Going Local

How localised digital marketing can improve your business.

The coronavirus is forcing enterprises to rethink the way they do business and dust-off policies for security, business continuity, and remote workers. Chances are that some of these efforts will stick. The way a company works will change, the way the market works will change and the way people think, decide and consume will change.

The most important change, that ironically applies to every region in the world is that consumption will be even more localised. A true paradox of the globalized world. With Covid19 disrupting supply chains and product delivery systems, lockdowns and quarantines cutting off regions from one another, local market is where people turned to. While this system will gradually change and better supply chain solutions will evolve, the behavioural change of consumers might remain that way for a longer period.

This poses a relatively new challenge for businesses. Target audience for ads and promotions will now have a whole new base variable, bringing in a lot more permutations and combinations. Geotargeting has never been more relevant than now. But the new level of local variation with other demographical factors will makeaccurate targeting more complicated. Existing market studies will have to be revisited, at least partially.

This challenge also brings with it a big opportunity for small and medium scale businesses. Sure, national and international online retailers like Amazon and Flipkart will still have a considerable market share. But the early adaptation of localized online purchases with faster, real time delivery, in the absence of these big brand retailers, broke a barrier for entry that small and medium local businesses found difficult to do before.

Google search patterns and trends reveal interesting data as to how people search post Covid-19. The peak online hours have changed. People who searched for Fitness or Yoga near me now search for Fitness or Yoga online. More and more people are searching for basic essentials with the tags of “online order” “home delivery,” “near me” etc. 1

So how can your business approach these new patterns and turn it to your advantage.

First step of course is to Be Online. If you don’t have an online presence, create one. This means a functional website, relevant social media accounts, Google map pin, Online directory listings, and google business listing. With high level dependence on online sales platforms and home delivery services, even traditional customers will now start looking online before making a purchase.

Now its time to get localized.

  1. Local Content Marketing – Content marketing is a must when it comes to successful digital marketing. All across the digital landscape, brands are investing in churning out high quality, engaging content that encourages links, shares, and engagement. And it isn’t just a strategy that only works for big brands — small businesses have proven time and again that all it takes to create engaging content is expertise in a specific field or industry and the persistence to devise a content calendar and stick to it.Small local businesses have a great opportunity to create content that is specific to their city or region.
  2. Partnerships with local niche influencers – Partnering with celebirty influencers can be extraordinarily expensive, and it’s a tactic that’s out of reach for small businesses. But influencer marketing doesn’t just mean working with huge names. In fact, it’s usually a smarter, more effective strategy to build partnerships with niche influencers. These niche influencers have engaged audiences who follow them based on their specific sphere of interest and influence. That means that although their follower counts are lower than those of mega-influencers, niche influencer marketing is more likely to connect with the right audience.By building partnerships with influencers in your area, you can introduce your business to new, highly relevant audiences.
  3. Social Media Advertising – Social media advertising is the way to go if granular targeting is your goal, which it is for most local businesses. On Facebook, for example, you can target your ads to users based on state or region, city, zip code, or business address. Geo-targeted [social media] posts were 6 times more successful than posts shared globally.With expert input you can refine your target audience even further to find a perfect fit. With right content, targeting, scheduling, and follow up, social media ads can generate high potent leads.
  4. Local Search Ads – A google search for anything will produce thousands of pages. A customer usually would not go beyond the first few results. By having your brand setup local search ads with Google, your business can be listed at the top of the results when a user conducts a local search relevant to your business.Key words, targeting, smart bids and budgeting are important factors and if you don’t have an expert on board, it is easier and cost effective to work with a professional agency. As these ads are generally Pay-per – click, its easier to stay with in the budget while generating leads.
  5. Be Mobile Ready – Capitalizing on mobile traffic should be a key priority for local businesses. Mobile searches are very often local in nature, and they can demonstrate an immediacy that desktop searches usually lack. A person searching on mobile for a product is likely to be out and about as opposed to a desktop user who might just be researching. Optimize your website for mobile usage as the user will not take more than a few seconds before deciding to quit a subpar mobile website.
  6. Incorporate Native Language – In a research study, while English campaigns had an average CTR of 2.35% and a conversion rate of 7.47%, the localized versions saw click-through rates of 3.34% – an increase of 42%, and 9.08% conversion rates – a 22% lift over the English campaign.72.4% of global consumers indicated that they prefer to use their native language when shopping online. While these stats may vary from place to place, what is clear is that having your content also published in the native language can bring in a lot more customers. You will have to replicate all relevant content, especially social media content, in both English as well as the native language.

There has never been a better time for local and small and medium scale businesses to gain a considerable foot hold in the online market space. The tools are there, the information is there and the opportunity is there. With an expert and focused team on your side, you can become the winners of a new market order.

References –

  1. Forbes, 2018
  2. CSA Research, 2019
  3. Neiman Journalism Lab, 2014
  4. Appia, 2014