“This website would like to use your current location...”
Everyone knows that thanks to the internet the world has got a lot smaller, so when most people think of marketing their business, they tend to think big: the whole world, the whole internet, the whole marketplace. But sometimes thinking big (geographically speaking) isn’t always the best choice for your business - especially if you have a physical premises or operate a collection service/specified delivery area.
In these cases’ instead of thinking global online marketing (and indeed offline) you should start to think local. Often, we think 3 of the original 4 p's of selling – product, price and promotion, to form our strategy without really considering the 4th element of ‘place’. For many customers, place is not just a physical location from which you sell but a conscious purchasing choice. With the rise of large, global business there has been a shift towards consumers shopping local and 2020 will see this trend increasing. In the US, for example, 6 out of 8 shoppers surveyed, said that they would rather shop local than with national chains – citing a range of arenas in which local businesses exceed those of their larger competitors such as service, trust and reliability with only price and stability (business continuity and survival) having a negative impact on their perception.
Add to this the fact that when competing in the national/international marketplace competition is fierce and the marketing ‘noise’ that consumers are exposed to is an absolute cacophony; by focussing on a local market you are giving yourself an increased chance of outshining non-local competitors.
Building your online local presence is a case of building the foundations and then leveraging the tools available to you. To do this you should start with creating locally focussed information on platforms you can immediately influence:
- Your own website content and ‘about you’ pages, building these to include location data.
- Corroborate information on third party sites with your contact details.
- Create entries on local business listings pages.
- Use images, videos and social media to reinforce the local message.
- Create a google my business account for each location (and post regularly).
- Monitor and respond to reviews.
- Ensure consistency of your details everywhere they are mentioned online.
- Utilise local SEO and ad campaigns.
Although we all hate to admit it, if you are thinking digital and online marketing, then Google is the major player and you can’t ignore it. Although not perfect, Google’s local platforms offer amazing opportunities with 46% of the annual 2 trillion searches on the platform looking for local services - missing out on that chunk of custom is missing a trick.
Google’s local interfaces cover a range of tools that make it hard to ignore the opportunities this can offer: Local packs, local finders, desktop maps, mobile maps and Google map app as well as the Google My Business and Google Ads functions. That said, cultivating an independence from Google is important. Where possible you should use a complementary marketing strategy such as email marketing and offline mediums to support your business objectives.
As well as the online presence that is so important these days, it cannot be ignored that there is still a place for offline marketing. There are many things you can do in your local area to increase your presence:
- Print and TV advertising (less so radio as stations have been nationalised).
- Newsletters and bulletins through local groups.
- Talks and engagement with local organisations.
- Becoming part of the community.
- Leverage B2B alliances in the ‘real world’ for referrals.
- Use word of mouth – cultivated through great customer service, great experience or a superior product.
This is about increasing awareness and driving footfall but once captured it is up to you to create face to face conversion.
We have over 25 years of marketing knowledge, from broadcast media, traditional media and digital media perspectives
As well as establishing your on and offline presence in the local arena, one of the key things you cannot underestimate is your ability to ‘talk local’ and to do this you need to understand your customer. Research your competition, research your customer and get to know exactly what you need to do to stand out, to shine and to ultimately corner that [local] marketplace.
We’re not saying that you should mitigate your overall global plans and online sales, but alongside your bid to capture the attention of the entire world you should think local as part of a holistic marketing plan for 2020, you might just find a wealth of customers clamouring for what you offer.