The digital revolution has expanded our reach to all corners of the globe, but local still reigns supreme. Search engine and social media users continue to prioritize local results, which promise greater relevance and convenience. This is true not only in service-oriented industries but also in retail and a variety of other fields. Today’s appetite for geographic relevance can best be satisfied through local marketing, which allows you to reach target audiences and produce impressive conversions while keeping spending to a minimum.
What Is Local Marketing?
As its name suggests, the term ‘local marketing’ refers to any effort to reach new leads — but on a local basis. This strategy assumes that your customers will respond better to local brands if they have the chance to learn about you in the first place. While local marketing methods can encompass ‘traditional’ media such as print or events, the term has, in recent years, primarily been used to highlight marketing efforts that take place online but are targeted at a local audience. Localization already plays a significant role in how visible your business is in search results on Google. During the Secrets of Local Search conference at GoogleHQ, an official Google representative revealed that 46 percent of searches now hold local intent. The concept of local has recently expanded to include hyperlocal searches, in which your customers will specifically seek out businesses situated within a certain mile radius of their current location. These searches tend to produce more qualified leads and higher conversion rates, as users demonstrate clear intent to act on their queries. Digital local marketing may involve a variety of platforms, including local search market listings and top social media sites, among others. Something you’ll have to consider is how to combine strategies in such a way to achieve the greatest possible online reach.
Building Your Local Marketing Budget
Local marketing is vital to the long-term growth of your business, especially in an age of hyperlocal search, but definite challenges exist to getting started. Chief among them? The ease with which your business can overspend on local marketing efforts. With so many platforms and paid search options available, it’s easy to let spending reach excess levels in short order if you’re not constantly monitoring and adjusting. Budgetary restraints should be imposed to ensure that the cost per acquisition remains reasonable. It’s important to understand from the get-go that not every marketing effort is guaranteed to pan out, nor are the leads that local campaigns generate…just like any other initiative. If, however, careful budgeting tactics are utilized, your business can secure a steady stream of new leads without compromising limited resources. In many ways, the process of building and maintaining a local marketing budget looks like that required for virtually any budget. Detailed goals, objectives, and milestones are critical, as they deliver both accountability and momentum. Creative solutions should be employed when possible to maximize seemingly limited budgets while making steady progress towards targeted goals.
Plan and Set Goals, Objectives, and Milestones
Every successful marketing initiative begins with a plan. Clear goals should form the basis of your digital marketing blueprint. What, exactly, do you intend to accomplish through local marketing? How will you know when you’ve reached your goals? Be as specific as possible; quantifiable goals will help you remain accountable throughout the duration of your campaign, while also making it easier to determine cost per acquisition and other key metrics. If you’ve already developed sales goals or an overarching marketing plan, take a closer look at broad goals or mission statements to determine how they can be applied to your local marketing efforts. From there, specific objectives can be set while remaining in line with already existing goals. While local marketing goals can vary dramatically from one business to the next, the following themes you’ll want to consider are:
- Boosting website traffic.
- Improving social media engagement.
- Acquiring a specific number of new leads.
- Turning website visitors or leads into conversions.
- Generating more 5-star reviews..
Once you’ve established relevant goals, determine which objectives will help you reach them. Essentially, objectives form the actionable steps needed to bridge the gap between your current status and your target numbers. When determining objectives, consider where top leads, customers, or clients will be generated. Keep your target market in mind, as well as the geographic breadth of current marketing initiatives. Milestones are equally important, as they let you know when you’ve reached key objectives…and have cause to celebrate. These small achievements provide a powerful reminder of your forward momentum and encourage you to continue making progress, even when the going gets tough.
Keep Your Budget in Mind As You Build Your Local Marketing Plan
Now that you’ve established clear goals and objectives, you can move forward with developing a local marketing plan tailored to your intended outcomes. Your local marketing budget should play a central role in determining which marketing options form the bulk of your efforts. If, for example, you’re dealing with a limited budget and the need for qualified leads who will produce specific types of conversions, a targeted email campaign may be your best bet. If, however, you’re primarily interested in building brand awareness, paid campaigns on search engine and social media platforms could prove more effective. In most cases, online marketing platforms offer the most cost-effective initiatives for small businesses with limited resources. Top options include:
- Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
- Local platforms such as Google My Business and Bing Places for Business
- Paid advertising options such as Google Ads or Microsoft Advertising
Depending on your budget and your goals, you may primarily focus on a single platform or expand your strategy to include multiple local marketing initiatives. When in doubt, focus on efforts that appeal to your target audience, match your objectives, and promise the best possible ROI.
Maximize Your Local Marketing Budget
Today’s diverse world of marketing allows any brand with limited resources to make a clear impact. While a strong investment in local marketing can produce impressive results, it’s more than possible to succeed on a small budget. Ultimately, it comes down to targeted decisions, as it’s challenging to maintain a real presence on every platform when dealing with limited funds.
Define your target audience First, it helps to know which channels are most likely to resonate with your target audience. Consider not only key demographics, but also, how they relate to your long-term marketing goals. Certain platforms may consistently produce traffic, but not necessarily the right traffic. An increased volume of website visitors will matter little if such initially positive results fail to produce conversions and long-term customers.
Focus on Google My Business Some platforms are almost universally beneficial among businesses courting local customers. Chief among them: Google My Business. This helpful tool from Google grants search engine users a valuable first impression of your business while also making it easier for them to learn more about you without a heavy investment on their part. Perhaps the greatest benefit of Google My Business? Expanded search visibility. A panel situated above the site’s organic and paid listings highlights the top three businesses matching a given local search. Scoring a spot among these top three will dramatically increase the likelihood of scoring both clicks and conversions. Currently free of charge, Google My Business arguably delivers the best ROI among today’s top local marketing strategies.
Understand the value of social media Social media strategies are also worth examining, although cost comparisons can prove far more complicated. While creating and updating a page on Facebook or other sites may technically be free, paid ads often prove necessary for actually connecting with leads. Budgets for these ads can vary dramatically based on selected audiences and advertising objectives. Timing should also be considered, as significant effort may be required to build a strong presence on social media. Not all businesses can spare the time needed to continually post new content, monitor metrics, and keep up with social media trends.
Explore Google Ads and Google Local Service Ads While low-budget tactics are worth considering, more expensive prospects may also prove worthwhile if they produce an exceptionally high ROI while keeping time investments to a minimum. The perfect example? Google Local Service Ads. Catering to specific industries, this highly targeted option delivers qualified leads that are far more likely to convert than users idly searching Google. This valuable platform employs a pay-per-lead model, with costs ranging based on verticals and local markets. Unfortunately, Google Local Service Ads are not available for all industries. Those unable to take advantage of this valuable service should instead look to Google Ads, which can easily be customized based on specific budgetary concerns. If properly optimized, Google Ads can deliver impressive results. This multi-faceted approach includes several options, including, most notably, the ability to “go global or stay local.” Budget caps can be established to ensure that your campaign effectively utilizes available resources without spending in excess.
Positive Outcomes That Accompany Proper Budgeting
Outcome #1: More and better quality leads If you employ a proactive approach when budgeting for your local marketing campaign, your business can enjoy an impressive ROI. Increases in quality leads are especially likely in the aftermath of an effective marketing initiative. A Georgia-based roofing company, for example, increased leads by a whopping 173 percent. These impressive results were achieved by refocusing budgetary priorities to emphasize the channels that consistently produced the best results. Outcome #2: Increased revenue In addition to scoring impressive new volumes of leads, a renewed emphasis on budgeting could lead to dramatic increases in revenue. Instead of haphazardly earmarking resources for less-than-impressive initiatives, strict budgeting increases the likelihood of using each and every marketing dollar wisely. Over time, this produces greater results on a lesser budget. In another inspiring example of budgeting success, a Georgia-based roofing company achieved a 20 percent year over year increase in revenue, made possible via improved visibility into marketing activities and investments. Outcome #3: Greater ROI In general, budgeting allows your business to do more with less while making significant progress towards your most ambitious local marketing goals. While ideal solutions may differ between businesses, all can benefit from a strategic approach that emphasizes the best possible use of every marketing dollar. Greater insight into your digital presence could make all the difference as you strive for greater local marketing ROI. The Surefire Local Marketing Platform could prove invaluable for leveling up your local marketing efforts while also helping you maintain strict control over your budget. Contact us today to arrange for a platform demo and a complimentary analysis of your current digital presence.