For most small businesses, all marketing is local marketing — as it should be. But even if your company is regional or national in scope, it's a good idea to "go local" to select, targeted communities.
The keys to effective community marketing can be summed up with three guidelines:
- Get local: target your marketing efforts down to the neighborhood level
- Get involved: participate in the community to generate visibility and good will
- Get personal: as much as possible, market on a one-to-one, face-to-face basis
Use local city-specific Web sites and local portalsCity and town Web sites, as well as local versions of major portals, are growing in number and popularity. Maintain a presence on local sites by providing content — or by advertising.
Use local search engines and directoriesMake sure you're listed with local search engines and city-specific directories.
Set your Google ad to appear locallyIf you operate a local business and advertise on Google, you can target local customers only
Get involved in your communityVolunteer, serve on local boards, participate in your local Chamber of Commerce and work for local charities as a way to grow your grassroots marketing efforts. You may find that your neighbors become your customers.
Support community eventsTake your community involvement one step further by supporting community events. Sponsor a Little League team, participate in parades, town days or other local events.
Make the most of local media and publicity opportunitiesGenerate awareness for your business locally by writing op-eds in the local newspaper, getting booked on local radio talk shows, and advertising in the good, old-fashioned Yellow Pages.
- Other local marketing options to keep in mind…
- Explore cause-related marketing opportunities to generate good will for your company.
- Consider taping a TV show on your local public access station — it's usually free.
- Give your Web site or blog a local focus or start a local blog.
- Develop a customer advisory board to get input from local customers.
- Create alliances with non-competing businesses — you promote me, I'll promote you.