Local vs international SEO and marketing

The best marketing strategy will depend on if your target audience is local, national or international. Should you use SEO, print marketing or social media?

There are certain marketing essentials for any business, but overall a one size fits all approach won’t give you the best return on investment and you need to tailor your campaign and choose your marketing strategy wisely.

What’s essential for any business?

Regardless of your target audience or nature of your business, it’s essential that you have:

  • A strong brand with a unique logo design
  • A mobile friendly and user-friendly website
  • A marketing plan – with a clear idea of what it is you offer and what makes you different

These are all cornerstones of a successful business in the modern world and you need to have these in place before you complete your inbound marketing, SEO, advertising or even handout a business card. If your website’s on your business card, it means the recipient can find out much more information about who you are and what you do, if you don’t have a website, your business card is simply a phone number.

Marketing for local companies

If you run a company with one or two locations and need to be physically present to deliver your product or service (e.g. a restaurant, physiotherapist or garage) then you should focus on a local marketing campaign. In order of preference, you could consider:

  • Local SEO – Optimize your website by including your town or city name in the Metatags, some of the titles on the page and a few times in the content, plus add your address in the footer of every page. Submit your site to local directories and ideally write articles that link back to you and ask related sites to publish them.
  • Google+ – Creating a Google+ profile is free and easy and appearing on Google Maps can make a big difference.
  • Print Marketing – Don’t underestimate the value of old fashioned marketing, posters in particular are a cost effective way to win local business, just to be sure to include your web address on them.
  • Facebook – Most of your friends will probably live locally and this makes creating a Facebook page a good way to attract more business.
  • Stories in a local newspaper – Many local newspapers will publish your story for free if you contact an editor. This way you’ll often get a large article about you for free, rather than paying for a small advert.

Marketing for national or international companies

If you run an ecommerce store, provide a service that people can use remotely or simply have enough outlets that you want to reach a national or international audience (e.g. a consultant, web designer or chain of shops) then focus on the following strategies instead:

  • National / International SEO – Concentrate more on relevant keywords that visitors will search for and less on your individual location. Don’t create multiple pages targeting different regions unless you have something truly unique to say about each region. Write a blog to show you’re an expert in your industry and guest post on respected, relevant websites.
  • Twitter – Larger companies are expected to have Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, however Twitter is particularly suited to reach a wider, business audience at the national or international level.
  • Email marketing / newsletters – Ask visitors for their email address to subscribe to a newsletter. This doesn’t have to be weekly! If your resources are limited, you’re better sending a newsletter every 2 or 3 months that contains something great, than a weekly newsletter that won’t inspire your readers.
  • Stories in national newspapers – National papers tend to be less interested in the personal story of how you set up a business, however if you’ve invented something inspirational, then they may well sit up and take note, offering you a free story. If you’re a charity or non-profit, or have done something really inspirational, then also approach radio and TV outlets. (The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is a great reference book for suitable contacts).
  • Translate your website – If you truly want to reach an international audience, then create a multilingual website and run a multilingual SEO campaign – you can learn how with these multiligual SEO tips.

It’s important to tailor your marketing campaign to your target audience too. Research what works best in terms of design, use language that will appear to your audience and keep them in mind when you write. An integrated marketing campaign that reinforces your core message and unique selling points at each step of the sales process will work best.