Modern marketing has fallen into the same traps as our pseudo-genuine social interactions — everything nowadays is carried out from behind a screen. Marketing automation platforms and social media ads have altered the way marketers do their jobs. But for the same reason a physical letter is so powerful, so too are more traditional, targeted, community-driven forms of marketing. After all, sales are still won in the hearts and minds of your buyer. That hasn’t changed and never will.
The advent of digital marketing is exactly what makes a traditional approach so powerful. Consumers are inundated with detached digital advertising. Why not go old school and spice up your marketing program with something personalized? Why not do the equivalent of the physical letter and launch a local marketing program?
So what is local marketing? Local marketing is any initiative bound to a specific community (and no, targeting a generic Facebook ad by location doesn’t count). “Community” is the operative word here — tailoring your message and your marketing to a particular group, be it a city, a neighborhood, or a region. It ought to be focused around where your ideal buyer lives and carries out his or her day-to-day activities.
What might a local marketing initiative look like? It could be anything tied to the culture and happenings of that community — hosting a charity 5k, sponsoring a local youth sports team, commissioning public art, starting a fundraiser, or putting on a free concert. The idea is to associate your brand with something unique and memorable in that community. The opportunities for creative ideas are endless.
Most importantly, what’s the value of local marketing to my business? Why not spend my budget on the familiar channels like social media, email, content, or advertising? Let’s cover a few reasons:
- Local marketing is a welcomed form of advertising – Local marketing has the magical property of being wanted. Modern digital and inbound marketers like to think their strategies are non-interruptive, but that hardly means their buyer wants to see what they’re advertising. A social media ad or thinly veiled blog post will still have a majority of your buyers rolling their eyes. Local marketing is the purest form of wanted marketing. Your buyers are excited to see your brand name, have an immediate positive association, and are blown away by your community-oriented approach. Imagine a group of parents who see your brand name on the backs of their kid’s jerseys at every practice and every game. They are well aware that your sponsorship is the reason their kid gets to play. Again, it’s the same feeling you get when you receive a handwritten letter, but on a market-wide scale.
- Local marketing generates goodwill – Many of the local marketing techniques outlined above have a socially-conscious component. The benefit here should be obvious: by establishing your brand as one that gives back to the community, you win major goodwill points and brand equity within the market. The downstream effects on your brand’s success in that market can be huge.
- Local marketing is a great expansion technique, especially in hostile markets – For an organization attempting to break into a new market, a local marketing campaign is the perfect beachhead. This is especially true of a market that might perceive your brand as invasive and trying to displace local establishments. As we have stated, there is no better way to establish goodwill and win the hearts of a market than a community-oriented local marketing campaign. Put money towards a charity event or youth sports team, and you’ll do wonders for your perception in the community. Be the brand that assimilates to the community and gives back from day one.
- Local marketing ROI > Digital marketing ROI – Many of our customers have been blown away by the ROI they have seen by putting money into local marketing. What type of ROI are we talking about? The same type you use to measure digital campaigns. We track number of leads generated, amount of emails captured, and ultimately each client’s increase in sales. Local marketing doesn’t just have to be about increasing brand awareness; it’s also about getting a tangible ROI.
So next time you’re knee deep in budget planning and trying to decide what type of social media campaign to run, think about the last handwritten letter you received. Ask yourself, “Are we connecting with our customers?”, “Are we effectively expanding to new regions?”, and “Do people love our brand?”. If any of those answers are no, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your digital marketing plan and start focusing more on local marketing.