When a business cannot capture its immediate local market, what does that say about it? If your restaurant is not being supported by the locals, do you expect people from far-flung areas to come and visit it? They are going to look at the locals’ response to your business. If they don’t see your shop or restaurant bursting on the seams with locals, how will they know you are worth a visit? Your local market speaks much about the quality of the products and services you offer than any other kind of marketing and advertising strategy.
Simply put, a good marketing strategy to reach new audiences relies on a great buy-local technique. Making sure that you are the “choice” of your local market encourages others to check out what you have to offer, too. But capturing the local audience is as much effort as expanding your business to other areas. Here’s how you can do it:
Find Your Voice
Who are you as a business? What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve? Local businesses have a unique voice compared to big supermarkets and mall chains. Small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans can and should target families of servicemen. But more than them, these businesses can also expand their reach by maximizing their core strength—the message that they have been of service to the people, and they, more than big capitalists, deserve their hard-earned dollars.
You need to find what makes your business unique or why your audience should choose it over the others. If your corporate social responsibility is to the environment, then target environmentalists, vegetarians, vegans, and others whose advocacies have something to do with the sustainability of natural resources. Of course, when you begin to target them, they will also be your unofficial spokespeople. They are going to recommend your business to their peers.
Localize Your Website
You know the importance of optimizing your website for search engines, but do you know about localizing it? Localizing your website means using the actual names of places in your metadata. You should also look at the local terms being searched for you in a particular locality. Use Google Analytics and Google Trends for this. Is there a particular issue in your area? You can incorporate that issue into your strategy.
The more you optimize your website locally, the more likely it is that the local market will notice it. Another thing you should do is to create and claim your Google My Business (GMB) page. When people search for your business’ products and services, the GMB listings will be the first to appear on their results. Make sure that your company is the first on the list.
Integrate Your Business Into the Local Market
Your business has no way of capturing the local audience if it doesn’t integrate itself into the community. How can you encourage the local market to buy locally when they don’t even know you exist? A local business’ relationship with its local market should be personal. It should be based on personal knowledge of that business—the people behind it, their business activities, and the goals it is trying to achieve.
The first step is to join and sponsor local events and communities. Don’t just put up a poster there. Make sure you attend the event. Ask your employees to do the same. Community engagement starts from a personal experience with the business. If your market cannot remember interacting with you, don’t expect them to suddenly start supporting you.
Partner With Other Local Businesses
Why not start a buy-local campaign in your area? You can partner with other local businesses for this endeavor. Coming together is a powerful tool to raise awareness about the products and services that you can offer. These alliances multiply the reach of all the businesses in the campaign. You can “share” the market. You can even work with your direct competitors.
The thing about working with other local businesses is you can co-sponsor events. This reduces the burden on you. Having someone else’s staff and finances shoulder part of the expenses will allow you to jumpstart more campaigns.
When you start with your local market, you have more opportunities to introduce your business outside of it. Many local marketing strategies are free and simple to implement. It doesn’t take a genius to recognize the opportunities traditional and modern advertising methods present to businesses. All you have to do is maximize everything at your disposal.