Local Area Marketing
When it comes to winning tenders, many companies still prefer to deal with local providers. Unfortunately when looking for providers, companies generally only see the few top search results on Google or large corporations who constantly advertise on a national or international basis. This does pose a challenge for local providers but can certainly be overcome via some well planned local area marketing and consideration of the strengths you have as a local provider. When a company has the option to deal with someone who can come see them face to face, it can be an incredible advantage for you in the tendering process. Personal interaction is much easier and comforting to many individuals than email, and can really provide a client with fantastic piece of mind. They just need to know it’s available to them. This is why you should strongly consider a targeted local area marketing campaign.
If you’re concerned that price may be an issue for local organizations and you may struggle to compete against overseas providers, fear not, because although you will still need to demonstrate a competitive online portfolio of work to compete against overseas rivals, you have the added advantage of being able to communicate your portfolio of work in person and clarify any issues in person which will go a very long way to securing local clients.
Seeking out a list of potential local customers
Before you begin your local area marketing campaign, you’ll need to identify the types of clients you want to work with. To market locally, you’ll first need to consider how best to attract each client before building your database of likely customers with careful consideration. When starting this process consider the following:
- What do I define as my local market? Is it 100 kilometers from my office, 50 kilometers or something smaller?
- Should I specialize in certain industries or branch out?
- Do I target other small businesses, businesses in my industry, or large scale businesses? Do I just target anyone and everyone?
- Do I simply target businesses or are individuals potential customers too?
- How do I qualify a potential client if I don’t have their email address or permission to market to them?
- How many potential clients do I market to as part of my local area marketing campaign, and how much new business can I support?
Once you have answers to the above questions, you’re ready to move to the next step – identifying your local area marketing medium.
Identifying a medium for your local area marketing
When marketing online you can choose to use email, social media, your company website, SEO, SEM or any other number of options to reach new clients. But when marketing locally you have a unique opportunity to market to clients using some more traditional and personalized methods which may be just what you need to gain new business and stand out from the crowd. These include:
- Speaking at or attending local networking events
- Handing out business cards
- Undertaking follow up calls from networking events
- Letter box drops
- Joining or contacting local community groups to see how you can assist
- Blogging about local issues
- Holding a local business event
- Getting to know the operators of local coworking spaces or startup accelerators in your area
- Advertising in your local classifieds
- Utilizing press releases
These methods are highly beneficial but can be time consuming, so you want to ensure that you tie these marketing efforts to your web based presence so that potential customers can return to you in the future. Ensuring that you include your web, social and contact details on every piece of collateral you send out is a must, and that goes for any personal interaction you make as well. Make sure that you hand out business cards wherever possible because even if one person out of a stack of 250 business cards uses your services, you are most likely going to be well ahead in terms of your ROI.
Local area marketing requires a personal touch
When marketing in your local community you’ll need to be very careful to not treat local customers like they’re part of a mass mail out. Offering a customized service will differentiate you from your competitors and also demonstrate that you’ve gone to the effort to research your customers. Consider adding the following personal touches to your local area marketing efforts to increase your enquiry rate:
- Offer a special discount for local customers
- Personalize all correspondence with a first name (at very least)
- Discuss and showcase other local clients you have worked with that may be of interest to a potential customer
- Build relationships by making introductions through your local area marketing
- Provide testimonials from other local clients
When building relationships in your local business community, it’s vitally important that you handle any marketing with care. If any negative feedback of your marketing style or approach is received, this may be communicated to other local clients and could be devastating. A little extra effort and a smile to boot can go a long way, so ensuring that a personal touch is used will help to boost your local client base who will in turn hopefully recommend you to a wider audience.