Marketing your brand locally, 5 tips for small businesses

The digital landscape has changed, it has changed not only our high street, or how we interact but it has changed how we market our businesses.

For a lot of us, we can be drawn into the trap of thinking that our larger competitors will reach more of the market than we will locally.

However, and the truth is, local marketing is about more than just reaching people via a generic message on social media.

Reaching your audience locally is about community and building that physical relationship.

One for a better word, it is being the local, authentic go to resource that people can trust and grow with.

By being a local business you can build a good relationship, strong brand awareness and delight your customers with strong customer service.

What follows are 5 tips to help you market your business locally, on a minimal budget.

Audit

Whether you like it or not you’re online.

Just because you don’t have a website it does not mean that you’re not online, or that you’re invulnerable to the effects of the digital economy.

You’re online because your customers are online, they have already left you reviews on Yell.com, on TripAdvisor and so on.

A recent survey by Google proved that 88% of all smartphone users carry out a local search using search engines and 84% of tablet and computer users do exactly the same.

When was the last time you asked for a paper directory to find your nearest chippy?

Ensuring you can be found by those carrying out local searches is vital to ensure you can control and manage what people are saying about you online.

Living in a tourist destination means that we’re open the effects of tourism, the highs of the season and the winter months.

Claiming your business on Google My Businesses, Yell, Bing Places, TripAdvisor as well as other relevant online directories is vital if your business is going to be found.

Once you’ve found your listings, or even if you have to create one, ensure all of the information is correct and consistent – we cannot express how important this is.

By completing your relevant listings it will put your business on map, increase local search rankings as well as ensure people can find you when they need you.

Lastly it is important that you monitor and respond to reviews, and yes that includes the negative ones.

Show your customers you value their feedback, thoughts and concerns by taking part in the conversation.

Strategies and Testing

Marketing budgets are usually the first things to go, especially with talk of Brexit, recessions and all kinds of economic doom and gloom.

Ensuring that, as a business you maximise your results from the effort you put in is imperative.

You don’t need to be on every social network that is available, and it has been proved that it is counter productive trying to be on all of them.

Use tools such as this one, from Moz, to narrow down your options based on your needs and goals.

A classic example would be for a restaurant owner, you’re likely to get better results being on Facebook and Instagram than you will if you’re on twitter.

Naturally this does depend on your audience.

Unfortunately, and no matter which way this is done, you’re going to have a period of trial and error.

Despite this, don’t be afraid to try new things, and a combination of different tactics to find what works best for you and your business.

Tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer offer both paid and free platforms to enable content automation.

Whilst we’re focusing a lot on what you can do online, offline marketing still has a huge impact on your business.

So dust off your shoes and head out to networking events, join in with local events, causes and communities.

Building a network of local and fellow entrepreneurs will see you establish your business as an expert in the field.

Clear, Consistent & Personal Message

You could have the best strategy in the world, but unless you are reach and striking an accord with your audience its going to fall by the way side.

Your business needs to be forging strong bonds with the local people in the area.

When creating a business it is imperative that you build an message that aligns with the image of your business.

Using the same tone, and consistently posting on a regular basis as well as leveraging the use of social media, online platforms to interact with your customers and get feedback from them will result in positive results.

A lot of the social networks, and by default your own website, will provide you with plenty of stats about your customers.

Use this data to further tailor your message, and communicate in such a way that it will grow your relationship with your customers.

Discounts? Are they Everything?

When times are hard, discounting and making special offers can seem like the next logical step.

But hold the A-Board for a second.

Positioning an incentive is one thing, going in as a No Frills offer when you’re anything but will seriously damage your brand and cause a huge impact on your profits.

That said, if you position an incentive that clearly aligns itself with your brand and differentiates your business from the rest it can well and truly have a positive effect on your business.

Before you go down this road consider how the value of the campaign will fit in with your customers preferences and interests.

Learn about where your customers shop, eat, where they hang out and so on, will all pay dividends in the long.

Strategically placed partnerships with local websites and other media outlets will enhance your brand recognition within the local area.

Get outside help

Time, sometimes, is our biggest contention, there are only 24 hours in a day and we sleep for around 8 of those, leaving us just 16 precious hours to do everything.

Delegating your marketing efforts to a trustworthy, knowledgeable and experienced professional is a worthwhile investment.

Identifying a good content partner will help ensure you create a brand message that speaks to your large, loyal and targeted audience base.

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