Grand Rapids, MI – Today’s buyers rely on the latest digital technologies and traditional channels to find, research and purchase locally sourced products and services.
Most of your customers may be right in your backyard; but that doesn’t mean they can always hear you calling. Smart local marketers are using a powerful multi-channel approach to strengthen their connection to these savvy spenders where, when and how they want to be reached.
You can add muscle to your local marketing plan by incorporating the following five strategies. Each on its own can energize sales; combine them for peak results.
1. Optimize for Mobile. At least half of all North American consumers now own a smartphone or tablet with most of your potential customers are using their smartphones to visit local websites. By having a good mobile presence, you can capture their attention when they are ready to buy and wherever they are.
Beware: If searchers don’t find what they‘re looking for quickly, they’ll move on to another site quickly. A good mobile site takes key information from your standard site and makes it easy to read and navigate on the small screen. Key information like location, direction and hours of operation should be front and center, with easy navigation to the full site for more in-depth viewing.
2. Claim Local Listings. How important is search engine activity to local businesses? Research shows the most Internet users have gone online to research a purchase and then visited a nearby business in person to make their purchase. Claim your local business listings on free online listing sites like Google+ Local, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local.
Vertical search engines, aimed at specific industries or niches, are becoming increasingly important. For example, if you are a chiropractor, find and claim your listings on nationwide medical provider sites.
3. Use Direct Mail. The digital revolution has permanently changed how small and mid-sized business owners and marketers interact with customers and prospects. Yet the initial claims that digital media would kill direct marketing have not borne out.
New digital printing technologies make direct mail a precise and economical marketing tactic. Targeted direct mail makes a powerful impact – and because it is sent to a defined audience, it yields less waste and greater results than many other channels.
4. Integrate Channels. With the ever-increasing print and digital channels available, cross-channel marketing is a must. Consumer preference studies show cross-channel marketing can improve campaign response rates. What’s more, cross-channel shoppers spend more and are more profitable than those who rely on a single medium to make their buying decisions.
Variable data printing technology lets your mail piece communicate with customers and prospects on a one-to-one basis, using personalized messaging and even graphics. Personalized web addresses on the piece allow you to combine personalization and online integration while tracking leads. Your social media channels can also promote the same marketing messages while you nurture prospects and customers with email marketing.
Integrate QR or other two-dimensional codes on your direct mail for even more punch. When scanned with a smartphone, the codes provide direct access to online content so mobile customers can act on your offers immediately no matter where they are read. And of course, a good lead capture page on the landing page allows quick lead follow-up.
5. Think Big With Signage. The sales cycle doesn’t end once you get customers in your door. Retail purchases are influenced by onsite signage and point-of- purchase displays. There is no shortage of local opportunities outside either. The latest high impact contenders are vehicle wraps. When designing your signage and displays, make sure your company name is visible from a distance, and try to tell your story in pictures as well as words. Keeping it simple and direct will help create out-of-store messages and in-store displays that attract immediate attention and help customers decide to buy.
Test these key strategies in your local marketing mix to enhance your visibility, increase brand awareness and bring more paying customers to your door.
Allegra is independently owned and operated and is a member of Alliance Franchise Brands network, a world leader in marketing, graphics and visual communications, linking more than 600 locations in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom.