More than 85% of business owners grow their businesses through word-of-mouth referrals, which shows it is essential to market to local customers. Local area marketing strategies are different from general marketing strategies as you have to work hard to find, reach out and engage prospective customers.

What is Local Marketing?

Local marketing or neighbourhood marketing targets explicitly the community around a physical store. Promotional messages get directed to the local population, instead of the mass market.Local business directly connects with customers for engagement, sales, and to stake a significant presence in the mental maps of consumers in these communities.

How do you go about marketing to local customers?

1. Using Traditional Marketing

Business networking

Get connected to other local businesses.

One way local businesses can expand their network is to get connected with other local businesses, especially those in the same or complementary industries. Online professional groups on Linkedin are also great for networking online. Ensure you do plenty of networking in the real world too.

Local directories like Thomson Local or Yell.com or Yelp
Local directories are often called “citations”, and they can help your business website rank well in Google local search results.Make sure when completing local listing, you are as thorough as possible to avoid confusing customers. There are hundreds of local directories, but some good ones include Google+ Local, Yahoo Local, Thomson Local, and Yelp.
Flyers
Flyers are great for promoting all kinds of businesses. It’s easy to design one at home if you have graphics design skill or you can hire a graphics designer for a small fee.Flyers are used in different inventive ways to get the word out about a local business. You can hang them in other local businesses like grocery stores or coffee shops. You can hand them out to people in public. You can also add the flyers to goody bags or mail them out to registered customers to keep them informed of the upcoming event.
Local Ads
Advertising via local public transport like buses, local cab companies.If you want to reach customers quickly, you have to think about the places they like to go. One great place is public transport stations and hubs. You can put ads up in the bus, rail and other transit stations in your local area.
Sponsoring local community events, sporting events
Sponsor community events and local sporting activities to pique people’s interest in your business. Event sponsoring let’s businesses to reach out to specific audience while building solid relationships with clients. Sponsoring events also demonstrate your authority as an industry expert and lets you get heard. Sponsoring allows your brand to be noticed and gain additional exposure.
Join a local business group – Chamber of Commerce
A local business that wants to market to its community needs to look into joining a business group, preferably a local one. Joining a business group is a great way to connect with residents and other business owners. A great group to join is your local Chamber of Commerce. You might be charged a small annual fee to join up, but you will discover it’s worth it.
Advertise in local newspapers and community newsletters
Traditional local marketing channels, such as print media advertising are still very powerful. A local newspaper ad or feature as well as mailed circulars and newsletters, can catch the attention of local customers and bring them to your business.

2. Using Digital Marketing

Increase your social media presence
Increase your social media presence and make sure that your social media marketing is location-based. Make sure to use geo-tagging.With billions of active monthly users across social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, there is a massive wealth of opportunities for local businesses to reach out to new customers in their community.To ensure you are reaching out to people in your local area, tag your location in your posts. Posts with a geo-tag receive high engagement from social media users.
Creating, using and updating your Google My Business account
The internet is the most powerful local marketing tool today. As a first step of taking advantage of this platform, you can list your business with Google My Business.This ensures that customers searching Google and Google Maps can find your contact details.
Get listed in Google Maps
It might not make sense to market with Google Maps, but it works.Google Maps isn’t only for people looking for directions or finding parking spaces, and it can be used for business marketing as well. Also, you should know your competitors are on the map, so why shouldn’t you?More than one billion active users are searching for addresses or directions on Google Maps daily, and over 90% of consumers will search for local businesses online and review them. This crucial information is vital for your local marketing effort.
Run location-based SEO
Another important local marketing strategy you should implement is to run location-based SEO. When you do this, local customers can easily find you when they search for businesses, services and products in your local area. Some of the ways of carrying out local search engine optimisation include keywords focused on the area, updating your business blog with fresh, engaging content regularly and more.

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