Since the beginning of the digital revolution, businesses have focused so much on reaching everyone, that they’ve ignored the power of local markets. Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, getting your name into the local business arena and engaging with locals can help keep your marketing costs low and create a local community of repeat customers. Let’s look at a few ideas to get you started on leveraging the local market.
Defining Your “Local Market”
It seems obvious, but to leverage the local market, you’ll do well to define what your local market is, who it consists of, and who your competition is. A little bit of research can go a long way and this post provides an easy “how-to” if you don’t know where to start. Once you know what your local market is made of, you can begin to target the best ways to generate awareness and grow your business.
Spreading the Word
One of the best ways to spread the word about your company to a local market is through volunteering. Zappos isn’t a small business but they do a terrific job inserting their brand into local communities through their extensive community involvement program. More than just good PR, volunteering can be an effective way to grow awareness for your goods and services with very little investment on your part. Volunteering can also support local team bonding and organizations like the Taproot Foundation can add to the learning and development of your employees.
If you don’t have the capacity to volunteer, consider donating to local charities or adding a basket of your goods and services to an auction for a local charity who will be more than happy to share your brand and sing your praises to their local audience.
Local advertising is another good way to generate awareness and leads for your business. According to a BIA/Kelsey study, local media ad revenues will increase 2.8% by 2017, so you won’t be alone in placing ads with local digital TV, radio, and print resources. Local media websites are a great place to start, and you can analyze the performance of ads across local outlets to determine how to allocate funds in the future.
Rev Up Reviews
If you don’t have the money for ads, leverage digital word-of-mouth by monitoring and engaging with your local customers where they share their reviews. For brick-and-mortar establishments, it’s Yelp and TripAdvisor. If your business is on Yelp, look into Sendible. Sendible is a terrific social media dashboard on its own, but unlike so many others, it helps you monitor your brand on the site. This is critical to small businesses looking to reach Yelp’s more than 132 million monthly visitors who rely on user generated reviews to decide where to spend their money. Just remember to be polite and encourage candid feedback if you engage because your revenue won’t drop because of one bad review, but it will if your online behavior is bad.
With so many ways to start the process of leveraging the local market, these are just the tip of the iceberg.