The rise of what’s come to be known as hyperlocal marketing has been a 21st century success story for small businesses. Targeted marketing has been possible for quite a few years, but the technology is now so advanced that you can aim your advertising incredibly accurately, all the way down to a couple of streets.
The great thing is, a hyperlocal strategy can be cheap and simple. Working on a more human scale helps you focus on reaching your most likely customers, which is less wasteful and helps you build a positive local reputation. Here are the fundamental steps of a powerful hyperlocal marketing campaign.
If you’ve recently searched on Google for a local service, you would have spotted a list of businesses laid out on a map, with relevant information (location, price, category) at the top of your results page.
This is called the “Local Pack”, and the businesses within it appear that prominently because they’ve registered with Google My Business, a free tool that has become crucial to how Google displays information.
By signing up to Google My Business with a few key details about your establishment, you too can get your business placed on a map of your area, so that nearby customers can discover you at a glance and know how to reach you.
Google prioritises proximity as a factor in ordering search results, so businesses who haven’t taken advantage of this service are missing out on a vital marketing channel.
2. Use precise radius targeting for online ads
If you are paying to advertise on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Business (and for the sake of your local sales, you probably should be), you can make sure your ads only appear in front of internet users within an exact radius of your choosing. Rather than spraying ads across a region or city, inevitably wasting money on people too far away to realistically become customers, you can ensure that your budget goes towards convincing the people in your vicinity to buy from you.
Facebook offers a tool called Local Insights, which lets you pick an exact radius around you and access a wealth of information about the people inside it, including demographics, hourly footfall trends and the ratio of locals to non-locals at any given time. With such a vivid picture of your target audience, you’ll be able to tailor some especially pertinent, impactful ads.
Many local businesses publish their own content across blogs and social media. This takes some time and effort, but can work wonders for local awareness of your brand.
Try writing a blog post on your website about a local event, landmark or tradition. Share it with friends and family, and ask them to share it with their own networks. A piece of writing that resonates with your community’s concerns will boost your company’s local reputation and establish a sense of common ground.
Instagram can be especially useful for businesses looking to raise their profile. All you need is a smartphone with a camera and an internet connection. Go out and take some beautiful photos of your town, research the most popular hashtags among local Instagrammers, add them to your pictures and post them for all the neighbourhood to see and enjoy.
Customer testimonials are fast becoming an essential asset for businesses, and positive reviews offer greater benefits to smaller operations than they do larger brand names.
Google My Business lets customers post public reviews of businesses they’ve visited, which are then displayed alongside those businesses’ search listings. A positive review is a sign of quality for anyone browsing nearby establishments, so you should actively encourage regular customers to post positive testimonies of their own.
Not only do customer reviews generate interest, they’re also increasingly important to how Google organises its results. Moz’s 2017 Local Search Ranking Factors report calculates that reviews account for 13% of the structure of the Local Pack mentioned previously. This number will probably rise, so you should start leveraging the value of customer feedback as soon as possible.
Hyperlocal marketing is really the most natural mode for small businesses to operate on. It plays to local brands’ strengths, like their ability to build meaningful connections with customers, while dodging the expense of broad-brushstroke advertising. With Google noticeably hyperlocalising its search functions, your business can win out by keeping up.
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