Slightly more than 50 percent of marketing expenditures will go toward hyperlocal promotion in 2014, projects Rick Robinson of hyperlocal marketing research provider Street Fight (Tweet This Stat!). Mobile phone marketing is driving this trend as local retailers seek new ways to capitalize on the ubiquity of smartphones. But the smartest way for retailers to use mobile phones is not by treating them as the latest shiny object and instead, as a new tool in their marketing strategy toolkits for attracting customers from your their own backyards.
Bill Lange of appointment-booking automation service Full Slate describes how his company uses hyperlocal tactics to generate more referrals, one of the best local marketing strategies for any business. Full Slate offers clients a month of credit for each referral who becomes a customer. Lange says customers get excited after receiving their first referral reward, motivating them to seek more. Local retailers can replicate this strategy by promoting referral rewards programs through tools such as digital coupons delivered to smartphones.
MyCorporation.com CEO Deborah Sweeney emphasizes that face-to-face networking remains a vital component of local marketing, even in a social-media-driven environment. She cites The Schapiro Group's findings that when customers know a business is active in the local Chamber of Commerce, its favorability rating rises 49 percent and the probability of a future purchase jumps 80 percent. The same strategy can be applied online by befriending other local businesses on social media.
Local networking creates opportunities for cross-promotional partnerships. For instance, the U.S. Small Business Administration suggests that local businesses can boost holiday sales by partnering with non-competing businesses to offer time-limited discounts off each others' products and services. Kare Anderson of Frugal Marketing outlines 19 variations on this strategy, including tactics as simple as printing promotional offers on the backs of receipts. Services such as GoLocal's Coupon Publishing tools can assist with implementing this strategy in a mobile environment.
If your target market resides in a well-defined area, direct mail can be an effective way to reach customers. A 2012 Direct Marketing Association study found that direct mail to existing customers pulls a response rate 30 times better than in-house email lists at a lower cost per lead. You can optimize the efficiency of your mailing campaign by using a service such as Printingforless.com, which offers an Every Door Direct Mail Program that leverages U.S. Postal Service discount rates.
According to U.S. Census data, 75 percent of purchases occur within 15 miles of consumers' homes (tweet this cool stat), a fact retailers are exploiting by shifting to mobile-oriented advertising tactics targeting near-store and in-store shoppers, explains Jeremy Geiger of Retailigence. Geiger says one of the best ways to leverage mobile ads is to combine product inventory data with location-based advertising, which instantly notifies shoppers of stores that stock brands they seek. Geiger recommends that mobile ads be designed so that once a shopper expresses interest by clicking, that shopper immediately receive a list of local vendors that carry that individual's preferred products and services.
Related: Learn more on the ins and out of online marketing
Author Bio: David Woods is marketing strategist, business grad, and fitness fanatic.