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Local Marketing for Small Businesses

Learn about some of the key local marketing strategies your small business can use to connect with prospective customers in your area.
Local Marketing for Small Businesses

Updated on 18/01/2021

Local Marketing for Small Businesses

One of the biggest trends to come out of 2020 was an uplift in local shopping. With lockdowns and working-from-home patterns causing consumers to spend more time in their local villages, towns, or cities - businesses of all shapes and sizes have their eyes on local communities.

These trends are pretty substantial, too. Kantar founds that over two million households visited their local butcher between August and November in 2020 - 100,000 more than in 2019.

How exactly businesses can make connections with local communities and use this consumer trend to improve their revenues is exactly what we’re going to explore in this article, as we provide our tips for local marketing.

What is local marketing?

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Between you as a business, and your prospective customers, there are a range of channels through which you could look to make connections. Local marketing is all about finding out which channels are likely to prove effective, and which strategies and activations can help support your business’ marketing objectives.

Local marketing is often highly targeted at the people in a specific region (as opposed to, say, mass-market TV ads), and it applies across both online and offline channels; yielding opportunities to advertise and engage in the real world as well as the digital sphere. How, then, can you get started with (and potentially upgrade) your local marketing tactics?

Effective local marketing strategies

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To help, here are our suggestions for some local marketing strategies you could look to use in 2021.

Seasonal promotions

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Discounts and offers are well-known ways of enticing customers to engage with your product or service range, and seasonal promotions help make those offers relevant by contextualising them with social or cultural events.

For example, you could run a limited-time Christmas promotion for your local garage, in which you offer 15% off all tyres bought or car services. You could advertise to your local audience with a social media-based advertising strategy, and hope that word-of-mouth encourages even more customers to take you up on the offer while it’s live.

Having these targeted promotions in a specific region can really impact your local revenues, so use your marketing platforms to the fullest to make sure your message has the greatest chance of being heard. This could mean using your physical store space to run an in-store only promotion that encourages footfall or posting an organic social media post to your local audience specifically using the platform’s advanced settings. With seasonal events such as Valentine’s day or Easter weekend coming up, what better time to level up your local marketing.

Local SEO

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Search-engine optimisation (SEO) is all about making your content search-engine friendly so that you appear at the top of the results when someone, for example, searches for ‘barbers near me’.

We’ve already produced a quick SEO guide to get you started, but to improve your visibility in your local region specifically, you could start looking at local search trends. Using the ‘keyword planner’ in a tool like Google Ads should help you to find out what terms are being searched for in your area. You can then pull a list of those terms, then factor that list into how you design your website content over the coming weeks to tailor it to the latest search trends.

If you see that ‘coffee shops near me’ is gaining traction; you could write an article on your website (or update an existing article) about your local offering to let Google and other search engines know that you’re active. You can also use Google Trends to see how different keywords on the list are growing an shrinking in popularity, which might help you choose how best to spend your time when producing content.

Keep in mind that Google isn’t the only search engine available, and there is a wealth of affordable (even free) tools made by independent creators, so take your time to do a little research and find an SEO practice that meets your needs. It may also be worth consulting with a specialist if you’re in need of extra guidance.

Local digital advertising

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Modern digital advertising allows you to tailor your ads to target very specific audience groups. You can generally build custom audience segments based on demographic indicators such as age, gender, region, etc, then combine these with psychographic indicators such as interest and lifestyle data to run a set of ads that exclusively reaches the people you’re trying to connect with.

This type of segmentation is available in most modern forms of digital advertising, so it may be worth looking into running some social media ads in your local area, tapping into display or programmatic ads, or using PPC text ads to appear in search engine results for terms relevant to your product/service offering.

With strong messaging and well-made ads, this style of advertising could really help build your brand awareness which, for local businesses in particular, may result in conversions. The nature of that conversion could be anything from an actual sale to sign-ups for your email-marketing list, or even improving brand awareness by exposing consumers to your branding.

This can generate revenue later down the line if, for example, a consumer is looking at which restaurant to eat their lunch at and recognises your branding- so there are a lot of potential benefits associated with local marketing.

Traditional marketing

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There’s a wealth of traditional marketing tactics you could employ to engage your local audience. Here are some ideas:

Local radio

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Radio channels typically have a strong regional following given they’re only available in specific areas, so if you’re wanting to make your message heard by people in your area, getting a quote from your local radio station could be a good place to start.

Billboard advertising

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With more people working from home in line with government guidance, they’re now much more likely to be reached by physical adverts in their local area than before. This could make visible billboards and banners in local areas such as town centres a more attractive option for advertisers, so it may be worth considering adding billboards to your advertising portfolio.

This also applies to advertisements on the sides of buses which are locked into regional routes, and bus stops themselves – which may be relatively inexpensive when compared with larger billboards.

Digital Displays

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If the local region you’re trying to connect with is capable of facilitating ads through digital displays, then it could mean there are opportunities for you to connect with new customers in a fun, interactive format. How engaging and memorable your advertisement is will likely determine whether this advertising method yields conversions.

Local is the new normal

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With the trend of consumers becoming more locally minded showing no signs of slowing down just yet, seizing local opportunities could be an effective way of improving your business’ performance.

There are plenty of other local strategies that we haven’t been able to dive into today, such as using buying and selling groups on social media or listing yourself on local directories, but hopefully the insights we’ve shared will help highlight the importance of local marketing moving into 2021 and give you some inspiration to fuel your creativity.

One final tip from us is to consider investing in a local marketing expert if you find that you aren’t capable of executing some of the strategies that we’ve explored today. It could be the case that your business’ revenues benefit from the increased brand awareness and advanced targeting that local marketing can offer.

Disclaimer

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This has been prepared by Esme Loans Limited for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Esme Loans Limited makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Esme Loans Limited accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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