In the past few years, a growing number of consumers have deliberately chosen to support their local business community by “shopping small.” A recent study by Nielsen found that 12% of consumers worldwide solely purchase from small or medium-sized businesses. Furthermore, 26% of consumers globally are “unintentional small buyers,” opting for small businesses whenever it suits their convenience.
To tap into the potential of both accidental and dedicated small-scale buyers, consider employing these strategies to target consumers who favor shopping at small businesses. These consumers support small businesses for a range of reasons, such as their lesser impact on the environment, superior customer service, and distinctive offerings that are often sourced with greater sustainability compared to products from large retail chains.
Choosing the right channel for your local marketing
In our earlier discussion, we explored the process of identifying the target market(s) for your small business. This involved creating customer personas based on solid data and incorporating them into your marketing strategies. We also emphasized the significance of regularly assessing and revising these personas to adapt to the evolving needs of your customers.
After completing the process of developing customer segments and personas, you can proceed to implement a localized campaign to effectively market to potential and existing customers.
When considering where to begin, it is important to note that social media is a highly effective and easily accessible platform for marketing purposes. Specifically, Facebook is particularly suitable for small businesses that aim to target local customers throughout the entire sales process.
Marketing leaders were asked to rank the most effective digital marketing channels across the buying journey in Gartner’s 2017 Multichannel Marketing Survey. (Full research is available to Gartner clients.)
Social marketing is considered the most effective channel throughout the buyer journey.
Local marketing at the top of the funnel: Get on the radar
For small businesses, the initial hurdle often lies in making their local community aware of the products and services they provide.
Why market to this stage of the funnel?
At the initial stage of the sales process, your business has a vast pool of potential customers available. To create awareness, you need to determine which of these potential customers will gain from your product or service, and subsequently focus your marketing initiatives on those specific buyers.
According to a 2017 Manta poll, the top objective for small businesses on Facebook ads was to increase awareness. This indicates that your small business will face tough competition and must differentiate itself by employing precise targeting techniques.
What are my marketing options?
Local awareness ads can be used by small-business owners on either Facebook or Instagram to build awareness campaigns.
By following this approach, your business can allocate its restricted social media advertising budget towards reaching users who are located in close proximity to your business. These targeted ads are specifically crafted to offer more accurate targeting and wider coverage, while being more economical compared to traditional advertising platforms.
If you have a small chain, you can create individualized campaigns for each location and target specific demographics such as age, gender, or interests.
At the initial stage of the sales process, the measurement of your marketing success should focus on impressions. If your social media post garners numerous “likes” or positive feedback, it indicates that you have effectively cut through the clutter and established a connection with your prospective customers.
Emphasize your value
While targeting consumers who already have an interest in purchasing from small businesses is a positive approach, it does not guarantee that customers will immediately be drawn to you. It remains essential to demonstrate to them the reasons why your business deserves their support.
To show why your business is the top choice, identify your value proposition, which is what sets your business apart in its market. Discover ways to differentiate yourself from competitors in order to attract consumers’ interest.
Understand and target the right audience
An entrepreneur who achieves success comprehends the identity of their audience and possesses the knowledge to effectively promote their products or services to them. Although some business owners might hold the belief that anyone can be a potential buyer, it is more advantageous to direct marketing efforts towards the appropriate audience. Rather than placing emphasis on the quantity of customers reached, it is more beneficial to prioritize the quality of the customer base. By acquiring information regarding where your target audience convenes online and within the community, you can utilize this knowledge to ascertain the optimal locations and methods for advertising.
Pursue local SEO strategies
To effectively target and cater to local consumers, it is important to localize your website using SEO strategies specifically tailored to the locality. By implementing these strategies, your business’s presence on local search results will be enhanced. It is recommended to frequently mention your community or region online and include relevant keywords and phrases that are commonly searched for by the local market.
To ensure that your business reaches the desired audience and improves search rankings and performance, make sure to update and keep relevant website title tags and meta descriptions.
Use multi-channel engagement to promote
To ensure that customers have ample opportunities to become familiar with your business and its products or services, it is important to have a strong influence on social media. Moreover, establishing a website or blog will enable customers to access information about your business, make online transactions, and communicate their queries. Having a substantial online presence will facilitate customers in discovering your business naturally.
It is important to not overlook the effectiveness of word-of-mouth advertising. By keeping customers satisfied, they will spread the word about their positive experiences to others. This will enable you to successfully reach, persuade, and convert new customers.
Stay involved in the community
By engaging with the local community, one can avail chances to encounter neighbors, form connections, establish a loyal customer base, and enhance business prospects.
One effective way to get involved is to sponsor local organizations, such as a nearby recreational sports team, or organize community events, like educational activities for children or town cleanup events. Engaging in these initiatives can significantly enhance brand visibility and generate more attention for your company, allowing your name to become more widely recognized and attracting potential customers.
Nurture existing customers with email marketing
It is equally crucial to cultivate relationships with current customers to ensure they feel valued and remain loyal to your business, alongside the benefits of acquiring new customers.
Utilizing email marketing can be a successful approach to nurturing these relationships. Different strategies that businesses can explore include advertising products beforehand, delivering coupons during a customer’s anniversary or birthday, or collaborating with neighboring enterprises to provide special offers.
To bring back customers who need encouragement to make a purchase and prevent cart abandonment, a helpful tactic is to send them a reminder email notifying that the item they left in their cart is still available.