How SMBs Can Create Comprehensive Local Marketing Strategies

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smalltown11More isn’t always better. From geo-targeted campaigns to DIY promotion builders and email marketing platforms, small business owners often say they are overwhelmed by the sheer number of local marketing options available. When it comes to creating comprehensive local marketing strategies that include two or more hyperlocal solutions, many of these merchants don’t even know where to begin.

Fifty-six percent of SMBs and nonprofits say they have difficulty selecting the best marketing campaigns to run, according to a recent survey by Constant Contact, but knowing how various point solutions will work together in a real world setting takes more time, money, and sophistication than most merchants have. Here are five strategies that SMBs should consider when thinking about their own comprehensive local marketing goals.

1. Remember the main components. “A comprehensive online marketing solution for local should include website, traditional SEO (organic search engines), local SEO (directories and Google Maps), social media, reputation management and email, which is still the most effective channel.” (Trevor Sumner, LocalVox)

2. Discover, contact, convert. “A comprehensive marketing strategy for a local business involves three primary areas of focus: discover, contact and convert. First is to discover potential customers who have to know your business exists. They do this primarily through search, display advertising and directories. Next is contact. Potential customers have to engage with you. They do this by visiting your website or social media pages. Finally, you have to convert. Potential customers have to trust that your business can meet their needs and will respond in a timely fashion. This is facilitated by tools that allow for immediate responses, drip marketing, and lead nurturing.” (Kris Barton, ReachLocal)

3. Track interactions across multiple platforms. “Local SMBs should get the most out of existing interactions with current and potential customers before investing in new marketing campaigns. Current customers are most valuable as repeat buyers, but also as advocates that can review and refer your business. To know and engage customers in a personalized manner, it’s critical to track all customer interactions.” (Stuart Wall, Signpost)

4. Measure the results. “Be sure that whatever you choose to do, that you’re able to measure the effectiveness. This means working with a vendor that can measure and show you performance against each of the three focus areas. This includes analytics and reporting insights on your activity. The adage ‘you can’t improve what you can’t measure’ rings true.” (Kris Barton, ReachLocal)

5. Consider a comprehensive marketing channel. “The benefits of a comprehensive marketing channel include saving time — publishing on one platform that automatically optimizes for each channel — and a faster learning curve. Having one platform, one partner to call, and one login to remember [is also a benefit]. Many of our customers don’t even have the login to their own websites. Seeing all results in one place quickly [enables SMBs to] see which channels are successful.” (Trevor Sumner, LocalVox)

Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.Rainbow over Montclair

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.