For the average small business in Australia, there’s no better source of customers – and sales – than in the immediate area around their primary location. It’s where their brand typically enjoys its widest recognition. It’s where they draw most of their employees from. It’s where they maintain strong connections to their community.
For that reason, it’s not a stretch to say that a small business’s local marketing efforts are the most important facet of their overall strategy. In fact, local marketing strategies enjoy high ROI for the small businesses that use them correctly and are therefore one of the most cost-efficient ways to drive sales. For Australian small businesses that still haven’t gotten started with a local marketing strategy, however, it may not be obvious where to begin.
To help, here are five tips that should form the core of any smart small business local marketing strategy. Let’s dive in.
Begin with Existing Local Events
To get a local marketing strategy off to a good start, the simplest method is to look for existing local events that the business can become a part of. In many parts of Australia, there are already regional organizations that promote local businesses with regular community events that it’s possible to join in with. Together, they make up the nationwide shop small movement, which has become an integral part of Australia’s small business economy. Even American Express provides support for the shop small movement and is a fantastic resource for small business owners to tap to connect with events in their area that can supercharge their local marketing efforts.
Focus on (and Promote) Local Impact
One of the most important parts of any marketing strategy is to take steps to achieve high brand awareness. From a local marketing perspective, there’s perhaps no better way to achieve that than by finding ways for the business to have a positive social impact in the local community. That can come in the form of allowing employees to take paid time off for volunteer work, or by donating the business’s services to local charities or other organizations working for the public good. Every good deed the business does is an opportunity to spread its brand message to an audience who will be receptive to it – and will end up with positive feelings that translate into sales.
Run Hyper-Targeted Advertising
These days, digital advertising platforms of all kinds have unprecedented visibility into their audiences, and that makes it possible for businesses to target specific subsets of viewers with very little effort. For small businesses, that means it’s possible to run a cost-efficient, hyper-targeted advertising campaign that is likely to reach exactly the right local audience. When used in concert with a well-thought-out promotional event, such as a giveaway or a steep discount on certain products, such advertising can drive a tremendous amount of sales from the business’s local market.
Ramp Up Location-Based Marketing
One of the biggest advantages that small businesses have in their local market over far-flung competitors is the fact that they have physical access to the customers they’re trying to reach. In the past, maximizing that advantage often meant hiring people to stand on street corners to give out flyers or otherwise encourage people to connect with the business. In today’s digital environment, businesses can simply wait for potential customers to pass nearby. Using techniques like geofencing, small businesses can use the location data gathered from consumers’ cell phones to target them for advertising while they’re near enough to the business to act on the message.
For example, providing a coupon with a short expiration period to potential customers when they’re within walking distance of the business is a great way to increase sales. Doing this provides them with plenty of motivation to stop in and make a purchase, for fear of losing out on the chance at a discount. Geofencing can even be an effective way to draw customers away from local rivals, as US fast-food chain Burger King famously did with its’ Whopper Detour campaign in 2019.
The same logic makes location-based marketing a great fit for small businesses trying to penetrate new markets through expansion into additional territories. In that scenario, it may be used to increase local awareness of a newly-opened location that they may otherwise not have noticed. It’s the modern-day equivalent to a big, flashy, grand opening sign that nobody could miss while passing nearby.
Back Everything up With Data
The fact that so many small businesses have achieved a high ROI with local marketing isn’t because it was easy to capture a high share of local consumers. It’s because they committed to making their local marketing strategy an ever-evolving one, using the data collected from previous efforts to inform future ones. In short, they collected data – lots of it – and used it to figure out which tactics delivered the best results.
In that way, it is possible to devote more marketing resources to aspects of the local marketing strategy that are delivering a steady stream of customers and cut back on those that aren’t. Data also helps businesses to fine-tune existing marketing campaigns so they’ll perform even better in future iterations. In short, creating and maintaining a high-performance local marketing strategy requires experimentation and constant readjustment. Businesses that learn that early end up with the best overall results from their local marketing efforts.
The Bottom Line
Put simply, a local marketing strategy that maximises results for every marketing dollar spent can be every Australian business’s secret weapon. It can make sure that they keep sales as strong as possible within their immediate area, which is typically where they earn the majority of their revenue. For that reason, no small business operating today should ignore the value of local marketing. And now that the most important steps to get started have been made so clear – they shouldn’t have to.