Local marketing is the ultimate lead generation strategy for local businesses (i.e. those who get a majority of their customers from within a 75-mile radius).
It’s making sure that anything you do, both on and offline, promotes your business in a way that encourages members of your community to either visit your brick-and-mortar location, buy from your website or have you come out for a service call.
We’ve previously discussed how to lay some groundwork for local marketing, so in this post, we’re going to dive into how you craft and implement a local marketing strategy.
Local Marketing Strategy Defined – What is it?
As you probably know, internet searches are increasingly being done on mobile devices — and this is a great thing for local business and home services providers. For example,
- Roughly one-third of all mobile Google searches are related to location (Source: Google)
- 50 percent of “near me” mobile searches result in a store visit (Source: Google)
- Of the people who search for local businesses, 72 percent end up visiting stores within five miles (Source: Forbes)
- 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours. (Source: Google)
When people are shopping on the go, they want things done now.
Local marketing is a strategy that businesses can use to increase their visibility, both on the web and around their community, to local customers at the exact time they’re looking for relevant products and services. For the customer, the appeal of shopping local is a sense of immediacy (rather than having to wait for items to ship) and a guarantee that your business serves their area.
Getting Started with Your Local Marketing Strategy
Local marketing is not a one-and-done sort of deal. Rather, it’s built upon a strong base of clear and accurate business information and uses an array of specialized marketing practices to continually reinforce and grow your brand’s reputation in your local service area.
There are four main phases in implementing a local marketing strategy.
1. Analyze Your Current Situation
The first step is to take a good look at your current standing in your local service area. You need to examine what you’ve been doing to promote your business, what’s been getting results and what hasn’t.
During this step, look at any available data to help avoid making assumptions and be honest with how things are working. You don’t want to waste any more time with ineffective or misguided marketing practices that you might be following out of habit.
2. Identify SMART Goals
Once you have a sense of what needs to change, the next step is to figure out SMART goals for what you want to accomplish with your local marketing strategy. The acronym SMART stands for:
- Specific — Marketing goals should be clear and specific, otherwise you won’t be able to focus your efforts. Answer the “w questions” of who, what, when, where, which and why.
- Measurable — Decide what metrics you are going to use to determine if you successfully met the goal.
- Achievable — Figure out how you’ll accomplish your marketing goal and if you have the necessary tools and skills (or what it would take to attain them).
- Relevant — Make sure that each goal supports your broader marketing strategy and aligns with your business plan.
- Time-Bound — Figure out what you can realistically accomplish with a set period and focus on meeting that deadline.
An example SMART goal would be something like confirming that your business NAP information (name, address, and phone number) is accurate and consistently formatted on your website, your social media pages, and your Google business profile within the next week.
3. Identify & Weigh New Opportunities within Your Means
Once you’ve developed your SMART goals, the next step is to put them in order. Things to consider include your budget, your employees, the level of skill involved, as well as the expected length of time it will take for the goal to start providing results. Some goals will take a longer time to come to fruition whereas others are more immediate.
First, decide which goals are the absolute musts — the one that could have an immediate huge impact or that you must accomplish to continue your success. After that, go for the easy goals that will only take a few minutes to accomplish.
Prioritize the remaining goals according to what you currently have the resources to accomplish and which ones need more groundwork.
4. Build Your Plan Using Paid vs. Free Tactics
The next step is to flesh out your local marketing strategy with tactics. These are the tools and methods you’ll use to put your plan into action. Here’s a list of tried and true tactics for promoting your home services business in a local market:
- Website Structure — Make sure your website data is structured using a local schema. It should feature prominent mentions of your local service area, such as specific city, neighborhood or even street names. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly! Research shows that if they have a positive brand experience on mobile, 89% of people are likely to recommend that brand (Source: Google)
- Local SEO — Improve your organic search results ranking by regularly creating and publishing highly relevant content with location signals. Look for opportunities for local involvement that you can post about on your blog and social media.
- Pro-tip: This should be one of the goals you prioritize. Local SEO is a long-term tactic so don’t expect immediate results. However, improving your search result rankings will pay off big for your business in the future.
- Business Listings — Claim your business on popular local business listings websites to make your brand more visible to potential customers. Claiming your business listings also works to associate your business with a specific address and location, which can help improve your local SEO.
- Google My Business — Verify your profile on Google My Business (GMB). Make sure the listing is complete, consistent and accurate (service areas, service list, photos, videos, name, address, phone number, etc.) A joint study by Google and Oxera revealed that businesses with a verified GMB listing are two times as likely to be considered reputable by consumers (Source: Google)
- Nextdoor — Create a Nextdoor business page and start connecting with (and get recommended by) neighbors who are actively looking for businesses like yours.
- Yelp — Make sure you are in control of your Yelp listing and that you respond quickly to comments. These exchanges can act as powerful social proof that you care about your customers.
- Social Media — Use social media to connect with people in your local area. Include local keywords and tag locations in your content. Make it clear that you’re a member of the community you’re serving.
- Pro-tip: Avoid making a hard sell on social. The focus should be on creating genuine engagements as a means of increasing brand awareness.
- Online Reviews — Ask your customers for feedback and train your staff to effectively respond to both positive and negative reviews. Share positive reviews across your social media and marketing content to showcase what’s great about your brand.
- Google Ads — Get the most out of your pay-per-click ads by using local keywords, such as city name, into the headlines and ad copy. Link your Google Ads account to your GMB account so that your ads can also feature your star rating.
- Pro-tip: Utilize location and call extensions to help people connect directly with your business from the ad.
- Google Local Service Ads — Apply for this program if it’s available in your area! Once accepted, Google “guarantees” your business and your ads are shown at the very top of the page for highly relevant searches.
- Facebook Ads — Target people in your service area who are interested in the types of projects that might require your services (such as a house renovation).
- Pro-tip: Use Facebook Leads ads to make it easy for people interested in your services to immediately send you a request from inside Facebook.
- Offline marketing like Billboards, Radio, TV, Home Shows — These old-school marketing methods can help make your brand visible to people in your area and can be particularly effective for networking with the movers-and-shakers in your community. Hand out flyers, participate in local events, offer local press your expertise in topics related to your business.
Local Marketing Strategy Examples
Here are some examples of what happened when some of our clients put these tactics into practice:
- One of our clients, a roofer in Virginia, started from scratch. After identifying SMART goals for what they wanted to get out of their advertising spend, they decided to refocus their Google Ads — resulting in a 30% conversion rate with a $64 CPL.
- Another client, an HVAC contractor, saw a 12.52 percent increase in leads YoY (2018-2019) after verifying their Google My Business page, generating phone calls from Google Ads and investing in optimizing their website and business listings.
Local Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses
Creating an effective local marketing strategy for your small business doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. Sometimes it’s just a matter of readjusting things a bit. What’s important is that you:
- Develop a plan that the whole company has bought into that you know that you can implement. This allows you to have a clear path when it comes to making marketing decisions.
- Talk with all of your employees about the importance of being consistent and sticking to the plan.
- Create accountability by making sure that you provide the necessary support to see the plan through and that each person in the company/team understands their role and expectations.
- Make sure you have a way to measure and analyze performance. No plan is complete without a way to figure out what’s working and what’s not.
- Put the plan into action. Now that you have the data you need to make informed decisions, you can begin to fine-tune to drive better results. Experiment with the different tools and tactics we’ve discussed, measure the results and hone in on the best combination for your business.
Following the above steps will ensure that you’ll develop an effective local marketing strategy that serves your unique business needs.
Other Local Marketing Strategy Ideas
If you’re already on your way with implementing a local marketing strategy, here are some bonus ideas to help you take things to the next level.
Consider using software to streamline and automate things.
Automating routine marketing tasks frees up time so you can focus more on running your business. It also allows you to gather data to measure the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts and concentrate on the actions that drive the results you want.
Engage possible partnerships/associations within your local service areas.
Find ways to partner up with other businesses in your area that share a cross-section of similar clientele. Building these types of partnerships helps you reach a broader market segment and professional referrals go a long way in local markets.
Be hungry to learn or partner with those that are “in the know” with local marketing.
For small businesses in the home services industry, finding a reliable source of relevant marketing information is vital. You don’t want to waste time and money on marketing tactics that don’t apply to your business needs. Find a partner who knows what works and provides the knowledge and tools to make your marketing work more efficiently.
Get a Demo
Surefire Local Marketing Platform makes it easy to take control of your online presence, execute hyper-local digital marketing, manage your online reviews, communicate with your leads and customers, and gain visibility into marketing channels that are driving business!
Learn more at surefirelocal.com or call 866-465-9080 to talk with one of our local marketing experts.