Market Locally Online: 9 Things You Need To Know

Every small business needs to market locally online.

The neighborhood your brand lives in is going to make up most of your sales, especially when you’re new.

That’s why visibility matters, especially online.

As I’ve said before, if you’re not online, your brand doesn’t exist.

So, it’s especially crucial to get people local to your brand to notice it on the web.

But if you’re going to do that successfully, you’re going to have to understand everything about marketing locally online.

And there are some important things to know.

Some of this is going to sound familiar.

Most of it is something we haven’t covered before.

It’s not tactics or strategies, but everything you need to know about successful ways to market locally online.

Whether you’re doing any of this or not, you’ve got to understand what they’re all about.

Then you can apply what makes sense to your brand.

These are 9 things you need to know to market locally online.

Understanding What Your Options Are To Market Locally Online Matters

If you’re going to market locally online, you need to know what you can do.

There are specific paths that you can take to focus on your local audience, and there are other paths that you can’t focus locally.

Knowing the difference between them is going to be the biggest factor in making sure your time is spent correctly.

When you’re focused on local online marketing, it’s because you’re looking to boost the number of customers from your neighborhood.

For the most part, brick-and-mortar businesses benefit the most from this.

Online-only businesses don’t have a “local market” to focus on.

Sure, you’d love for your neighbors to become your customers, but focusing your efforts on local online marketing strategies doesn’t make sense long-term.

A business that deals with people face-to-face, on the other hand, would benefit from marketing locally online.

Meeting with your clients gives you physical limitations, and the easiest clients to meet with are the ones who live around your location.

Long-term, marketing locally online makes sense for your company.

Understanding where to draw the line assures your time isn’t wasted.

Learn The Facts Behind The Tactics To Market Locally Online Successfully

Understanding is everything when it comes to online, local marketing.

There are paths that work better than others, and there are ways to make great paths fail.

You need to know what makes online tactics work successfully to market locally.

Once you get the hang of things and why they work the way they do, you’ll quickly get your brand in front of a great, local audience and start connecting with your community.

By building those connections online, you’ll begin to create a local customer base.

Marketing locally online is simple to do, too.

The tactics are basic, the outlets are straightforward, and the processes don’t take technical knowledge.

Best of all, you’re likely not adding much time to what you’re already doing for most of it.

It’s likely that some of the things you’re already attempting will just need a light adjustment.

Let’s get started.

Use Free Listings To Market Locally Online

The internet is full of places to list your business for free.

These results are often what comes up for people who perform a local search.

That means people who are looking for someone near you are likely to find you.

Search engines, like Google & Bing, have sites for listing brands and their brick and mortar information.

Google MyBusiness and Bing Places are the most prominent.

However, Yelp, Alignable, and Facebook all have options, as does FourSquare.

Listing sites like this serve an important role in placing your brand in front of the people in your neighborhood looking for what you do.

Understand that not every one of these is a great way to market locally online for every business.

Restaurants, for example, might be better served to focus on FourSquare and Yelp, while a local mechanic might have better luck with Google MyBusiness and Facebook.

You’ve got to learn the different platforms and find what makes the most sense for your brand.

However, you also shouldn’t ignore any of the platforms.

By featuring your business on all of them, you don’t miss any potential leads.

But adjust the time you put into each accordingly if you want the most success.

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A Blog Can Help You Market Locally Online

Did you know that most people research a product, service, and company online before they make a purchase?

It’s true.

Check out the infographic.

How online reviews influence offline sales

 

What people primarily look for in their search is answers to their questions.

And they’re more likely to listen to a company local to them than they are someone else.

But when they search, will they find you?

If you have a blog, especially one that focuses on local information, they will.

Blogs provide the information to your audience in a way that educates without feeling like a sell.

Focusing on local information is easy, too.

Mentioning related local data, like locations, landmarks, or activities, can help identify your content as locally related.

The name of your service area, be it a city or neighborhood, is a huge factor to market locally online.

Ultimately that’s what people will need to determine that your company is local.

However, the selling point for most of your audience will be your intricate knowledge of the community.

Discussing those facets shows that you’re more than a brand targeting their area.

Those details paint the picture of you as a member of their community.

For many buyers, especially the millennial generation, that’s a huge factor in determining who they work with.

Becoming their favorite local brand in your industry could shape the next 30 years for your company.

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Market Locally Online Through Targeted Social Media

Recently, social networks have realized the demand for a business to be able to market locally on their online platforms.

As a result, they’ve been adding more tools for local targeting.

Some social networks, like Instagram, only focus on the paid ad targeting.

Others, like Facebook, allow you to target each post towards a specific audience.

Those audiences include location-based groups.

That makes a perfect way to market locally online.

While each network has its own system for delivering local content based on user behavior, every network has some format of it.

Learning how each work will allow you to maximize your local marketing impact.

For example, Instagram allows you to tag each image with a location.

You can choose the location the image was taken at, or you can utilize a specific location you’d like targeted.

However, Instagram only delivers local content to those seeking it out.

Users can view “nearby” posts or choose a location on a map and view other posts tagged with the same location.

Their primary feed, however, isn’t fed to them with any relation to location.

Therefore, when you target a location, you’ll only reach those looking for posts in and around that location.

Understanding that helps you determine how Instagram best fits into your strategy to market locally online.

Do the same with every network, familiarizing yourself with the way they deliver location-targeted content so you can put it to the best use.

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Help Yourself Market Locally Online With A Segmented Email List

When you’re a company with both an online sales element, like an e-commerce store, and a brick-and-mortar element, you’ve got to make sure the leads on your email list are segmented by location.

Dividing your list by location allows you to deliver the right emails to the right people better.

For example, certain countries may have special celebrations at certain times, and you’ll want to recognize those as they come up.

And for your local leads, you get the opportunity to send them in-store specials, coupons, and discounts that they’ll need to redeem at the counter.

Emails like this are great to market locally online because they help build loyalty within your community.

By taking care of your locals, they recognize you as a company that cares about the community it’s a part of.

You can even take this a step further, pairing with local community events to offer discounts and specials for attendance.

When your local school or community organization holds a fundraiser, you can offer something to your clients who donated.

If there’s an event that matters, you can offer up something special to those who attended.

Not only do you end up demonstrating that you’re a member of the community, but you also show that your community matters to you.

That’s what makes segmented emails a powerful way to market locally online.

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Have A Local Influencer Help You Market Locally Online

We’ve talked about influencers before and the way they can be powerful for your brand.

Using them to market locally online adds to their potency.

When marketing with an influencer, it’s normal to allow them to make content that features your product or service on their own, with whatever background and location make sense.

However, when they’re local to your neighborhood, you can team up to make content that features them at your location.

This powerful combination of their local influence plus your local presence can cement a sense of loyalty into their audience.

An audience that’s likely local as well.

Because micro-influencers have such strong credibility with their audiences, their opinion can sway people to become your customers.

And, of course, when that audience is local, you can see how powerful an influencer is to market locally online.

Find an influencer that will accurately reflect your core audience.

Someone who relates to the bulk of your clients is the best selection, as they’ll be more likely to help bring in the right clients.

Once you’ve solidified a strategy with a core influencer, you can explore the audiences you’d like to branch into and see if there is a fit.

If you stick with local celebrities, you’ll do well.

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Market Locally Online Through Local Reviews

Consumer reviews matter to audiences everywhere.

The numbers are truly staggering.

Reviews matter to so many consumers that they should be a critical part of your online local marketing strategy.

Your neighborhood, especially through Facebook and Google, is going to frequently be exposed to your reviews.

They’ll notice them as friends and family leave them for you.

Local searches will display them.

Most importantly, when they search for products and services that you offer, they’ll spend a good length of time reading them.

That means you need to make sure you have reviews, and that they’re good.

First and foremost, that means making sure your customer service is up-to-par.

If you’re making sure every customer is happy and every customer problem is handled to the best of your ability, earning positive reviews should be simple.

Often, the key is simply asking for them.

Which leads to my second point.

To market locally online successfully, you’ve got to ask for reviews from everyone.

Any time a client completes a purchase or receives a service, ask them to leave their feedback.

Not everyone will do it, but enough will that you should be able to build your reputation online among local clients.

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Find A Content Partner In A Local Business And Help Each Other Market Locally Online

One thing most small business owners don’t do enough of is partnering with other businesses.

You have colleagues in related businesses who aren’t your competition.

Each of your businesses could benefit from sharing clients.

Why not create your content together to reach each other’s audiences and market locally online through one another?

Like working with an influencer, teaming up with other local businesses allows you to tap into their credibility with their audience.

This exposes your brand to an audience you might not otherwise see.

An audience that’s local.

A mutually beneficial relationship like this can help both brands market locally online in a way that could dramatically speed up growth.

Provided you build a strong partnership with an exciting content strategy, you should each find more local clientele.

When two local brands show that they support the community through other local businesses, local audiences develop a whole new level of loyalty and appreciation.

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Use A Lead Funnel Specific To Locations You Want To Market Locally Online To

Landing pages are a strong way to market locally online.

Like segmented email lists, information specific to a location can be added to a landing page to demonstrate your company’s local presence.

Unlike a segmented email list, this will often be the first information someone learns about your brand.

When people find a local-focused company and get to know them at a local level on their first introduction, it leaves a first impression that can’t be earned any other way.

More often people care about working locally than ever before.

Your ability to deliver that information through local online marketing can change the way your new clients approach you.

The beauty of landing pages as a tool to market locally online is that multiple pages can be created for multiple local segments.

If you frequently serve a specific city, for example, you could create a landing page using keywords and key phrases that target each neighborhood and the subcultures within it.

Or, if your brand works on a county level, you could do the same for each city you serve.

Couple those with location-targeted social media posts or pay-per-click ads and you’ll get new audience exposure at a local level.

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Market Locally Online Using Text-Based Updates

Text message updates are making a huge surge in marketing locally online.

Through websites, you can now gather cell phone numbers and have messages automatically sent to them from your brand.

These messages could be updates about content on your website used in a way that replaces automated emails.

However, to use them to market locally online, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got texts focused on your local clients and bringing them to your door.

Just like an email list, you can segment your text message lists.

Focusing on those who live in your local vicinity, you can send messages that only locals would benefit from.

Perhaps a coupon that needs to be scanned off the mobile device.

Flash sales are always exciting for customers and leads.

And, of course, announcements about in-store events you’re holding or local activities your brand will participate in help concrete you as a local fixture.

In a way, your texts make your brand feel like their friend in the neighborhood.

Reaching out in this way is a little more personal and it helps develop another level of loyalty between your neighborhood and your brand.

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Knowing How To Market Locally Online Takes More Than Tactics

Developing a plan to market locally online requires you to understand more than what to do.

If you don’t understand why you’re doing it and how to make it work right, you can damage your local reputation fast.

That’s because you’re in front of your audience as a member of their local community.

But thanks to what you’ve learned today you can take full advantage of strategies to market locally online.

Focus on doing things the right way and your neighborhood will become your best friend.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards branding and content marketing for small business owners.