What is Local Marketing?
Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Big Man and the Little Guy is a local marketing agency, but what does that mean? To us, it means helping local businesses get more customers from the area in which they’re based. It doesn’t matter if you are a small family-owned business with a single store or the local franchise outlet of a global brand. If your customers come from the area around your business, you need local marketing.
We use a standard definition of around 10 miles or 15 minutes drive to define local. If you have an unusual or niche offering, then this may be larger, perhaps up to 50 miles and an hour’s drive. Similarly, if your business is fairly common it may be smaller. Businesses can also think of their competition in the same terms. If you have a competitor offering broadly similar products or services within 10 miles, you are competing for the same customers.
These types of definitions can vary enormously depending on the demographics of your location, it will be smaller in urban areas and larger in rural places. One of the first tasks when considering a local marketing plan is to work out who your customer is, where they come from, and how many there are. Then you can consider how to attract them to your business.
Even for local businesses, one of the first things potential customers do today is search for the product or service online. ‘Lemonade stand near me’ is a common search term for a customer who wants to buy lemonade. So it follows that one of the first things you will want to do is make sure you have a solid online presence and that your website shows up when customers search for your product.
It’s true that SEO and especially local SEO is a complex business, but there are some best practice guidelines you can follow. Make sure your site is structured properly, easy to navigate, and is well laid out content. It’s easy to overlook the simple stuff. Do you have clear contact details, are your hours correct, are you providing customers directions? This information helps your customers find you and also helps Google and other search engines to present your site to potential customers. A lot of the work we do at BMLG helps customers get their online presence working for them. We’ll be publishing a full guide to this soon.
There are many other tools available in local marketing in addition to online. Targeted direct mail, out of home, sponsorships, events, and other tactics may be a part of your overall local marketing strategy. In addition to working out where you’re going to talk about your business, you have to decide what you’re going to say.
There are, broadly, two types of local marketing content you will want to consider. Storytelling and promotions. Storytelling is where you build your brand. You tell your customers, both new and existing, about your business, why they should love it, what made you start it and why it’s special and different. Every business has a story, getting yours right and telling it to your customers builds relationships and trust. You can also use storytelling to establish yourself as an industry expert in your field. Share knowledge about your product or service and customers will see you as a trusted source of information.
Promotional content is more familiar to most business owners. This might be a coupon, a sale, or an incentive. You will have lots of opportunities to present promotional messages to your customers, the art here is knowing when and where to do so. Too much and you will put people off with your ‘salesy’ approach, too little you and you will miss opportunities.
Putting all of this together, knowing your customers, getting your website right, figuring out ways to spread your message, telling your story, and pricing and promoting your business in the right way is what we mean when we say local marketing. We’d love to help you grow your business. If you want to talk about local marketing, please, get in touch.