Want to improve your local marketing skills to target customers? It’s easier than you think.
Thanks to the internet, your small business can reach customers all around the world—but that doesn’t mean that’s where your focus should be.
“To generate leads and sales, you need to really hone in on your target customer,” says Jeff Lizik, executive vice president of digital marketing at Z Brand, a marketing communications, PR, and advertising agency. “In addition to knowing about your ideal customers’ demographic, interests, and behaviors, you also need to consider their geography. Whether you’re trying to drive foot traffic to your brick-and-mortar operation or trying to sell football jerseys to sports fans in a particular city, hyperlocal marketing can help you reach the right customer for your small business.”
The concept of hyperlocal marketing isn’t new, but it’s become more important, especially as customers are searching online for local businesses and services. According to Google Trends data, searches that included a location qualifier like “nearby” or “near me” have become at least 34 times more popular than they were in 2011. Now, more than ever, you need to be targeting your nearby customers online.
Optimize Your Online Presence
Taylor Ryan, head of marketing for GenieBelt, a construction project management software and app company, offers three tips for making sure your business is putting its best foot forward online.
- Update local lists: Ensure your business is listed online with consistent and up-to-date information on all local listing websites such as Google My Business, Yelp, Yahoo Local, Hotfrog, Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and so on.
- Include visuals: Google is giving more power to image search, Ryan says, so include your logo and any other images of your business or product with all online listings.
- Utilize basic SEO: A mobile-friendly website should include a description of your company on the main page, a description of your service, and mention of the areas served. Include keywords that people would search for, including those that target your geographic area, such as “Los Angeles flower shop,” says Dustin Hall, president of digital marketing agency Firesnap.
Seek Customer Input
Ask customers what they think about your services and products, and offer a $5 coupon or a small benefit in exchange for a few minutes of time, says Chris Lohman, co-founder and lead strategist of marketing firm Saint Street.
“People like to support local business,” he says. “And if you get someone to open up and share their opinions, there is a strong likelihood that they’ll either become loyalists or already are and are just recommitting emotionally.”
Customer reviews and social media check-ins are also very valuable, so encouraging reviews without being pushy can provide free, qualified ads for your business. And don’t fret if your business ends up receiving a poor review; many services now allow businesses to reply to reviews.
Create Local Content
Bryan Clayton, CEO of lawn care services company GreenPal, says creating locally sourced, quality content is a core component of their marketing effort. To get ideas for relevant content, GreenPal joins local Facebook groups and asks users what their biggest questions are about maintaining their yards and gardens. With this method, they created an article on the best time of day to mow your lawn, which continues to receive 10,000 views per month.
“This has proven to be a repeatable framework for creating locally based, service-related content that people actually read, and as a result they find out and learn about our business,” Clayton says.