Now for today’s lesson: What is local internet marketing and why should you care? We’re programmed to play nationally and subscribe to the notion that “bigger is better.” (Take the national 30-second spot on American Idol, for example). While there’s clearly value in maintaining a national presence (for large corporations especially), this approach doesn’t necessarily make sense for businesses who conduct most of their activities within a smaller community. To engage at a national level, it has become increasingly competitive. Gaining traction within a local community can be a very powerful recipe for side-stepping fierce competition and growing sales and market share.
Take local search, for example. Historically, consumers relied on local newspapers, TV, and radio stations to find products and services. While traditional marketing mediums still work to a certain extent, most consumers now turn to search engines (and the web in general) to find local products and services. In recent years, the number of local searches online has grown rapidly while off-line information searches (such as print Yellow Page look-ups), have declined. As a natural consequence of this shift, smart local product and service providers have moved their marketing dollars from traditional off-line media to local search.
Let me provide another (more personal) example to drive the point home. There are 10 spots on the first page of Google’s search results. As a Vancouver-based online marketing consultant, I could spend thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to place for national keywords such as “marketing consultant” or “internet marketing services” but likely without much success. The competition is fierce for national keywords that targeted. Besides, I might start attracting clients from Timbuktu. I prefer to do business with local, Vancouver-based (and BC-based) companies. This just makes it easier for me to connect in person (or on the phone without a 20-hour time difference). If you Google “online marketing consultant Vancouver,” you can see that I show up on the first page of the search results (check out my blue scarf!) I’ve had more success engaging companies locally that I’ve had trying to go national. Each community has its own local tastes, local trends, local competitors, and local issues. I have a much better chance of being relevant locally and winning trust with a community that I am a part of than to venture into national waters.
Sophisticated online marketers of multi-national brands are wise to this and are moving in the direction of local marketing. For example:
- L’Oreal promoted its Vichy line using timeRAZOR, which is a mobile app to promote and schedule beauty consultations at Duane Reade locations in NY (this campaign led to a 150% increase in sales).
- Wal-mart introduced a Facebook app customizing marketing for over 3,600 U.S. locations, including a social billboard with details of sales, special product deals, and recipes. This is a smart local program to move Wal-mart closer to its many communities.
There’s no doubt that local marketing/local search will continue to be a part of a multi-faceted strategy for national marketers. It should also be on the radar for smaller companies. It’s what brands need to do to engage customers and grow. What are your thoughts? How do you engage potential clients within your community?
About The Author
Content brought to you by Tanya Roberts, a Vancouver-based online marketing consultant that specializes in slick content strategy to rock your website traffic, build your brand, gain leads, and increase sales. Tanya is an experienced marketer, copywriter/editor, freelance writer, internet/online marketing consultant, and social media specialist. You can also find Tanya on Google Plus. Results matter; here are a few of mine.