The Value of Marketing for Local Businesses: 4 Tips for a Smart Marketing Strategy
Dec 10, 2020Alyson Phillips
3 minute read
From the outside looking in, successful marketing can look like a work of magic. It’s easy, after all, to create a marketing campaign that fails to meet its goals, and ends up costing more than the value it generated for your business.
If that’s happened to your business before—or if you’re a new company that hasn’t made its first foray into marketing yet—then the task of building a marketing campaign can be overwhelming, not to mention intimidating. When it comes to spending real money to fund marketing strategies, small businesses want to know that those efforts are going to bring back value in the form of increased brand awareness, new customers and higher revenues.
Fortunately for local businesses, the best marketing campaigns aren’t the ones with the deepest pockets. Instead, these campaigns succeed because they understand their customers’ needs, build brand trust, and manage their marketing budget wisely to maximize their overall return on investment (ROI).
Want to create this value for your own local marketing efforts? Use these tips to shape a successful marketing strategy.
1. USE MESSAGING THAT SPEAKS DIRECTLY TO CUSTOMER PAIN POINTS
The foundation of any successful marketing strategy starts with understanding the needs and wants of your customers. By paying attention to what your customers are wanting from you, or what problems they’re facing that your business can solve, you can develop a marketing strategy that delivers relevant messaging to these consumers—and positions your brand as the solution they’ve been looking for.
A local tax accountant, for example, might notice that their existing customer base is confused about how recent changes to tax law might affect what they owe at the end of the year. In that case, the accountant’s marketing messaging can focus on validating that sense of confusion and explaining how their tax prep services can guide clients through these tax changes, making sure all tax breaks and benefits are accounted for.
Customers are interested in how local businesses can resolve pain points and fulfill specific needs. By speaking directly to those needs, your business marketing will stand a better chance of grabbing the consumer’s attention and convincing them to reach out.
2. SHARE (SOME OF) YOUR EXPERTISE FREE OF CHARGE
Whether you run a dentist office, a home services business, a financial company, or any other kind of local business, you have expertise that can benefit your customers—and demonstrating this knowledge can be a great way to establish your credentials and build brand awareness among local consumers.
For a dentist office, this can include blog posts, videos, social media content and email newsletters that offer practical tips regarding oral hygiene. Financial companies, meanwhile, might offer basic explanations of money-saving strategies and other tips to improve money management.
Some businesses worry that sharing this knowledge may convince customers that they don’t need to pay for professional services. In reality, the opposite is true: Marketing that shares knowledge and improves local trust of your business will convince local consumers to follow your business online, turn to your professionals whenever they have questions, and hire your services when they need a professional’s help.
3. FOCUS MARKETING EFFORTS ON YOUR LOCAL AUDIENCE
One of the biggest wastes of marketing resources comes when businesses don’t focus their marketing to a specific geographic region. Location-based targeting is one of the easiest ways to restrict your marketing spending so that marketing campaigns only engage consumers within the geographic radius you believe offers the highest potential ROI.
A local auto shop, for example, might notice that its current customer base all lives within three miles of the business. This offers a natural boundary to restrict your marketing campaigns: based on your customer data, there’s little potential value in marketing to customers who live 10 miles away, and who are more likely to choose an auto shop closer to their home.
You can also optimize your location-based marketing by claiming and updating your Google Business listing, updating your business info—including operating hours and contact info—on Yelp and other directories, and targeting marketing campaigns by other location-based filters, such as ZIP codes. Even if your business has long-term goals of expanding its service area, it makes sense to focus your marketing efforts on high-value prospects nearby, with an option to expand out even further as your marketing drives results.
4. PRIORITIZE MARKETING TACTICS THAT OFFER THE HIGHEST ROI
Local business marketing can take a lot of different forms. For a lot of businesses, it might not make sense to start out by using every marketing option available all at once. Instead, a more realistic use of your marketing budget might focus your marketing strategy across a handful of tactics that you believe offers the highest potential ROI.
If you’ve found early success in generating leads and customers through paid social media marketing, for example, then it might make sense to increase spending on these campaigns, instead of expanding your marketing tactics and/or continuing to invest into less-successful options.
As you gain experience in marketing your small business, performance analytics will help you identify trends in your marketing performance that you can use to optimize your current strategy—and maybe apply lessons from one campaign across other existing branded campaigns. If you’re starting small with your marketing strategy, use these efforts to gain intelligence about the strategies you’re using, and leverage that intelligence to increase the value and ROI of your marketing efforts.
No matter where you start with marketing your local business, the good news is that marketing performance and value tend to increase over time. As you gain experience with small business marketing, you’ll discover new strategies and best practices that increase the value of these efforts—and turn these campaigns into a crucial source of revenue for your business.
Looking for a partner to help you build a successful marketing strategy? Contact us today.
About the Author
Alyson is the Director of Marketing at Cox Media’s corporate offices in Atlanta. With a background in journalism and over a decade of experience in brand marketing, she has a passion for connecting brands to their customers through powerful storytelling. In her role, she’s responsible for amplifying the Cox Media brand in the communities we serve nationwide – whether through advertising, thought leadership, or the customer experience. When she’s not working, she’s chasing around her twin toddlers and spending as much time outdoors as possible.View All of Alyson's Blogs