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How to win at local marketing?

Updated: Sep 28, 2023

Two women in their plant shop
A carefully planning local marketing plan can help you win against the big guys in your area.

If you’re a local, independent business owner, it can sometimes feel like really hard work to win against the big national companies who have a presence in your local area.

But with a carefully planned local marketing strategy it is possible to win against the big guys in your local area.

Here are 11 ways to win at local marketing

1. Create a buyer persona to really understand your target audiences

Target Audience
Create a buyer persona to help you understand your target audience better

Always start by defining and creating a buyer persona helps you to better understand your target audience.

What are their demographic characteristics? Are they male or female? How old are they and where do they live? What’s their family set up? Single, married, divorced, widowed? Do they have kids? Are they young kids or teenagers? Are they grandparents? What’s the household income?

What are their personality traits? Are they an introvert or an extrovert?

What is their lifestyle? What do they do to fill their time? What are their day to day activities?

What are their interests - their hobbies and pastimes. What are their media consumption habits?

What are their opinions, attitudes and beliefs? What’s their opinion on politics and social issues?

And what are their values? What’s their sense of right and wrong?

Once you have created your buyer persona, you can use this to focus your energy for your local marketing strategy.

2. Localise your website

Local business on keyboard
Localise your website so it is relevant and appealing to your target audience.

This means making sure your website is relevant and appealing to your local target audience. Use location based terms on your website - for example, instead of “tailormade windows and conservatories” your website could say “windows and conservatories tailor made in Kidderminster”. Or instead of “mortgage advisors” it’s “mortgage advisors for the residents of Stourbridge”.

You should localise the content on your website wherever relevant, and use this same language across your social media and paid advertising.

If you have a bricks and mortar location, it’s also really important to create location pages (for each location) for your website. These pages should include your business name, address, phone number and other relevant information about the locations such as opening hours, parking information, special facilities etc. These pages help your rank on local SERPs (search engine results pages).

3. Claim your business entry on local 3rd party websites and directories

Google My Business is the most popular and important one of these as it ensures your business information shows up accurately when people search for your business name, industry and products or services. So when people search “garden landscapers near me” or “cleaners in Stourport” it’s the Google My Business cards that are shown on the SERPs. Other websites and directories that are worthy of a mention are yell, yelp and check-a trade, and there are lots of others that are appropriate to different industries. It’s really important that there is consistency between your business name, address and phone number (referred to as NAP) across these different websites and directories for SEO and search.

Setting a listing for your business on these websites and directors also legitimises your businesses presence online and improves your search rankings.

You can use Moz Local to get a free listing score to see how accurate your business listings appear online, and Moz offers a paid service to manage all your listings from a single dashboard to simplify and automate the whole process.

4. Localise your SEO

A laptop with 'local seo' on screen
Optimse your website to rank for locally relevant terms and keywords.

Local searches lead to store visits. 50% of mobile users visit a store within 24 hours of their search according to Hubspot. So it’s super important to optimise your website to rank for locally relevant terms and keywords.

You should also consider using imagery of your local area on your website.

And also create local content that you share on your socials. Promote local events and business listings in your area. It helps position you as an authority in your local area, builds your reputation and embeds trust.

5. Localise your paid advertising on and offline

Localising your paid advertising is a strategy that you should implement across your online and offline channels. Why? Because it’s a powerful way to reach and connect with local audiences.

Online - localise your messaging in PPC and display advertising using location terms such as the town or city to help make your ad more relevant to your target audience.

Offline - Consumers still trust local media to keep them updated about their communities and neighbourhoods and this includes local businesses, so it’s important not to forget these channels.

Advertising in the local media can really help to increase your brand awareness locally, so invest in local radio and advertising in your local paper or community magazines. Also look into opportunities to place outdoor posters, whether this be possible on community noticeboards or investing in media space with billboard companies who provide advertising spaces on buses, bus stops, supermarket car parks, or by the side of the road.

6. Promote your ecommerce activity locally

A male businessowner in his local restaurant
Make your local marketing and your ecommerce store work together.

Your local target audience can still be online customers too. Your ecommerce business and your local marketing for your physical store can work together really nicely. For example why not promote exclusive in-store offers online. Or encourage repeat purchases for in-store customers to go online. Or use the store for free collections or returns to get customers in store and browsing for other purchases.

7. Go local on social

There are many ways you can localise your social media - and as it’s the quickest and most efficient way to connect with an audience - it’s arguably one of the best marketing tools you can use to enhance your business in the local area. Make sure you set a location in your profile. Tag the location in all your posts. Use local imagery. Share local hashtags in the post or comments. Share local events. Comment on local posts. Get involved with local community groups. All these things will increase the reach of your business in the local area.

Why not hold a contest on your social channels to increase footfall to your store. Or promote an offer in-store to encourage customers to create a post about their purchases that can win them a prize of a discount off future purchase.

8. Engage with your local community in real life too

A group of people at a community event.
Engage with your local community to out-smart your national competitors in your area.

Engaging with the local community in real life is where local businesses really can out-smart national competitors in your area. Support your local community as a business and employer. Sponsor local teams and community events. Donate prizes for school raffles. Attend community fairs and talk to local people. The power of word of mouth just can’t be beaten.

9. Distribute local print marketing materials

Create and print high quality business cards, postcards and flyers that people pick up in store. Not only are they a physical piece of your brand for customers to take away and hold onto, but they also allow customers to promote your business to their friends and family. So adding a discount or a coupon onto these ideas will help to get new customers through the door.

10. Use signage to promote your business to passing traffic

A shop with a pavement sign outside.
Use attention grabbing signage if you have a store location with passing footfall.

If you’re on a street where people walk past your business make sure you use a pavement sign. The best examples of these now are where businesses add their personality and use attention grabbing copy.

Or if you’re on a roadside with passing traffic, make sure your signage is super clear and simple so that it grands attention and can be read in the few seconds as a customer drives past in their vehicle.

11. Build an email list of your customers

It’s important to start to grow an email list to allow you to promote your business to your local customers directly into their inboxes to encourage repeat purchases.

There are a number of ways you can grow your email list. You can offer something in exchange for their data - this might be a discount off a next purchase, or a newsletter sign up. Or you can collect email addresses during transactions or appointment bookings.

With the emails you send out they need to be valuable to the customer so they don’t unsubscribe, so it’s important you have something to say. This might be an event or a new product. Or it might be hints and tips where you can show off your expertise. And of course offers and promotions where your customers hear about these things first. You can also team up with other local businesses where there are complimentary offerings.

And of course, you should always ask your customers to leave you a review, for which you can set up automated emails for this. ----

The goal with all these local marketing ideas is to help you stand out against the noise of your competitors, whether these are local, national or even international competitors. The important thing to remember, that marketing works best when it reaches your target audiences in all the places where they hang out - whether that be online or off. And that your brand identity and marketing messages are all working together across all the channels you use. To request a FREE 30 minute 1-2-1 marketing consultation to improve your lead generation strategy, click here.


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