Posted: 23 Oct 2017 Contributor: Therese Palmere
Want to Grow Your Local Business? Here’s Your Complete Guide
They’re bakeries owned by our aunties and auto-repair shops run by our dad’s best friends. They’re corner grocery stores, small clothing boutiques, and seasonal ice cream stands that have friendly faces and familial vibes. They’re the defining jewels of our neighborhoods, they are local businesses.
According to Quora, there are over 19 million local businesses sprinkled across the United States. Their presence helps shape communities, towns, counties, and even large cities. While much of local business is considered endearing and “cute,” their aspirations are usually much bigger than the place they’re located.
Sell local, think global right? In today’s digitally expanding world, one of the biggest misconceptions is that the Internet is hurting smaller brands. How can a humble mom and pops shop compete with the pricing and presence of an online force like Amazon? Well, it can by using the same exact tactics Internet giants use, but with a bit of a twist to cater to a more localized audience!
Global marketing is about the identity of the brand.
When it comes to larger companies and their global marketing strategies, what you’ll notice is a focus on the brand itself. Having a strong brand identity is important for global marketing efforts because the business needs to appeal to a global audience.
One great example of a strongly branded global business is Nike. Their iconic swoosh logo is easily recognizable no matter where you travel in the world and according to Forbes, the business is worth over $91.2 billion. They’ve aligned their brand with some of the biggest names in sports (Tiger Woods, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, just to name a few) and have curated a presence that rivals a top Creative Digital Agency and transcends borders.
While that may seem like the goal of a small business ̶ to appeal to everyone on a larger scale ̶ that kind of thinking can actually hurt your bottom line! “Think global” for the future and make it a goal to transform your small business into a larger one, but for right now, you need to sell and think local.
While global marketing is about the identity of a brand, local marketing is about the identity of the place.
As a small business, what makes you stand out are all the quirks larger chain stores can’t duplicate on a mass production level. The ambiance and atmosphere of the street you’re on, the genuine and friendly customer service, the history your business has in your particular neighborhood, are what makes you unique. These are the traits to be boasting about and the kind of energy you want to show your consistent and potential customers. As a local business, you want to integrate the persona of your community into your branding.
Free Marketing: Social Media
Most of the time small businesses comes a small budget.
You may feel restricted and even hesitant to spend money in places that aren’t the bare necessities, and that’s okay. In the Digital Age, there are a bunch of platforms available where small business owners can find their niche and voice without the expense of a Creative Agency. The best part is that it’s all free marketing! Social media is a powerful tool when you’re a small business because you can curate your brand, build a following, and test different kinds of content without any monetary burdens. Let’s see which social channel is right for your brand.
Use YouTube to Demonstrate Your Services
Many companies use review sites to gain traction or case studies to show their track record, but YouTube allows you to actually show off your services. 51.9% of marketers worldwide actually recognize video as the content with the best ROI. Remember to integrate quirks about your neighborhood into the video so your viewers can relate to the people and the place!
Use Twitter to Update Your Customers
Local businesses are usually well integrated in their communities, and we all know that in small towns, nothing stays a secret for long. Well, one of the best things about the Internet is that information appears instantaneously, and that’s exactly how users like it. So if you know that your customers love knowing everything when it happens, or sometimes even as it’s happening, Twitter is the platform for you.
Use Instagram to Display Your Goods
The way to a user’s heart is through their stomach. The way to do that in the digital era is through their eyes.
Instagram is the perfect platform to use if you sell any kind of food. From dessert shops and hot dog stands, to five star restaurants, Instagram users love foodie accounts. Have you ever looked up the hashtag #foodporn? Well what you’ll see is nearly 138,000,000 posts showcasing some of the gooiest cheese and ooziest egg yolks.
Instagram is great because it isn’t complicated like rocket science or SEO services, all you have to do is add your restaurant's best dishes to the mix and remember to tag your location. It will show up on the Instagram map and aside from just watching as users double tap on your posts, you can greet them as they walk through the door! This doesn’t only apply to restaurants, you can upload aesthetically pleasing content for all types of local businesses across every industry.
Use Yelp to Highlight Your Customer Service
Did you know that 92% of users read online reviews and 80% of people trust reviews as much as personal recommendations? Leveraging online reviews will not only keep your customers consistent, but they can also sway new users into purchasing your goods and services over a competitor’s.
Navigating paid reviews can be tricky, and if you don’t have the time to run a campaign you can always ask your local Creative Digital Agency for help with advertising and SEO Services. Utilizing platforms like Yelp can really help increase your visibility and strengthen your branding in your local community.
Use Facebook to Build Your Digital Community
While many local businesses are synonymous to small businesses, this isn’t always the case. If your business already has a strong community backing, then Facebook is a great platform to cultivate that sense of togetherness in a digital space.
Create a Facebook page for your business so you can engage with your community on another level and keep them updated about the workings of your business. Another feature you can use on Facebook is their Business Pages, which allow you to run many different kinds of paid campaigns. From page like campaigns to product promotions, spending $1 a day can increase your audience by 4,000 users.
Local Marketing Efforts
Image Source: searchenginewatch.com
Aside from social media, there are other ways your business can market locally. Sign up to be shown on local listings in newspapers or partner with Groupon so customers have an incentive to buy in bulk and come in with friends. If you own a restaurant, you can offer patrons a deal on GrubHub or partner with UberEats or Seamless for ease of access. If you feel like all these bases are covered, then up the ante and check out some SEO Services to optimize your local search game. 4 in 5 consumers conduct local searches on search engines and 56% of searches on the go have local intent. Learn how to navigate the digital space like a global company, but with a local approach.
Local marketing is all about injecting the energy of your community into your strategy. It’s about integrating all the small things that make your business different and showcasing them on a larger level. These tips will help you lay a solid foundation for your local branding, so in due time you’ll be able to take them global. Here they are again:
- Think local in order to sell local
- Create videos on YouTube to demonstrate your services
- Keep your consumers updated constantly with Twitter
- Take the aesthetic route by displaying your products or dishes on Instagram
- Let your previous customers market for you as they write reviews on Yelp
- Strengthen your community by creating a digital outlet where they can communicate on Facebook
- Partner with larger businesses to offer your local audience a great deal with Groupon, GrubHub, UberEats, or Seamless
Here’s to your local marketing plan, and hopefully soon, your global one!