Marketing, advertising, public relations – for some organizations, these basic business terms can be intimidating. And in most cases they’re intimidating because they’re foreign or unknown. After all, many businesses in service industries thrive on word of mouth and referrals. As such, they don’t believe they have a need for marketing.
This couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Marketing – specifically local marketing – is a critical component of long-term success and every business owner should pay attention.
The Value of Local Marketing
Local marketing is important for a number of reasons.
According to marketing expert Laura Lake, “A local company needs a targeted marketing strategy to attract a new set of customers who may not realize that there is a local specialty business in the area.”
In other words, the big national brands will force you out of town if you don’t make your presence known. They have large marketing budgets and everyone knows who they are. Your business, on the other hand, is small and unknown.
But, you have one thing going for you: you’re local. People love working with local businesses. They enjoy giving back to the community and perceive “mom and pop” companies as more attentive and honest.
Through local marketing efforts, you can establish, identify, and make your company known. And despite what you may think, it’s not time- or capital-intensive to develop a basic local marketing strategy.
For example, Sydney Emergency Plumbing advertises their services by maintaining a blog and giving special offers to surrounding neighborhoods. Other companies choose to invest in more traditional print advertisements (e.g., State Farm, whose local agents often rely on billboards to build their brands).
Local Marketing in the Modern Marketplace
While there’s nothing wrong with traditional forms of local marketing (billboards, newspaper and magazine ads, mass mailers, radio spots), most service industry businesses will find their money is better spent online. Start by emphasizing local SEO. Here are some tips:
- The first step is to claim your Google My Business page. Think of this as your virtual real estate. This is how people will find you online. Be sure to include descriptions, photos, contact information, location information and anything else that’s relevant.
- Next, fill out your NAP (name, address, phone number) on all websites, social media profiles, and online directories where your business is listed. After all, people need to be able to contact you after they discover you.
- Seek out local reviews from satisfied customers. Online reviews go a long way and help remove some of the hesitancy associated with doing business online, especially for service-based businesses.
- You’ll also need to optimize your website, blog, and landing pages. Target local keywords and adjust title tags and URLs to reflect your location. These elements will help drive traffic to your site.
- If you have the budget, experimenting with pay-per-click advertising can be effective when used in conjunction with local search terms and targeted audiences.
7 Reasons to Pursue Local Marketing
According to data and research compiled by multiple industry sources, there are seven basic benefits of local marketing:
- Maintain brand control and consistency
- Increase relevancy through customization to local markets
- The ability to execute national campaigns at the local level
- Improved speed of bringing products and services to market
- The ability to reach local prospects with individualized pain points
- Increased revenue and channel engagement
- Access to more marketing materials
If you haven’t yet invested in local marketing, do what thousands of other businesses are doing and start targeting your immediate community. Start with local SEO and then expand as your budget allows.