New Year, New Local Digital Marketing Strategy: How Brands Can Start Closer To Home
The impending year is a great time to rethink your marketing strategy. Though there is a lot of mileage in going global with your marketing, brands should also make the most of local opportunities. Whether it’s community initiatives, local events, or hyper-personalised retargeting — getting up close and personal with your customers can give your brand a real boost. Find your brand advocates close to home and use their influence to launch yourself to a wider audience. Here’s how to get started in the New Year.
Why go local
In today’s fragmented world, local digital marketing is more important than ever. Why?
In essence, it all comes down to creating bridge between your brand and its customers. By being more vocal in your local area, you will make a name for yourself as an influencer and a brand worth investing in.
Go local because...
- People are more engaged with their local communities
- People buy with their hearts
- People are interested in provenance & quality
- People like to invest in and partner with local talent.
Convenience for the consumer
Ecommerce means we can access goods from anywhere — but people don’t want to wait around for their parcels. Making the most of short turnaround times in your local area can help coax people away from big marketplaces like Amazon. Ordering ahead, collection points, and special deals that are only served to local customers thanks to geo-targeting can help keep people interested.
People carry small, powerful computers with them everywhere they go — they expect everything to be happening right here, right now. They want seamless experiences that connect their local area with wider, global events. Make the most of this ‘glocal’ connectivity and bring both local and global together in your content campaigns — why not use AR and overlay Star Wars characters over local points of interest? Or create an interactive guide featuring local businesses for foreign exchange students who are new to the area? It’s all about shifting your focus from the micro to macro and satisfying both.
Review your local search efforts
Local searches, especially on mobile, are commercially important and tend to convert well. Brands that are not making the most of local search are missing out on potential traffic and revenue. Here is how you can make it happen for your brand:
- Structured data can help your business rank in a more comprehensive way (including getting into more featured & rich snippets). It’s all about marking up your site with as much data as possible, including locations, opening times, features, pricing etc.
- Well-written, locally-inspired content, supported by comprehensive assets like maps and infographics give your site strong relevancy signals
- Local PR & link building campaigns — links with local relevance and authority are more powerful. One powerful, local link with high levels of relevance and authority can blow 50 generic links out of the water.
Make sure that your site doesn’t become a ‘skeleton’ site that just cheaply mentions localities, but that it functions as a real local resource. Consumers and search engines will be able to tell a real site from a dud a mile off.
Transcreate, don’t translate
If you are a business that operates in multiple localities and has multiple ‘homes’, you need to work hard to ensure that your digital brand and footprint reflect the different aspects of these areas. Dynamic transcreation will help ensure that your content and designs are culturally appropriate at all times.
Cultural faux-pas aside, if your site reads like a bland brochure, then you will be in trouble. Your users will struggle to make a ‘real’ connection with you and will go elsewhere to someone who speaks their language.
It’s an idea to hire talented local copywriters who can help spruce up your marketing collateral and digital brand. Being locally relevant is so much more than just superficial name-dropping...
Rather than courting people with thousands of followers, focus on micro-influencers who have built smaller, more engaged communities around themselves. Working with ‘smaller’ influencers means you will get more for your money, and your collaboration won’t be drowned in a sea of advertorials.
- Hashtags on Twitter and Instagram will help you find people with local clout and the right interests. Approach them with a sponsorship offer, but be careful with your approach. It’s all about respect and consideration.
- You need to be wary of people monetising their community too hard, or too early on. Some sites parading as ‘legitimate’ local resources can actually be quite spammy. Do your homework before you agree to anything.
Events, whether you’re attending or hosting, are a great vehicle for digital marketing — they always generate a lot of online chatter.
The people who rise to the level of influencers, are the ones who are best at creating communities. If you work hard at connecting other people, you will be well on your way to being remembered for all the right reasons.
- Hosting events is a great way to bring people together, and it’s the perfect way to connect with online contacts IRL. If you work with influencers like bloggers on a regular basis, why not host a meetup? Brand it up for the bloggers in your city and make the most of the local hotspots. This is a fantastic way to generate PR and media interest in your brand, without having to invest in a huge national ad campaign.
- Attending events is also a great way to support your local community. Take your notebook and camera with you, and document the event as it unfolds. This will help you capitalise on the media interest generated by the event. Events can be fruitful when combined with a CRM and sales funnel, but don’t overdo it and try to hard-sell to everyone you met.
Leveraging local social media
Marketplaces and Facebook groups are increasingly becoming places for informal exchanges of knowledge, content, and goods. Not that many brands are making the most of these local social spaces yet, so there is plenty of untapped potential here.
Why not start experimenting with some messenger marketing, offering local discount codes as part of an introductory campaign? Or, go into some relevant groups and start engaging with the community by asking questions?
Local areas tend to have lively Twitter chats or Facebook groups — find the social media hotspots for your area, and start making an effort by engaging with the online community.
Being more locally-minded is an exercise in connecting with your audience more deeply. Don’t go chasing after farway deals until you have made the most of what you’ve got at home.