Why local marketing is still important in the digital age

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As our digital worlds have developed, it has become increasingly popular for small businesses with an e-commerce store or online services to market nationally.

The problem is that many of these companies are abandoning their local marketing efforts in favor of a national approach, believing it to be a superior option. They have been led to believe that focusing locally limits their potential base while national marketing opens the door to large numbers of potential consumers. While this is technically correct, the logic ignores the level of scale required to convert customers nationwide and the conversion benefits of local marketing.

Local marketing costs less than national campaigns

It is a well known fact that it takes many touches for an individual to become a customer. We need to reach out to a potential buyer at least half a dozen times to get them to convert (or become a paying customer). This requires both financial resources and an investment of time.

To do this, using digital methods usually means using multiple mediums to attract and educate these potential customers to choose you. Common strategies incorporate social media, digital ads, SEO, PR, and email marketing, to name a few. Extending these marketing methods nationwide is a major endeavor that often does not deliver the results business owners expect.

Related: Beginner’s Guide to Building a Profitable Ecommerce Business

Converting digital traffic works differently

A business owner with a storefront in a big city recently described her decision to build an ecommerce platform on Shopify and start promoting it nationally. She spent about ten months using this method on a monthly budget of $ 3,000 and found that her sales were not increasing. Her in-store earnings were between $ 32,000 and $ 43,000 per month, while her online store averaged only $ 3,000 to $ 7,000.

With $ 30,000 spent and hundreds of team hours dedicated to building and running the online store, she felt overwhelmed. She wondered why she wasn’t converting her customers and was earning considerably less than her local storefront revenue when the traffic to her store was much less than to the site.

An audit of her site revealed a number of issues, including poor photographic visuals, product pages with little to no description, and no customer retargeting built into her site. This meant that his store not only gave a bad impression, but also didn’t build a long-term bond with people who had visited it in the past.

In contrast, his in-person store was located on a busy avenue in the neighborhood, which meant passers-by could subconsciously display his brand as part of their daily routine. Once they were in her system, she sent them coupons to return and regularly run special events to entice local customers to come. It’s a totally different customer experience, which is why her physical store was so much more successful than her. online effort.

Location is a differentiator

Besides just being a cheaper marketing strategy, location is also a differentiator that can help in the decision-making process of customers.

For example, someone looking for a freelance writer may be happy to find that their potential support person is in the same city. This means that you have something in common and potentially reduces a barrier of trust by creating closeness.

In some industries, location can be a particularly relevant benefit as it means your business can also be connected to other local resources to support a major project. For example, an event planner may technically be able to work anywhere, but a local focus means having a list of quality, approved local suppliers and resources that can save time and ensure a top-notch event experience. quality.

Related: Lessons All Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Local Shop Movement

Local non-market targeting

In some cases, your local market may in fact be too small or not in need of your product or service enough. In this case, a great way to grow without going fully national would be to create a regional campaign or select specific cities or states to target. This allows you to expand your market without stretching your budget too much.

Getting it right requires solid market research to make sure that you are choosing the best possible markets that both need your services and are not already saturated with suppliers.

Local growth can boost national results

Ultimately, starting locally and working your way out is a great way to maximize your advertising budgets and lay the foundation for future national campaigns.

For example, a virtual accountant who ran a local SEO campaign to strengthen their brand locally also found that their national rankings increased simultaneously. In a few months, it will increase its budget nationwide while maintaining its long-term local lead.

Going national later allows you to have a smaller test market to experiment with and maximize conversions before moving to a larger market where there may be less wiggle room in the budget to test ideas.

No matter what industry you are in, local marketing is a very valuable platform for growing your business and an essential part of a successful digital marketing campaign.

Related: 6 Benefits for You and Your Community of Supporting Local Entrepreneurs