get Started
Don't let a small marketing budget stop you from attracting local customers. Even in today’s highly competitive online market, you can take these few steps to grow your local business.
Feel free to adapt to your own unique local marketing strategy that works for you.
Stay connected with news and updates!
Join the mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.