[Part 1] The A,B,C’s of Local Marketing
-- Part 1 of 7 Series on Local Marketing --
Whoever said local marketing was easy was nothing but a fool. The mere subtlety required to effectively market the pen sitting on your desk is a daunting task to some, yet there happen to also be a very wide audience who’d jump on the opportunity. What seems to be difficult to a wide audience seems to come quite easy to many others. Is it luck? Is it a natural born skill? What makes some great marketers out there do what they do so well?
Like every other skill out there, including writing, jogging, and you name it, the more you train at a desired skill, the better that you will get at it. The best marketers in the world are merely highly trained and invested in the world of marketing, having spent countless number of hours studying, researching and investing their time into improving this skill. The purpose of this post is by no means to tell you that you will not be an effective marketer unless you plan to spend 1000’s hours per year learning how to improve your local marketing methods, but rather to put everything into perspective.
As a business owner or marketer, if you are just building your local marketing plan or online/offline presence from scratch, you DO NOT have to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. This is by far one of the biggest mistakes people make right off the bat. They hear about some great new way of setting up a landing page and getting new leads, and they’re off to the races to go and try accomplish that. But then, they speak with a good friend who tells them the most important thing in local marketing is taking video blog posts documenting their daily work life, so they go and start a Vine and YouTube channel and try to do that. But, in the end of the day, what they really get is not effective marketing, but rather a complete scatter of half-finished projects.
Moreover, local marketing is not just about the mere action of accomplishing something, but rather a process of building, collecting data, optimizing and then rebuilding again. What this means in common language is that whatever marketing efforts you are building from day one, be sure that you can continuously support and work on those same marketing efforts as time goes on. There are very little ways of creating high performance in marketing by building only once. It is the repetition & learning process which makes for an overall effective marketing strategy.
As a marketer, I can definitely say there are some basic A, B, C’s that I’d recommend to absolutely every single business just getting started in marketing. Here is a quick guide of how to get started TODAY on setting up your business’ marketing strategy:
Step 1 - Look Within
Your Core Product/Service - You may be a dentist, personal trainer, headhunter, or own a pizzeria, but what’s far more important than anything marketing-specific, is the quality of your core product and service. If you do the absolute best local marketing that you possibly can, but your core product is absolutely awful, then your marketing will likely fail as well. No terrible product/service can be supported by fantastic marketing and get away with it. It may work for a short while in some rare cases, but eventually it catches up to you. If you feel your product/service beats the curve and you’d feel 100% comfortable recommending it to your mother, then by all means, move on to step 2.
Step 2 - Word of Mouth
Trust me - if you can build a business based off word of mouth, then you can absolutely excel by doing more. Word of mouth marketing is the basic concept that your core clients are coming from referrals which a past client will often give to an existing client, and so on and so forth. It is often the most effective form of marketing, and usually achieves the greatest results. If you are in the type of business where you can get word of mouth marketing (I think every business could relate here), then by all means, before you go and spend any money on advertising, make sure you offer something that people are going to want to talk about and refer others to come to you. Very simply put, in order to reach thousands of potential clients using online and offline local marketing mediums, you need to start with your first couple hundred. Most often than not, these first couple hundred are going to come directly from word of mouth marketing.
Step 3 - Brand Awareness (Part A)
Many marketers argue over what kind of brand awareness you should start with. There’s really no right or wrong here. This is rather a matter of what you feel you will stay consistent with. Remember what I said above: if you are setting up a blog(as an example) on day one, make sure that on day 100, you are still able to continue working on that blog. If you think you will eventually get tired and stop, be aware that your initial efforts are likely not going to be enough to get that blog up and running to the scale you had hoped, and you would have better saved your time, money and effort towards something else you could have stayed more consistent on.
So, as I was saying, there is no right or wrong, but rather a measurement of your consistency and being honest with yourself as to what you will stay committed to. If you are someone who enjoys blogging (writing content), then make that your first prong of brand awareness. But maybe blogging isn’t an effective way to reach your target audience, but rather video interviews are.
Whatever form of content you feel fits your niche and broader category best, go and create that content. But, don’t forget, do it consistently. Check what others in your niche or broader business category are doing. Look at the highest performing companies; not the business next door. If the big guys are doing something on a consistent basis, then it’s probably effective for them. And, it’s not effective BECAUSE they are big, but rather they are big, BECAUSE it is an effective content medium. No one ever said that simple mimicking of another person’s success in business in wrong, but rather a proper education as to what is needed to succeed.
Get started in content building by first choosing which content medium will be most effective to your target audience. If you don’t know the answer to that, then find your greatest competitor and see what they’re doing. If that doesn’t give you any direction or if your greatest competitor doesn’t do content, then think in the eyes of the potential customer. What value can you most give him/her that’s related to your business niche/broad category?
If you can answer that question, then start operating that content! Eventually they will search for answers to their most common questions, find your content, and appreciate the value you are giving them. Who do you think they will go to first when they’re looking for a solution like yours? That’s right! YOU!
This is the first post from a seven-part series on the A,B,C’s of local marketing. Make sure to follow along this series by subscribing to the newsletter below.