How to Build a Localized Marketing Strategy as a Startup

As a startup owner, you have a lot on your plate. One of the biggest tasks on your to-do list is marketing, which can make or break your business. Up to 85% of business owners depend on word-of-mouth marketing, but there’s more you can do than rely on what your neighbors are saying around town. Local businesses can build out a framework for a localized marketing strategy to attract new customers and help retain old ones.

What is local marketing?
Before you build a local marketing strategy, it’s important to understand what it is in the first place. Local marketing, also known as “neighborhood marketing,” is a way to optimize your website and online advertising to help boost awareness and foot traffic. 

This kind of marketing has been popularized by Google’s algorithm that utilizes a searcher’s location to show businesses in the user’s specific area.

What are the ways to focus on localized marketing?

Optimize your site with keywords

If you’re a customer looking for a plumber in your local area, you’d likely use the search terms, “plumber” + “your city”. In order to capitalize on these types of user searches, you can create location-specific pages and posts to capture local search engine traffic. 

You could also use Google autosuggest to help guide you toward what keywords you should be aiming for. More users are beginning to use voice-activated search to navigate the internet, so search terms might need to be more “natural-sounding” as a result. For businesses, this means you’ll need to incorporate long-tail keywords.


Engage with locals on social media

If you don’t have social media pages for your business yet, it’s a good idea to set them up on all the major platforms: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Engagement with users on social media can help your business in a multitude of ways.

First and foremost, you can tailor your social media toward local interests and use hyper-local keywords in your bios, posts, and hashtags. Within your social media posts, you can reach out to local customers and find ways to start a conversation with them.

Social media can also provide an extended channel for customer support. Customers with issues or questions can get their needs resolved with a quick private message.

Sponsor or get involved with local events

One of the easiest ways to build traction around your business is by participating in local events like contests or festivals. If your business has the capital, you can even sponsor the event. This is a great way to meet local community members and other business owners. You can build brand awareness and become more involved in your neighborhood. 


Take advantage of local business listings

Many small businesses fail to claim their Google My Business page, which is a serious missed opportunity. Make sure you claim your page and update it to reflect accurate details including your business name, phone number, address, directions, hours, and a working link to your website. It’s also a good idea to add inviting photos to your Google My Business page as well. 

Besides Google My Business, you should also claim your website on the Apple Maps listing page and on Bing Places.


Get testimonials from locals

Local testimonials can help your local business website get a boost in rankings. Most customers use online reviews to figure out whether or not to buy from a company. The issue here, of course, is actually getting people to publish their reviews.

Most people won’t leave a review unless they have a negative experience. With that said, it’s important to try and still obtain those helpful, positive reviews. Make sure that you create different spaces for customers to leave reviews for your products or services. For example, you can advertise a QR code leading to Google reviews at your place of business. You can also send follow-up emails to customers with links to your review page on your website. 

After you’ve gotten several reviews, you can publish positive reviews on your website to highlight customer experiences with your business. 


Consider a loyalty program

Do you have a stream of regular customers? Reward them for their loyalty with a loyalty program. Loyalty programs can be loyalty cards, punch cards, or other sign-up systems that deliver a discount or free service or product for returning customers.

Tell your story

As a local business, you can stand apart from overly corporate national brands. A good founding story gives your business human interest and can create buzz. You can tell your company story in online videos, blog posts, or even TV ads if you have the budget for it.

If you’re from the area where your business is located, emphasize the connection to your local community with photographs and stories about your upbringing. 


Use email campaigns

Sending out targeted marketing emails is one of the easiest ways to encourage customers to use your business. You should start a local email list by requesting emails from local customers – don’t forget to ask permission to send them relevant communications, too. Instead of using these emails as generic newsletters, send specific discounts that encourage customers to engage with your company. You can even send them special discount codes or previews for upcoming sales to build up awareness.


Partner with another business

One of the best ways to increase your company’s reach is by partnering with another business. Partnering with a like minded company can help expand your business reach and boost your bottom line.

Takeaways: Local Marketing

When you’re a small business competing against big, national brands – it can be difficult to figure out your strategy. However, if you have a keen idea of what local customers want and need, you can capitalize on that knowledge and build your business. Make sure you claim and update all your directory listings, use social media to your advantage, and take part in the local community. With these tips, you can create a thriving local business and build out the framework for a successful local marketing strategy that brings in profits.