Local Marketing Tips That Work for Any Business
Marketing advice is sometimes structured to work for certain businesses. Large companies, try X and Y. Small businesses, your budget might make sense for A and B. It’s true that certain strategies appeal to particular businesses. Then again, some approaches make sense no matter what or where your business leans.
Plus, technology makes it easier for almost any brand to attract customers worldwide. So, it makes sense that many brands underestimate the potency of a solid, local marketing effort.
Still, appealing to your local community has countless benefits. It makes your brand more approachable and endearing, because it lets you master the day-to-day of being a part of something bigger. And if you keep your hand on the pulse of the area’s values and preferences, you have a better chance of winning repeat business. Because more than ever, consumers want to buy from businesses who share their beliefs.
Let’s look at several ways your business can keep it local.
Direct Mail — A No-Brainer
Few marketing strategies can boast an ROI as impressive as direct mail’s. Not only can direct mail response rates be up to 30 times higher than other channels’, but a study sponsored by the U.S. Post Office found that folks exposed to physical ads had heightened excitement levels and a stronger desire for the advertised products. And, a whopping 80% of consumers get jazzed about what’s in the mailbox.
Maybe we’re getting desensitized to digital messaging, or perhaps tangible marketing will always outweigh its digital counterpart. Whatever the case, it’s clear that digital fatigue is real, and high-quality real-life communication is where it’s at.
To ensure your direct mail methods make the cut, remember a few best practices:
- Keep it short: Whether you’re pushing seasonal inventory or offering 30% off last year’s goods, remember to keep the vital info. and let the rest go. Especially when it comes to handheld advertising, you have to hook them fast and try not to lose them with lengthy explanations.
- Keep it customized: People are people and want to be addressed as such. Use recipients’ names to start, and make sure your product or service is appropriate for the audience (please don’t plug your pool cleaning services to apartment dwellers).
- Keep it triggered: Direct mail automation technology lets you communicate with customers and prospects based on their habits and preferences. For example, software can automatically create a postcard (with an offer to save 15%) on a customer’s birthday or service anniversary. Who wouldn’t enjoy a little gift for doing nothing?
Even though direct mail sits at the top of our list, here at Xpressdocs, we understand and embrace marketing of all varieties.
Other Easy Ways to Attract Local Customers
When you want a homegrown following, you need a multi-pronged plan of attack. Because there are several ways to spread the word around town, sometimes it makes sense to start simple…and digital. Check out these effortless local marketing tips for getting started:
- Get (and stay) listed – Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google My Business (to name a few) help people find businesses by area. Choose a few sites that work with your goals, then create and maintain the core details (e.g., website, address, available hours, phone number). For best results, aim for consistency across listings.
- Encourage reviews – This approach works best when you first identify the right moment to ask (according to each customer’s journey). Some excellent starting points include, in person after a positive interaction, a follow-up email post-purchase, after a re-order (they clearly like your business if they come back), or after a tag on social media. You can also train team members to ask for reviews after a meaningful service encounter, include requests as part of your marketing automation messaging, or include review links in outgoing communications.
- Use local hashtags and tags – A little social media know-how goes a long way. Always tag your posts with your store’s location (if applicable) and include the city name in most or all hashtags. This extra step will help locals spot your business online.
- Maximize local SEO – Remember to pay attention to the latest SEO guidelines (they change all the time). Use key words for product descriptions and services on your website, as well as local descriptors (city, town names). And remember to optimize all content for mobile devices.
- Try eye-level adverts – yard signs — a primitive but worthwhile way to get noticed as folks meander by (hint: spring and summer are ideal…because sunshine!). Place your eye-catching sign at the entrance of a nearby neighborhood or intersection, and wait for the calls to roll in.
- Take advantage of list-building tools – Boost your direct mail efforts by saturating local neighborhoods, zip codes, or even entire cities. You can find your ideal customers by demographic, too (homeowners in their 30s and 40s, parents with teenagers, renters). EDDM Elite is a sweet tool and costs 6 cents less per piece than standard mail (bonus!). Plus, when you use Xpressdocs, our in-house mailing and shipping teams take all the menial work off your shoulders. And, we have lots of fresh templates if you need inspiration!
- Give ‘em swag – Have you heard that 6 in 10 people keep branded promotional products for up to two years? That means if you put your logo across mugs, tumblers, bags, pens, or even Chapstick (who doesn’t need an extra tube of this stuff?), folks will see your brand repeatedly. And you don’t have to do anything extra beyond hand the goods out at events, to regulars, or to the local track team.
- Prioritize QR codes – QR codes…you see them everywhere for a reason. People already know what they are, so you can place them almost anywhere with solid results (flyers, postcards, infographics, contest entry tickets).
Not-So-Easy (But Worth It) Local Marketing Tips
The truth is, sometimes you have to sweat a little to help your business grow. Fortunately, although it might take more time, some methods yield outstanding results. In short, the extra legwork is often worth it:
- Sponsor a local team – You can find a local team pretty easily no matter where you are. Plus, little league and youth clubs almost always survive on aid from local organizations. And when you go this route, you can meet other community leaders and nurture relationships that will keep your business in the loop.
- Don’t forget PR events – Grand openings, open houses, community festivals—showing up (branded gear in tow) to local happenings can show your presence in the community, generate buzz, and provide fun material for social media posts.
- Plan a cool contest (and give away free stuff) – More swag. What can we say? The tactic works. For best results, after you and your team brainstorm a great contest, remember to promote it on social media platforms (using local hashtags) and your business website. You could also encourage more foot traffic with an offering like, “The first 40 customers through our door get free Chapstick (we can’t help it, Chapstick is the best).
- Volunteer – Even without handing out free stuff, you can always give time. And doing so within your community comes with more benefits than helping your local marketing strategy.
- Plan a partnership – Teaming up with another local business is a great way to promote your brand. Find a nearby business with products or services that complement yours, and you create a significant cross-selling opportunity.
Your business is part of a greater whole, and nearby customers are often a huge untapped resource. If you think about it, local marketing is simply another form of personalization. Is selling air conditioning units the same in Maine as it is in Texas?
So, give your business a strong foundation and invest in local marketing strategies that work. And if you need help along the way, Xpressdocs has solutions that partner with your existing methods to help your marketing (and your bottom line) take off.