The local element is so important for small businesses and SMEs.
Local shops for local people may have been a running joke in The League of Gentleman comedy, but there’s nothing funny about the opportunities locals can provide for business growth.
Locals are the lifeblood of your business, whatever industry you’re in. They may not necessarily be your target market, but building relationships with locals is essential to further growth, expansion and overall success. Even better if they are the kinds of people you want to target.
Thankfully, it’s never been easier to target and attract these leads; in theory, anyway…
The high street is still in danger according to the British Retail Consortium. However, there are also positives, too, with young consumers, independent shops and pop-up retailers set to be the saviours of the high street according to reports.
So how do those small businesses attract a local target market?
Building relations with local patrons
We’ve talked about targeting recently on our blog, and that’s the most important thing to consider when looking to target locals to interact with your business.
Not only is profiling those people important, but so is profiling the area you’re operating in, its history, traditions, landmarks and overall culture.
One example we like to point to is the first ever episode of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares. The chef at Bonaparte’s in Silsden is trying to create and sell pricey ‘fine dining’ dishes such as scallops and black pudding.
Ramsay takes the team around West Yorkshire and meets with locals who are more partial to a well-made beef and ale pie and introduces them to a fresh local farmers’ market with more affordable ingredients.
The message is as much about knowing your customer as it is building relationships with other local businesses and trades and making yourself a visible presence to people in the right way.
And, thanks to the increasing integration of search and social media into people’s lives through smartphones and other devices, it’s never been easier for people to research and target their local audience.
(WARNING: Video features NSFW language)
Finding the balance between search and social
We believe that inbound strategies including a mix of search marketing and social media is the best way to specifically target local people.
Search is essential in capturing local attention. Search is important because it puts your business in front of people actively searching for you, your products and your services:
Google My Business lists your business on the search engine and gives you more visibility when people search for specific things related to who you are and what you do.
Optimising your website for certain local, long-tail keywords can help your pages show up better in local search rankings, especially if you optimise specifically around local target keywords.
Paid search (PPC) can also help to instantly direct targeted locals to your brand and website, especially if you have the budget to target local keywords and a well-optimised site.
Creating local content specifically around your region, its habits, culture and the interests of your local audience can also target them and give your website a local search boost.
All of those techniques and other search marketing staples can also be complemented by a social push, and the real value of local social can be found in:
Discovering local people and taking the time to talk to them as well as finding local influencers and building positive, transparent commercial relationships with them on Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook etc.
Joining local-centric groups on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, and sharing creative original home-made content with them to enhance your relationship with people.
Promoting incentives and sharing deals, competitions, offers and other lead magnets and content with people to encourage them to tell their friends and their family in their local area
One method of inbound marketing works a whole lot better and is far more effective when complemented by another, such as search and social. Try not to put all your eggs in one basket.
Capturing local data
Making an impression in your local community is a long-term project; a slow burn that needs lots of one-on-one interaction through social and search marketing.
Data collection, as we’ve previously covered, targeted in your local area will also help you build up your local profile, especially if you use social media to restrict your data collection methods to local areas and bid for local keywords.
Your local search and social strategy needs to be refined and fit in with your overall one, too. On Facebook for example, are you targeting different kinds of people locally with life events and others nationally with other methods? Why? What’s the benefit?
It’s also important to highlight that social media is evolving to be a real force in bringing footfall to people’s local businesses. Again, though, some budget is essential to make use of social media’s deep targeting tools when targeting and capturing local data.
Creative campaigns are essential
The best way to be a strong local force in the business community in our mind is to promote yourself and the best of your area with creative local content and pushing it socially.
Some of the best small businesses on the high street, for instance, visit key spots and events in their local area and take pictures before pushing them through Instagram as a modern networking method.
Others too blog on aspects of their local community and interview regular customers; again, something that can help push your content in a search sense if the right local keywords are researched.
A mixture of local inbound marketing techniques and a creative social push are the best way to attract a local audience to your business. Your ability to use that data complemented by a personable and professional approach to business is the key to growing that business larger.
To find out more about local search and social marketing and how it can help grow your business at a budget that suits you, contact the Webpresence team now and speak to our marketing team.