Why is Local Marketing Important? (+Free marketing plan)

If your business depends on local customers, you have come to the right place.

That’s because we are going to provide a detailed review of why local marketing needs to be core to your marketing strategy while giving you some examples, tools and a plan to help you get more from your local marketing. 

But first, let’s answer: why is local marketing important?

Local marketing is important because it focuses your marketing efforts on selling to local customers. With local marketing you know where your customers live, where they shop, you know their buying behaviors and social preferences, helping you to develop a more focused local marketing plan.

If you have a storefront, a restaurant, a real estate office, a food business, a service business such as an attorney, tennis teacher or landscaping service, a superior local marketing strategy is core to your business.

In fact, according to a Think with Google survey, the popularity of the search phrase “near me” grew by 136% in the last 4 years. This means that more people are searching for local businesses and they are doing it on a digital platform. 

This article will dig deep into what local marketing is and will give you a plan to help market to your customer base.

Local Marketing with Examples

Local marketing is a marketing strategy focused on a target market of potential buyers in your territory who have the ability to purchase your product or service. 

For example, if you run a real estate agency in Bellmore, New York, a city with a population of about 16,000 residents, employing local marketing will encourage the people in Bellmore to choose you over a competitor.

An example local marketing plan includes these 10 steps; 

  • Step 1: Identify the target market who are most likely to buy
  • Step 2: Create a compelling unique selling proposition (USP)
  • Step 3: Optimize your pricing structure
  • Step 4: Send direct mail to a segment of your target market
  • Step 5: Develop a mobile-first website
  • Step 6: Build your Google Business Profile (Google My Business)
  • Step 7: Develop relationships with your local media
  • Step 8: Use guerrilla marketing
  • Step 9: Use email marketing
  • Step 10: Use your office to market your products (a.k.a., four wall marketing)

For a local marketing strategy to work, these are the three most important components:

  1. By far the most important component is that you need to understand your target customers, starting with their basic demographics and psychographics.  These would include age, income, neighborhoods, and type of buyer such as survivor or innovator. Go here to learn the most common market research tools in order to do market research.
  2. You need to identify every possible benefit these customers in your target market will get from using your services or products. Simply start with a list of how your product or service provides value.
  3. You need to craft your unique selling proposition then properly communicate your value to this target market, selling the benefits. Learn more about how to build your unique selling proposition here.

When you do these three important foundational steps, you will be leap years ahead of your competitors. Your competitors are selling mind-numbing facts that no one cares about vs. your local marketing plan that is laser-focused on selling powerful selling statements. These selling statements combined with your  knowledge about your targeted group of 500-1,000 potential qualified customers (or 10,000+) who have the money to buy your product and are looking for it right now -- will give you an unfair competitive advantage.

For a wonderful strategy describing this first rule of marketing and how you can get started quickly, go here:

What is the first rule of marketing? (Solved!)

Your Free Local Marketing Plan in 10 Simple Steps

As we get started laying out this simple 10-step plan for you, here is a supporting resource you will want bookmark, return to frequently and print for your records:

Local Marketing Ideas for Small Business (+amazing examples)

Ok, let’s get started and briefly describe each step so you can start gaining new customers and earn sales. Here are the ten steps you can take right now to develop an excellent local marketing plan and win more customers, more often:

Step 1: Identify the target market who are most likely to buy now 

There are two basic groups you can work with to build a local target market; 1) A targeted group of people in your area that are the ideal potential customer, and 2) Your current customer list. Since great companies always focus on new customer acquisition, let’s stay focused on marketing to potential customers who have not purchased yet. There are two basic places to identify and locate potential customers; 1) online and 2) offline.  Start with Facebook Audience Insights and Google Analytics to let you know what customers want, within targeted areas. With these free tools, you can get insights into interests and demographics. Second, to review offline demographic data, find a list broker service that can review local data with you. This will give you an excellent starting point into finding how many people in your local area are within your ideal target market, giving you a solid framework for developing your local marketing plan.

Step 2: Create a compelling unique selling proposition (USP)

A unique selling proposition (USP) is written to clearly answer this question for the customer, “Why should I choose to do business with you vs every other available option?” A USP is usually less than 15-20 words and specifically addresses the needs of your target audience. A unique selling proposition is a company’s statement that separates your business from the competition. This USP conveys a quality or price that a business offers better than others in the industry. It could be speaking about your A1 customer service or sustainable practices. Every business must have at least one USP. Some businesses have many. To discover exactly how to do this, visit: How Do You Write a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?

Step 3: Optimize your pricing structure

If your prices are too low, sales might rise but your profits and income will likely suffer.  Alternatively, if the client thinks your prices are too high, they may go to a competitor. Or even find a substitute product or service -- skipping your product or service category altogether. Either way, your sales, profits and income suffer. Locating the right pricing structure is a crucial step in the overall strategy. For more information on exactly how to do this, visit: What are the goals of your pricing strategy?

Step 4: Send direct mail to a segment of your target market 

Direct mail communicates directly with the consumer by sending them promotions or other communications through the mail, such as USPS, UPS, DHS or Fedex.  Direct mail comes in many forms such as coupons, postcards, letters, multi-page letters, FedEx deliveries, boxes and more. The focus of most acceptable direct mail marketing activities is to gain a customer or to keep a customer. For more information on setting up your local direct mail marketing campaign, visit: Targeted Direct Mail Marketing. 

Step 5: Develop a mobile-first website

More people are using their mobile devices to review a business online, than ever before. For this simple reason, you need to build your website to be mobile friendly. But, Google also knows that the growth in mobile users is leading us into the future. And Google will barely entertain your website, let alone send any traffic to your website, unless it is built to be mobile friendly. Learn about Google Search Console, and have someone help you maintain your account. For a simple website, focus on making changes to your website starting with; increasing the speed of the load time including optimizing images or choosing a better hosting provider, making a better mobile user experience and ensuring your website is in a secure environment.  For more information about marketing your website, visit: Website marketing with helpful examples and a sample marketing plan

Step 6: Build your Google Business Profile (Google My Business) 

If you have a business that serves local customers, Google My Business is worth it. The Google My Business service is free and is a core component of any local marketing strategy. Whether you provide products or services, Google My Business provides an easy to manage interface that lets you feature your most important business information which can be listed in local search results. For more information on exactly how to do this, visit: Is Google My Business Worth It?

Step 7: Develop relationships with your local media 

Public relations is used in marketing to communicate positive news, a story or language to an audience that best fits your target market. Whether your objective is to simply announce a new service to your marketplace, promote your podcast, write a regular editorial column for your local paper, to gain a radio interview or a local TV feature story, focusing on local Public Relations can help you establish contacts and prove yourself to the local media personnel. For more information on exactly how to do this, visit: How public relations (PR) is used in marketing (+examples).

Step 8: Use Guerrilla marketing

Guerrilla marketing should be used as another strategy as part of your local marketing plan.  Clever ideas, promotional tools and creative give-a-ways that match your brand are ideal for use in local guerrilla marketing strategies. Frequently used in local marketing strategies, guerrilla marketing is often best suited for higher traffic locations where people are prepared to make buying decisions, such as in strip malls, busy streets, trade shows or concert events. For more information about using guerrilla marketing in your local marketing, visit: How Do You Use Guerrilla Marketing? 

Step 9: Use email marketing

Email marketing is the action of sending an email communication, usually a promotion, to a list of customers and or non-customers. A promotional email is usually an advertisement or a marketing email, typically containing education about the company or organization's products or services with some kind of a call to action. For more information on exactly how to do this, visit: How to be your own email marketing agency.

Step 10: Use your office to market your products (a.k.a., four wall marketing)

Four wall marketing is absolutely crucial to your local marketing plan. After all, you have the customer or potential customer inside your location. Now it’s time to “Wow!” them with the key ingredients that make your business unique, compelling and give them a reason to come back and purchase again. Most businesses are not very good at this, which can give you a tremendous amount of opportunities. Call any good print shop and they will have great ideas for you to get started. You could also get ideas from banks, who often hang advertisements on their walls.  Often, car dealers and restaurants hang pictures of happy customers on their walls. Many Starbucks locations do a nice job in telling the story of where their coffee comes from, leading to more sales. With some creativity, the options are endless.

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