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Why local marketing is important for SMEs

If your business is looking to connect with nearby residents, to establish deeper relationships with your customers and to be perceived as a valued part of the community, you need to invest time and resources into local marketing.

The term ‘local’ evokes a sense of belonging, community and character. There’s the ‘local butcher’ and the ‘local baker’, so how does a SME business become one of the locals?

Local area marketing is an opportunity to send messages to your community that are unique, relevant and specific to them. Build trust with your local customers by creating marketing campaigns with the the local market in mind. If there is a nearby event such as a community festival, promote a special deal that captures the essence of the event and invites the local community to connect with your business.

Get to know your customers

Create customer profiles at a local store level to learn about the different types of customers that buy from your business. Having conversation points throughout your marketing campaigns such as a feedback or survey tool will ensure you understand the values and language of your local customers and what they actually want.

If your business is part of a larger network such as a franchise, feedback and engaging in conversations at a local site level can provide valuable customer insights to help ensure your product or service offering is catering to your customer’s needs. By listening to the voice of your local customers you might discover innovative ways to improve customer service, or new ideas that help shape the future plans of your business.

Compliment national marketing with local marketing

Similarly, if you are part of wider business network, you can avoid the peaks and troughs created by national campaign activity by plugging the gaps with local campaigns.

A marketing calendar can ensure your business is constantly focused on getting more customers through your doors, while also making sure there are no clashes with campaigns driven at a national level.

Locals customers are online too

As you understand your local customers better you can use this information to shape local online campaigns. Every community has language that reflects their identity, so try using these keywords in your Search Engine marketing to help tailor campaigns to local customers, while also ensuring your ads resonate with your audience.

Google ‘Local Extensions’ are a great way to dynamically match your business locations to a user’s location or search terms, showing more details about your business including address, location on a map and a phone number.

Other practical ways you can unlock your local area marketing:

  • Letterbox Advertising – Send a coupon to the residents. A compelling offer will introduce them to their ‘local’ business and to encourage them to visit the store.
  • Sponsorship – Work with local sporting teams and schools to sponsor an event or a fundraising activity. You can display any participation certificates in your store to demonstrate how you support the community.
  • Press Ads – Advertise in the local newspaper. Press coverage can be a by product of sponsorship or you can run an ad yourself that showcases your great work in the community, rather than be seen to be promoting the store, e.g “Joe’s Pizza congratulates the Under 16’s Rugby Team on qualifying for the finals on Saturday!”

Local marketing is a cost effective way of reaching customers and growing your market share. Taking the time to understand your local customers is an important part of improving the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. If you can service all your customers effectively at a local level, you will reap the rewards both monetarily and socially as you engage with your local community.

About the Author

Paola Tanner is the Director, Fuse Franchise Partners.

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